Graham first contractor in UK to achieve BIM certifcation

Graham Construction’s pioneering approach to Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been given the ultimate seal of approval.

The company, which has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dumfries has become the first contractor in the UK and Ireland to achieve the highly recognised BSI (British Standards Institution) (BSI) Kitemark certification for both BIM Design and Construction (PAS 1192-2) and Asset Management (PAS 1192-3).

Building Information Modelling is an increasingly important part of the global construction market place, with governments around the world starting to make it a condition of contract.

Seen as a game-changer for the construction industry, BIM is a collaborative way of working that uses digital technologies to enable more efficient methods of design and construction, ultimately driving out waste and inefficiencies in projects, reducing costs and environmental impact.

In Scotland Graham Construction is utilising BIM extensively for major projects including the Baird and Anchor Hospitals on behalf of NHS Grampian and the Dalbeattie Learning Campus, North West Campus and The Bridge Learning Hub in Dumfries and Galloway.

Melanie Dawson, head of BIM at Graham, discusses: “This prestigious dual UK and Ireland certification for BIM is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the Graham commitment to investing in, and utilising, BIM and digital technology.

“The independent third-party certification is a formal recognition that Graham adheres to world leading standards. It gives our clients and stakeholders the confidence and assurance that we will deliver consistent excellence from project inception through to the asset management and beyond.”

Melanie continues: “Our certified Building Information Modelling systems and processes are the foundations and framework for our bigger vision for digital construction. Embedding BIM into our everyday business practices is a priority at Graham. We are using the growing volume of information on construction projects to make smarter decisions, control costs and deliver consistently excellent projects. BIM is helping us improve efficiency in the supply chain which in turn significantly benefits our clients.”

The BSI Kitemark is one of the most recognisable trust marks in existence today and demonstrates that each Kitemark approved product or service has gone above and beyond the normal requirements to achieve the highest standards.

Congratulating Graham on the dual certification, Gavin Summerson, senior certification manager at BSI (British Standards Institution) said: “The BSI BIM Kitemark is the most rigorous test of an organisation’s implementation of BIM and GRAHAM should be very proud of this achievement.

Not only have they demonstrated the delivery of BIM projects during the design and construction phase in accordance with PAS 1192-2, they have also demonstrated that they are continuing to work to BIM level 2 at the asset management phase, in accordance with PAS 1192-3.  This helps both GRAHAM and their clients to realise the full benefits of BIM, to enable the effective management of information throughout the asset lifecycle, providing assurance and trust to asset owners.”

Graham delivers building, civil engineering and fit out projects for both public and private sector clients across Scotland as well as the remainder of the UK and Ireland.

Recently named Major Contractor of the Year at the annual UK Building Awards in London, the privately-owned company is currently working on over 100 live sites across the UK and Ireland.

Graham employs approximately 2,100 employees across its UK and Ireland operations, with 350 based in Scotland.

Blog: BIM bother – contractor locked out

BIM stockKaren Manning and Lynda Ross answer in the affirmative the question: can a court compel a consultant to provide access to design data stored on a BIM platform pending resolution of a dispute over payment?

A £55 million power station was to be built in the Falkland Islands. During the tender period, the contractor engaged the consultant to provide design consultancy services, for which they received a modest payment, with a view to the consultant carrying out full design services if the bid was successful. Those services included design and the preparation and implementation of building information modelling (BIM).

BIM is a technology-enabled process where information and data is comprised in 3D models allowing it be shared amongst relevant parties. It assists with the design, preparation and integration of different aspects of a project. BIM can be a useful tool for planning and management of the design and construction process and beyond. Project software called ProjectWise was to be used to enable the design teams to manage, share and distribute design data on a single platform.

The bid was successful. However, the contractor and the consultant fell out about the scope of the work and the consultant’s entitlement to payment. This resulted in a dispute about what exactly had been agreed: was there no contract; was there a simple contract without detailed terms and conditions; or was there a contract in the standard terms submitted (which included a cap on liability of £1 million)? A large payment had been paid to account but other invoices remained unpaid.

