The overarching approach to implementing BIM in the UK

One of the most significant initiatives for Building Information Modelling (BIM) adoption in the UK, and maybe globally in my humble opinion, was the decision to make the standards and specifications available for free. To drive any change, you must get the message out there, make it easily accessible and ensure there are no barriers in the way.

If we consider BIM beyond the technologies and focus on information management, we are now within a subject area that should be of some interest to the majority working with the Construction Sector. We are all either generators, consumers and maintainers of data and information, and are therefore stakeholders. Having access to freely available, easily shareable, good quality information and guidance that explains how to better manage data and information naturally enables more individuals to get involved, discuss, understand, make informed decisions, and in turn drive adoption.

Standards are a good thing, and if you are lucky enough to have access to a subscription service you will be able to access some, most, or all standards depending on your subscription type. But there  are often barriers. Your subscription may be limited to National Standards, so you will not be able to automatically get a copy of International standards such as ISO 19650. Maybe only certain individuals within your company have authority to access the subscription portal. You are not allowed to share these with friends and family because that would be contravening the licence agreement, so individuals can become very protective of their `personal` copy they hold or own. Most organisations do not subscribe to a standards subscription service and in today’s business climate it may be difficult for a BIM Manager to justify or even want to ask for £400 to buy a copy of ISO 19650. And, on a personal level I have sometimes found after purchasing a standard on review there was only a single paragraph that was of interest to me which has made me cautious and think twice before making future purchases.

To continue to drive BIM adoption across industry we need to make sure there are no barriers, and I would propose that if the BIM standards are fully commercialised there is a risk that future adoption will slow, or may revert to niche rather than industry wide standards. This leads me onto an initiative that I believe will significantly assist in supporting wider adoption, The UK BIM Framework.

The UK BIM Framework is a collaborative effort from many people, often on a voluntary basis, and provides a co-ordinated approach to creating and communicating an international wrapper for UK BIM which intends to support a smooth transition in the integration of BS EN ISO 19650 series within the UK suite of BIM standards. There is a lot of useful content on the UK BIM Framework website ( but I would like to highlight two resources that I believe everyone should have a copy of and we reference within our BIM Courses and Workshops:
  • Firstly The Concepts Guidance which explores the general requirements of the ISO 19650 series alongside the case for building information modelling and digital transformation
  • Secondly Guidance Part 2: Processes for Project Delivery
By reading both of these documents will help you to understand the general guidance contained within ISO 19650 in a clear, easily understandable, shareable format and all for free.

Please note these documents will be reviewed and possibly be updated quarterly so please do make sure you download the latest versions.

The following highlights the key aspects of the UK BIM Framework and its objectives.

The UK BIM Framework sets out the approach for implementing BIM in the UK using the framework for managing information provided by the ISO 19650 series. 

It includes:
  • Published standards
  • The Guidance Framework
  • Supporting case studies, resources and tools
Collectively the UK BIM Alliance, BSI and CDBB are developing and will champion this one framework of guidance in a clear and concise manner to support industry understanding of BIM standards and their implementation.

The BIM Process

Design – Deploy digital techniques to design better performing buildings, homes and infrastructure. Use good practice, secure by default, information management to get data right from the start.
Build – Exploit new and emerging digital construction and manufacturing technologies, processes and techniques. Secure, shared information, enabling clients, design teams, construction teams and the supply chain to work more closely together to improve safety, quality and productivity during construction.
Operate – Use real time information to transform the performance of the built environment and its social and economic infrastructure. Smart asset management to predict and avoid disruption of services. Digitalisation of existing assets and infrastructure.
Integrate – Understand how spaces and services can improve citizen quality of life. Feed that information into the design and build of our economic and social infrastructure and the operation and integration of services they deliver.

Standards & Guidance

BSI, CDBB and UK BIM Alliance are developing standards and guidance to support individuals and organisations in the UK to understand the fundamental principles of building information modelling.

The Fourth Edition of Guidance Part 2: Processes for Project Delivery was published on April 30th, 2020 and is now available. through the UK BIM Framework website:

Other standards and guidance available include:

- ISO 19650 Parts 1 and 2 + PD Guide
- PAS 1192-3:2014
- BS 1192-4:2014
- BS 8536-2:2015
- PAS 1192-5:2015 
- PAS 1192-6:2018
- BS 8536-1:2015

- Guidance Part 1: Concepts (Second Edition)
- Guidance Part 2: Processes for Project Delivery (Fourth Edition)
- PD 19650-0:2019 Transition guidance to BS EN ISO 19650
- Government Soft Landings


"We are committed to co-ordinated approach to creating and communicating an international wrapper for UK BIM and ensuring a smooth transition in the integration of BS EN ISO 19650 series within our suite.  Collectively we will develop and champion one single set of guidance in a clear and concise manner to support industry understanding of BIM standards and their implementation."

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