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Water industry BIM initiative gains awards recognition

A newly-launched initiative to clarify the meaning of BIM in the water industry has been shortlisted for a Utility Week Stars Award for collaboration.

Every water and sewerage company (WaSC) in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland joined trade association British Water and BIM4Water, a specialist volunteer group, to set a water industry framework for building information modelling (BIM).

The WaSCs, responding to comments from the supply chain, worked together to review the national BIM standards and document an agreed definition of what BIM means to them as clients. The draft BIM Guidance for the Water Industry Owner Operator was formally launched for industry review at the 4th British Water BIM conference on 30 March 2017.

BIM4Water and British Water represent members from across the water sector including WaSCs, equipment suppliers, designers and contractors. Since 2013, members have been grappling with the meaning of BIM and in particular what BIM means for water companies and their customers.

Andrew Cowell, chair of BIM4Water said: “BIM and the new Guidance are about information management and how the water industry gears up to sharing data and operating in a digital environment. It is significant that water utilities have pulled together and are recognising the push for clarification from the supply chain.

“It is about a different way of working, with opportunities for efficiency in design, delivery and on-going maintenance and asset management. Better information can create more resilient business plans and support scenario planning.

“Water companies are acknowledging that while there is no regulatory mandate for BIM, improving data sets will help them meet Ofwat regulatory targets and that there is a lot of value to be gained from having a strong digital strategy.”

Paul Mullord, British Water’s UK Director, added: “Suppliers have sent a consistent message to the utilities about the efficiency savings to be had if they adopt a more coherent and consistent approach to the information they require to operate and maintain their assets across the lifecycle. They have listened and, with this document, demonstrated what extraordinary leaps can be achieved when the whole sector works together.” 

The draft BIM Guidance can be downloaded here.

The Utility Week Stars Awards take place in Manchester on 23 June 2017.

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