The consultant issued a notice saying it would suspend performance unless payment was made by 2 June. Payment was not made. On 2 June the consultant denied the contractor access to the servers hosting the design data in ProjectWise by revoking the contractor’s password.

The impact to the contractor was considerable – delay and losses well over the cap of £1 million (if it were applicable). On the other hand, if the consultant was compelled to hand over the password, then it would suffer the loss of a very good bargaining position.

The judge decided, on the balance of convenience, to grant the interim order for access to be restored.


  1. As technology advances, access to electronic information and how that is governed will become more and more important.  This will particularly be the case with BIM-enabled projects (which the Government are strongly behind) and a single platform approach.  Where passwords allow access, care should be taken to ensure control of those passwords lies in the correct hands.
  2. Consider whether it is appropriate to have positive BIM and copyright obligations in consultant appointments which survive termination and suspension.
  3. Beware of clauses in appointment terms that are subject to payment of outstanding fees (this is often the case with copyright provisions).
  4. Be clear on the terms which govern any appointment at the outset. The passwords dispute grew out of a disagreement about what the original contract terms were.

Blog: The future of social housing design and build in Scotland is all about virtual reality

Euan Revell

Euan Revell

Euan Revell, senior architectural designer at planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore in Edinburgh, says today all eyes are on digital design.

Picture the scene. You’ve just been informed that there’s a new development planned in your neighbourhood, but rather than leaf through the image of a brochure, you reach for a pair of VR goggles.  From the comfort of your armchair, you can now see the full multi-million pound housing development laid out before your eyes. Now imagine walking through it, reaching out to touch the bricks and mortar and interacting with the world around you in real time. It sounds like something from the future. But it isn’t.

This is the world of immersive virtual reality where spaces can be created using a combination of computer graphics, wireless tracking technology, headsets, HD projectors and polarised glass, all working together to create interactive and real-life experiences.

Today all eyes are on digital design, architecture and Building Information Modelling (BIM). The world of 3D virtual design and architecture is a fast-growing field and there’s some seriously forward thinking happening in these fields.

Every design will soon be made using virtual reality; enabling anyone to fully immerse themselves in a 3D (BIM) model which can be manipulated and provides an incredibly accurate sense of presence in a space that’s yet to be built. And it’s already happening here in Scotland.

As part of our national architecture team’s ambitions to lead the way in BIM, our Edinburgh team have used the modelling system for the City of Edinburgh Council’s Small Sites Affordable Housing Programme.  The redevelopment of seven sites around Edinburgh which makes up the Small Sites Affordable Housing Programme, will provide around 260 new affordable houses for 21st Century Homes, to be built by Robertson Partnership Homes.

The pressure to use BIM on our social housing project didn’t come from the contractor or the client, it was a decision made by Barton Willmore. It’s inevitable that we won’t be drawing drawings anymore, we’ll be modelling buildings. It’s more fulfilling as a designer to use modelling, after all we’re designing spaces, so it’s better to create them virtually rather than drawing them in two dimensions. Yes, BIM takes a lot of energy to produce a good set of documents, but these documents will be more coordinated and more rigorous.

What’s more, you can walk around your drawing set, which in turn produces better designs. It can quickly highlight areas that are needing a bit of design TLC. When you model in 3D you also, by necessity, think about the buildability – if it’s difficult to model, chances are it’s difficult to build so you become much more aware of the construction. This is where we can manage costs more effectively and less builds running over time.

So it’s good for the designer, but what about the public? For the Edinburgh Small Sites Programme, we were able to present our scheme in a much more dynamic way at public consultation. Traditionally, members of the public are given a set of plans to review and maybe one or two visuals to give them a flavour of what the development might look like. But when you have designs modelled in BIM – you have the opportunity to take them on a virtual tour.

