BIM to bring benefits to RICS’ headquarters on Parliament Square

Did you know that you can use BIM (Building Information Modelling) on an existing building? RICS is currently undertaking a BIM assessment of its headquarters on Parliament Square to demonstrate the benefits BIM can bring to a complex, existing property.

RICS has worked with 3D measurement expert Severn Partnership to carry out a scan of the entire property. The listed building, which is the only private property on Parliament Square, was purpose-built in 1899 and has been refurbished throughout the years, making it an unusual candidate for BIM.

RICS is committed to raising awareness of the benefits of BIM to the industry and was therefore keen to undertake the process in order to understand the advantages, but also any possible challenges it might bring. This understanding will then inform RICS’ work in supporting members and the industry in adopting BIM.

The on-going project will provide RICS with an in-depth knowledge of its premises that will feed into RICS’ facilities management plans and therefore enable the smoother and safer running of the building. This is particularly apt in a building of this complexity. The BIM model will also support RICS with any future refurbishment work by providing detailed information about the various construction elements and multiple levels that have been adapted and added over the building’s life-cycle.

Alan Muse, Director of Built Environment at RICS, commented:

“The BIM of Parliament Square is not only an opportunity to enhance our facilities management procedures, but a chance to share our experience with other occupiers of established buildings.”

As well as the significant benefits, the project is highlighting several potential challenges companies should be aware of if they are looking to benefit from BIM.

“Businesses undertaking BIM will need to ensure IT systems are up to date and able to host BIM models and staff, in particular facilities managers, are trained on how to interpret the models and implement efficiency savings based on the results. Businesses should also be aware of the legal implications, for example it should be agreed who owns the data produced.

“Like any large scale project there are costs involved, however the potential return on investment is significant. Our BIM model will continue to develop and add value by providing our facilities managers with more accurate and reliable data on the properties they manage. These benefits can be achieved across the built environment, facilitating greater efficiency in the operation of buildings.”

Mark Combes, Managing Director of Severn Partnerships, commented:

“Trying to describe the complexity of a room like RICS’ library in 2D plans and sections would give you an idea, but the 3D element of BIM completely transforms the picture for interpretation and visualisation. BIM helps to describe the intricate levels of detail required for the room in the event of any facilities management work required.”

To help raise awareness of BIM across the property industry, RICS is working with the Construction Industry Council (CIC), the government-initiated Taskgroup for BIM and the Government Trial Project Support Group and is a member of BIM4FM. RICS is also seeking to engage more widely with industry bodies such as RIBA, BIFM and BPF.