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BIM Maturity Levels

What are the Maturity Levels in BIM?

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has long been ingrained in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) industry, with its roots tracing back to a pivotal moment in May 2011 when the UK government unveiled a forward-thinking construction strategy aimed at driving down costs associated with public sector assets. This strategy heralded a mandate for construction vendors vying for government tenders: they must attain BIM Level 2 compliance to be eligible. Moreover, it outlined a phased implementation plan for BIM Level 3 across all centrally procured projects by 2016.

Expanding on this momentum, UK authorities have now taken decisive steps to enforce BIM usage in high-rise residential projects, reflecting a strategic move towards enhanced efficiency and collaboration within the industry. For a comprehensive understanding of this development, delve into our article "BIM Mandatory in UK: Implications for Builders and Designers."

At its core, BIM stands as a collaborative platform empowering industry professionals in the holistic management of assets, spanning from conceptualization to decommissioning. Serving as a comprehensive repository delineating the attributes of a building facility, BIM fosters seamless knowledge exchange among stakeholders at every phase of the lifecycle.

Recognizing the intrinsic value of BIM in fostering collaborative synergy within the AEC domain, the UK Government's proactive stance underscores the significance of BIM levels as catalysts for cohesive working practices. These levels, ranging from 0 to 3 and beyond, serve as tangible benchmarks delineating the degree of collaboration envisaged at each stage of project evolution.

Maturity Levels in BIM

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Levels of BIM Explained- Level 0, Level 1, Level 2 & Level 3

Level 0 BIM


Level 0 means that the project promotes zero collaboration and makes use of paper-based 2D CAD drafting techniques. The main goal is to generate Production Information in the form of paper or electronic prints. This is an obsolete level that is rarely used by industry professionals nowadays.

Level 1 BIM


Level 1 BIM involves using both 3D CAD and 2D drafting. While 3D CAD is used for conceptual works, 2D is used for the generation of statutory approval documentation and Production Information. At this level, data sharing happens electronically using a common data environment (CDE) managed by the contractor. Also, the CAD standards are governed under British Standards (BS 1192:2007)

At this level, there is zero or low collaboration between the different stakeholders as everyone creates and manages their own data.

Guidelines to Achieve Level 1 BIM

For achieving Level 1 BIM, the following should be taken care of:

1. Roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders should be outlined (CIC BIM Protocol)
2. Standardized naming convention should be adopted (Uniclass 2015)
3. Creation and maintenance of project-specific codes and spatial coordination (Industry Foundation Class)
4. Adoption of Common Data Environment of Electronic Document Management System for information sharing between all teams.
5. Setting up an appropriate information hierarchy that supports CDE and document repository

Level 2 BIM


02 Level 2 BIM Level 2 BIM is prescribed by the UK Government for public sector projects. This level promotes collaborative working by giving each of the stakeholders its own 3D CAD model. Collaborative working is the distinguishing aspect of this level and Level 2 requires streamlined information exchange related to a project and seamless coordination between all the systems and the stakeholders.

All the parties work on their local 3D CAD models and information is exchanged through a common file format. Such a system allows organizations to combine external data with their own model to create a federated BIM Model. Explore more about BIM Exectution plan (BEP/BXP)

Guidelines to Achieve Level 2 BIM

1. Achieve all the guidelines outlined in Level 1
2. Install CAD software that supports common file formats such as IFC or COBie

Level 3 BIM


03 Level 3 BIM Often termed as ‘Open BIM’ the scope of Level 3 hasn’t been completely defined though it promises deeper collaboration between all stakeholders through a shared model stored in a central repository. Level 3 concept enables all the participants to work on the same model simultaneously which eliminates the chance of conflicting information.

Level 3 proposes the use of an integrated solution built around open standards like IFC where a single server stores all the project data. Though this level is slowly picking up pace, many firms in the UK are still thinking of transitioning from Level 2 to Level 3.

Guidelines to Achieve Level 3 BIM

The scope and vision of BIM Level 3 are defined by the UK Government in Level 3 Strategic Plan. Proper implementation and adoption of Level 3 require:
1. Development of a fresh ‘Open Data’ standard that facilitates the sharing of project data around the globe
2. Creation of new contractual frameworks for BIM-based projects for promoting collaboration and ensuring consistency
3. Training clients in the public sector to use BIM techniques

BIM Levels & Existing Industry Ecosystem

The United Kingdom’s Digital Built Britain Strategy talks highly of using Level 3 BIM for the future. Though there is a strong push by the government, the industry is slow to adapt Level 3 BIM which is in the preliminary stages. The strategy defines four phases for successful adoption of Level 3 BIM which includes:

• Level 3A: Improving the existing Level 2 model
• Level 3B: Allowing new technologies and systems
• Level 3C: Enabling development of fresh business models
• Level 3D: Capitalizing the global authority in BIM sphere

The Digital Built Britain strategy is setting the solid ground for the adoption of Level 3 & beyond in line with the government’s construction strategies like the Business and Professional Services Strategy 22, the Smart Cities Strategy 23, the Information Economy Strategy 24 and Industrial Strategy – Construction 2025.
Similar to the recent mandates in favor of BIM by the UK government, fresh measures will pave the perfect adoption path towards greater levels. Also, the private sector is looking to propagate the collaborative work theory which will eventually impact the public AEC industry too. The transition will be similar to the transition from paper-based models to CAD during the 1990s.

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