As well as the Edinburgh Small Sites Programme, we also used BIM as part of Fife Council’s Affordable Housing Programme at one of the key sites and the levels of public engagement soared. Presenting our plans in this way allows us to show residents how our development looks from their bedroom window, from across the street or three blocks away. It’s much more rewarding and transparent as your design gets interrogated far more extensively.

On the occasions that we could use the 3D model to walk people around the site, the public were much more engaged, and were able to make more informed comments. They could readily see how the development would look in the local landscape. People were interested in materials, roof forms, massing of the buildings and, naturally, ‘how will my house be affected?’

We can demonstrate how shadows will fall at various times of the year, how the building will look from a neighbour’s garden and many other design considerations. It’s proven to be a vital tool for engaging with stakeholders and getting their understanding and buy in. Everyone just got it when they could see it in 3D. The queries we received were more considered and the level of engagement across the board was fantastic.

We’re already looking towards using gaming software – much like Minecraft – where we can take communities on a virtual reality tour of our designs and allow the community to manipulate these designs to incorporate their own ideas. It will not only be empowering for local communities but will allow us to continue to stake our claim in leading the way in the social housing sector.

Stewart Milne Timber Systems to create BIM library for offsite construction

HOTELS-Premier-Inn-Pacific-Quay-Glasgow-5-Design, construction and property professionals can now access the UK’s first timber frame Building Information Modelling (BIM) library, after a successful 12-month project by Stewart Milne Timber Systems.

The library has been developed by the company with the support of the CITB through its innovation pilot projects. The BIM library features 102 of Stewart Milne Timber Systems products; including walls, floors and roof products and is free to download from BIM store.

BIM is a collaborative design, construction and sales process which use BIM objects to create intelligent 3D models of a project across multiple professions and trades, to maximise efficiency and avoid conflicts which can add time and cost to a project or a development. The 2016 the National BIM report showed that 86% of respondents expected to be using BIM in projects in 2017, and 97% of projects in five years’ time.

Stewart Dalgarno, director of product development at Stewart Milne Group, said: “Part of the challenge of bringing BIM into mainstream construction practice is a lack of available products or systems in an accessible, useable format for clients, designers and construction professional to use.

“Our research highlighted, that less than 5% of the supply chain are BIM ready, with 40% BIM aware but not active, with the rest not even aware of BIM. There was no dedicated Offsite Timber Frame Systems library and only a handful of Offsite Manufacturers, offering some form of BIM component library.

“We’ve worked closely with the BIM Store, the UK’s leading BIM content and hosting creators, to develop this library and it will help designers and architects build 3D models in Autodesk Revit, in a fast and accurate manner, helping them reduce their effort and improve accuracy, from concept to detailed design.”

Architects are free to download specific products or systems or the whole library, so it is readily available for them to use, in early stage design work.  The use of the Stewart Milne Timber System BIM objects library will reduce lead-in time on a timber frame project, by as much as a month; reduce error, re-working and requests for information, by removing the need for a three-stage ‘back and forth’ design process between architects and Stewart Milne Timber Systems’ design team.

Instead, dimensionally accurate 3D models can be prepared by the design team, immediately after using the BIM library; this allows for the company to automatically create a dimensionally accurate 3D timber frame model, which can be exported back into the original model using an IFC file. This ensures the original model is an accurate representation of the offside system to be erected; it also provides a platform for clash detection and therefore reducing site costs and delays when unforeseen clashes arise.

hub South West hosts BIM event ahead of level 2 roll-out

hsw BIMConstruction and infrastructure-focused partnership hub South West hosted a Building Information Modelling (BIM) conference today to bring all parties involved in its construction projects up to speed on the new regulations.

The event at the Fenwick Hotel near Kilmarnock covered the impending legislation and featured a number of highly respected speakers from the building industry.

As of April 2017, the BIM rollout steps up a gear in Scotland for all public sector contracts above the value threshold of £4.32 million. The regulations are aimed at introducing digital technology to the construction process in an attempt to improve collaboration and data collation and exploitation.

