John Hunt, Senior Market Advisor for the Construction Sector at Enterprise Ireland outlines how digital technologies like BIM have the potential to transform the UK construction sector.
Over the past 12 months, the Government has increased its focus on supporting the construction sectors’ transition to digital tools and processes.
In November 2017, the announcement of a progressive mandate for Building Information Modelling (BIM) as a requirement for the procurement of public infrastructure and building projects was an important milestone. At the same time, the publication of a centrally sponsored industry roadmap to 2021 from the National BIM Council of Ireland has considered the route to wider industry adoption and how best to capitalise on the latest technologies and innovation.
The benefits of BIM have been enjoyed by clients of construction in Ireland since 2010 and initially as a solution to complex requirements spanning the industrial sector including data centres, pharmaceutical and hi-tech manufacturing sites – BIM became a key component of the design engineering, front loading the design to improve productivity during the build on site.
The 2017 annual industry Digital Transition Survey found that 76% of Irish AEC organisations feel confident in their BIM knowledge and expertise.
With an excellent infrastructure and a skilled workforce, innovation and creativity are at the heart of Ireland’s technology and society and, in the short-term, Ireland is uniquely positioned to plug the UK’s digital skills gap.
Over the past five years, trade of Irish products and services to the UK has increased by an impressive 68% to €1.29bn in 2016. UK companies are also increasingly turning to Irish partners for BIM support, capitalising on benefits such as speed of construction, improved performance as well as potential cost reductions.
Without a doubt, building information modelling will play a central role in the adoption of the construction industry’s use of digital technology, and UK companies looking to incorporate more productive and more collaborative approaches, should not hesitate to turn to Ireland.