The new regulations are expected to assist the Scottish built environment through increased efficiencies at all stages of the process, from more effective design, reduced material wastage and streamlined construction and operations.

Michael McBrearty, CEO of hub South West, said: “The rollout of BIM is going to be a time of upheaval, particularly among medium and large scale public sector contractors.

“We, and our Tier 1 partners, have significant experience in the level of detail and precision the new regulation is going to require, and we want to share this with our hub participants and supply chain before the legislation comes into force.”

Speakers included Diane Ramage of Keppie Architects covered the role of the architect under BIM and what aspects of the planning and design process will fall under the aegis of the digital revolution.

To cover the practical advantages that can be gleaned in the BIM environment, Andrew Walker of Morgan Sindall discussed how construction companies can make the most of the promised efficiencies to tighten up their supply chain from pre-Construction to handover.

UK firms lead way on new BIM Kitemark

BAM celebrates the Kitemark achievement

BAM celebrates the Kitemark achievement

Six contractors have become the first organisations in the world to achieve a new Kitemark for BIM (Building Information Modelling) launched yesterday by the business standards company BSI.

Balfour Beatty, BAM Ireland, BAM Construct UK, Gammon Construction, Skanska UK and voestapline Metsec all achieved the Kitemark for PAS 1192-2, which acts as seal of approval for companies qualified to deliver projects at the design and construction phase.

BIM is a collaborative way of working that uses digital technologies to enable more efficient methods of design and construction, ultimately driving out waste and inefficiency.

The Kitemark has been developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders to ensure that they add value and address the key issues which will help the construction industry with BIM implementation.

Mark Taylor, digital construction manager at BAM Construct UK, said: “BIM is a major driver for the digitisation of the construction industry, influencing its direction both in the UK and abroad.

“We were pleased to work with BSI and our peers to develop the certification, providing a clear assessment pathway to achieve the Kitemark.

“This will reassure clients and partners that we are working efficiently to the highest possible standards and that BIM processes are embedded within our systems.”

Tom Loader, head of digital transformation at Balfour Beatty, said: “Digital Integrity is an important part of delivering social and economic infrastructure as it reassures our customers that we are delivering the highest quality of information.

“Balfour Beatty was one of the first organisations to achieve this Kitemark which demonstrates our on-going commitment to digital transformation and our ability to lead in the industrialisation of information management in infrastructure.”

David Throssell, BIM and digital engineering operations manager, Skanska UK, added: “The BSI Kitemark is a respected brand. Applied to our services it will reinforce client confidence and prove greater quality in the delivery of BIM projects.”

The BSI Kitemark helps companies to demonstrate their commitment to best practice. Organisations holding the Kitemark will be routinely assessed, with a view to providing clients with complete confidence in their delivery to industry standards.

The BIM Kitemark builds on the verification scheme (PAS 1192-2) and involves sampling of completed projects, assessment of customer satisfaction through ISO 10004 Customer Satisfaction Guidelines for monitoring and measuring and uses additional assessment parameters through BS 11000 Collaborative Business Relationships. Like the verification scheme, the BSI Kitemark for PAS 1192-2 is an important component of BIM Level 2 and sets out the requirements for the design and construction phase.

Andy Butterfield, product certification director of built environment at BSI, said: “In a competitive marketplace, companies delivering BIM projects need to find a way to differentiate themselves, regardless of whether they are tendering for public or private sector projects.”

BRE urges Scottish construction sector to get BIM-ready

Leanne McMillan

Leanne McMillan

BRE Scotland’s sustainable development and accreditation director, Leanne McMillan, is to address delegates at Scotland Build 2016 tomorrow to highlight the impending deadline when BIM regulations become mandatory on public sector contracts.

During her seminar tomorrow, (attendance of which will contribute towards delegates’ Continuous Professional Development requirement) McMillan will highlight current legislation and key drivers for integrating sustainability in construction projects within the Scottish sector and outline the best ways for this to be achieved.

In her capacity as BRE Academy’s education and training offering for Scotland, Wales, Ireland and at BRE’s National Solar Centre, McMillan will also take the opportunity to highlight the forthcoming April BIM deadline and outline the various training options available from BRE to companies and individuals, in advance of the new BIM requirement.

BRE Academy in Scotland offers both classroom and online BIM training as well as working with Scottish university partners in BIM accrediting new graduates.

McMillan said: “With over 4000 individuals already having achieved Level 2 BIM accreditation, we are now the UK’s most experienced provider of BIM training, however, to date, only a small percentage of those undertaking training have been from Scotland. From April 2017, the new BIM regulations become mandatory in Scotland for all public sector contracts above the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) threshold of £4.32 million, which will have a significant impact on our built environment.

“With this deadline in mind, it is vital that Scottish companies and individuals make the necessary arrangements to achieve BIM accreditation now.”

Scotland Build 2016 gets underway today at the SECC in Glasgow.

Robertson Group achieves BIM Level 2 status

David Philp, chair of the SFT Scottish BIM Delivery Group and UK BIM Task Group, with Bill Robertson, executive chairman of Robertson

David Philp, chair of the SFT Scottish BIM Delivery Group and UK BIM Task Group, with Bill Robertson, executive chairman of Robertson

Robertson Group has received accreditation on the UK government BIM Level 2 certification scheme ahead of schedule.

The validation, from the British Standards Institute (BSI) comes after Robertson demonstrated its compliance in accordance with BIM industry standards: PAS 1192-2:2013, BS 1192-4:2014 and BS 1192:2007.

Launched last year, the scheme aims to ensure everyone involved in the construction process benefits from greater clarity, improved communication, less waste and an increase in efficiency. BIM Level 2 forms part of the UK government’s efforts to modernise the construction industry, aiming to reduce capital cost and carbon emissions.

Bill Robertson, executive chairman of Robertson, said: “The ability to demonstrate Robertson’s Level 2 BIM capability is a significant milestone for our business, and gives our clients and supply chain further assurance that we utilise BIM to manage their project information throughout an asset’s delivery.

“We see the adoption of the latest technology, modern methods of construction and embracing BIM culture as key to attracting future generations of young people into our industry. Through our adoption we are engaging with future generations to offer new and exciting opportunities that give young people structured development and career prospects.”

Achieving Level 2 certification is the latest milestone for Robertson and comes after the group revealed record turnover of £453m and its strongest ever forward order book in its latest set of financial results.

Robertson uses some of the latest technology within the construction industry for project delivery. Giving the whole of its supply chain training in and access to this technology allows Robertson to be seen as a partner of choice.

David Philp, chair of the SFT Scottish BIM Delivery Group and UK BIM Task Group, said: “It was fantastic to witness the Robertson Group achieve the BSI verification certificate for information management using BIM and compliance with Level 2 BIM Standards.

“This is a fantastic achievement and a testament to Robertson’s hard work in integrating these collaborative ways of digital working across the Group.”

Mr Philp added: “This recognition demonstrates that Scottish organisations are increasingly mobilising for and implementing Level 2 BIM projects ahead of the April 2017 milestone. Robertson is proving, after half a century in business, how construction organisations are continually innovating, delivering added customer value and being at the vanguard of a digitised built environment.”

HLM associate joins panel of industry experts at BIM conference in Edinburgh

Paul Tunstall

Paul Tunstall

With the Scottish Government aiming to adopt a BIM Level 2 approach across public sector projects by April 2017, Paul Tunstall, associate at architectural practice HLM is to illustrate how BIM theory can give competitive advantages to companies in Scotland at a conference in Edinburgh this month.

Tunstall will join a panel of industry experts, architects and technology leaders at the BIM in Scotland conference to discuss HLM’s broad experience of BIM and expertise in using it through the project lifecycle, starting from the initial decision on which platform to use through to challenges encountered in a large multinational implementation. As part of his presentation, Tunstall will also explore how he envisages the HLM practice and the wider architectural industry developing.

Providing architectural, landscape architecture, interior design and environmental design services, in recent years HLM has expanded operations to six offices in the UK and two others internationally.

HLM has a one-team culture which creates a platform for all its UK and overseas offices to share both workload and resources. This poses a challenging environment for its BIM activities to ensure consistency in quality and timely delivery.

“HLM was one of the first architectural practices in the UK to achieve certification through the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) Business Certification Scheme, firmly establishing it as a leading BIM Level 2 compliant organisation,” said Tunstall.

“My presentation will explore the concept of ‘Wide Area BIM’ and demonstrate some of the systems and tools that help make it possible.”

Tunstall has been an employee of HLM for over 18 years, implementing CAD and BIM systems across the group and providing training and support for its team of over 200 employees. He leads a team of Information Managers having the technical skills to support HLM’s many software tools and systems, under a group-wide Technology Team.

The UK government implemented a mandate for BIM on all of its public-sector projects in April of this year and Tunstall was instrumental in ensuring that HLM had the preparation and knowledge to undertake any project required to deliver BIM Level 2, well in advance of the deadline by guiding the practice through the BRE Business Certification Scheme.

As a member of the BuildingSMART organisation in the UK, he represents HLM in workshops and discussions to maintain HLM’s alignment with BIM and associated initiatives, both in the UK and internationally.

The BIM in Scotland conference is free to attend and takes place in Edinburgh on Wednesday 21 September 2016.

Free BIM training programme to be launched at industry conference

BIM stockThe Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) is set to launch a free training and awareness programme to help Scottish construction businesses prepare for the impending implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2.

Delivered by CSIC and supported by Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Futures Trust, BIM Regions Scotland and Hub, the programme of workshops and events will begin in October 2016 and will be aimed at construction professionals right across the industry, including designers, clients, facility managers, manufacturers and suppliers.

Full details of how to register your interest in the events will be launched at Construction Scotland and CSIC’s joint conference and industry showcase on September 13 at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow. The event, which will be the largest construction conference in Scotland, will bring together hundreds of the industry’s key influencers and decision makers from construction businesses of all sizes.

Adrian Shilliday, technical director and BIM Leader at Galliford Try, will chair one of the key workshops at the conference which will focus on preparing for BIM and unveil details of how the industry is leading in the awareness, adoption & implementation of BIM Level 2. The session will also feature Ryan Tennyson, co-chair of the BIM Scottish Suppliers Group and Bruce Newlands, head of technical operations at CSIC.

Bruce Newlands said: “BIM will be adopted, where appropriate, in projects across the public sector by April 2017. BIM will support the creation of a more efficient built environment that is more sustainable, and with more intelligent infrastructure fit for the 21st century. The April 2017 implementation date for the public sector is fast approaching, but there is still a lot of confusion in the construction industry about what exactly BIM is, what Level 2 means and what they need to do to prepare.

“That’s where this programme comes in.  Beginning with the basics, we plan to lead you methodically through the steps your business will need to take to be ready for BIM Level 2 and beyond, and give you all the guidance and information you need. As well as this extensive programme of free events there will also be an online hub and a free online advice service to help you answer any specific questions and point you to the right information.”

He added: “Any business worried or confused about BIM should join us at the conference, come along to our Preparing for BIM workshop and find out how to register to keep up to date with the forthcoming free training opportunities.”

The Construction Scotland and Innovation Centre Conference and Industry Showcase will be hosted by BBC Reporting Scotland’s David Henderson, and speakers will include Jamie Hepburn MSP, minister for employability and training, and Jim McColl OBE who will share his insights on growth through change and innovation. Michael Dall, lead construction economist at Barbour ABI, will also discuss future prospects for the industry.

Registration and attendance at the event is free. Workshop spaces are limited and are filling up fast, so register at as soon as possible to guarantee a place.