Developing the open standards, tools and training that will drive the successful uptake of BIM

Bulletin 23, July 2015

Chapter workshop in Paris

Reinvigorating the network

The first-ever chapter workshop was held in Paris on 17 June, following the International Council meeting, to discuss how the network of buildingSMART chapters can best be harnessed.

'We wanted to bring the chapters together to discuss how best to build on our existing strengths to achieve the goals both of International and the individual chapters,' explains Chris Groome, bSI business manager, who runs the chapter programme, which is to be renamed to reflect its user roots.

Ahead of the workshop, the chapters had responded to a survey circulated by Richard Kelly, bSI operations director. The survey contained 26 questions, covering the membership and activities of individual chapters, the opportunities for open BIM standards in their region, information sharing among chapters and more.

Anne Kemp, bS UKI vice chair, and Nick Tune and David Jellings, board members, attended on behalf of the UK chapter.

Breakout sessions were held in the morning and afternoon, where participants were given a series of questions to discuss, including chapter concerns and ideas for increasing our impact on users. Enthusiasm for buildingSMART emphasised its collaborative nature - the chance ‘to share experiments’ because ‘in buildingSMART we help each other’.

The positioning of buildingSMART was perceived as crucial. 'We must be seen as the only authority on open BIM,' insisted one group after its breakout discussion.

CEO Richard Petrie is developing a chapter charter to cover the formal relationship, as work continues to harness the talent and experience that the chapters embody.

BuildingSMART International Council meeting – elections

Following the International Council meeting in Paris on 16 June, elections for office were held on 17 June. Patrick MacLeamy was re-elected as chairman and Chris Groome was re-elected as secretary and business manager.

In the elections to the bSI board, Jeremy Watson, chair of bS UKI, was elected a board member.

Annual Report 2014

The Annual Report for buildingSMART International was released in June. It provides a useful and accessible guide to the structure and activities of bSI, including its five ‘rooms’ or centres of activity: the Building, Infrastructure, Product, Technical and Regulatory Rooms.

The Annual Report is available on the bS UKI website.

BuildingSMART guidance on EIR

What the template can do for you


A real solution based on real projects

Benefits of the EIR template

  • An industry-tested template incorporating the latest Task Group guidance, compliant with British standards
  • Based on feedback from professionals in live projects 
  • Allows the client to outline its requirements in an industry-recognised format which follows open BIM data structures

If you work as part of a design supply chain, how do you know what information you should present to the client? Or if you are a client, how can you ensure that your suppliers are giving you the information you need, in the form that you want it?

The process of giving or getting the right information treads a fine line between far too much and far too little. Which is where the employer’s information requirements (EIR) template – helping suppliers record the employer’s information requirements – comes in.

Nick Nisbet, bS UKI’s technical co-ordinator, has led the work. 'In the past, both clients and their supply chain have found it difficult to strike a sensible balance on information requirements,' he explains. 'The employer has often failed to ask for the right information, or has asked for too little or too much.'

'The BIM Task Group’s guidance document is two years old, and since then there has been a plethora of BIM standards published,' says Dan Rossiter, BIM consulting/training manager at bS UKI, who has assisted Nick. 'We could see there was a strong industry need for up-to-date guidance to help satisfy the client’s responsibilities to complete their EIR.'

A working party under the bS UKI Technical Group has drafted an EIR template. It is, in the words of PAS 1192-2:2013, a 'pre-tender document setting out the information to be delivered [to the customer], and the standards and processes to be adopted by the supplier as part of the project delivery process'.

The template shows the principal requirements that would be found in a good EIR document and advises how they may be completed. One useful feature is the use of IFC attribute data to allow the information exported from the NBS BIM toolkit to be included in a consistent format as well as being in a format suitable for populating COBie sheets.

The power of this template comes from its ability to define both the client’s requirements as well as providing a benchmark for the supply chain to respond to. This allows supply chains to develop a consistent manner of developing BIM execution plans (a key pre- and post-contract BIM document) and subsequently streamlining the tender process by being able to extract data in a structured and consistent manner.

The template is out for review and available to buildingSMART UK members. If you would like to have your say, please contact with your comments.

The trial is led by Nick Nisbet and is one of several User Group trials that also include the product data capability trial run by Gary Scott. The trials are supported by AEC3, BRE, Sir Robert MacAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke, Gatwick Airport and Carillion.

London summit in March

In March, bS UKI and BRE hosted a summit of the buildingSMART community. Representatives of the chapters, working groups and buildingSMART International shared their expertise at the plenaries and workshops, held at BRE Watford, and the subsequent BIM Prospects conference is London.

This was a chance for the UK industry to hear what was going on in other chapters and see the concrete results of the bSI standards programme. 

Four new bS standards...

Four standards were at their final stage, and the buildingSMART ‘rooms’ – dedicated working groups – recommended that they should be accepted as final bS standards.

The first of these is Alignment, an infrastructure standard that has been fast-tracked. The next two form part of the IFC4 model coordination view – an essential tool for implementing IFC4 – and are known as the reference view and the model transfer view. Since the summit, these two have been accepted as buildingSMART standards. Finally, a new version of the BIM collaboration format is ready for approval.

... and the five rooms

There are now five rooms, each working to develop and progress projects that will allow open workflows. The youngest of them, the Regulatory Room, prepared its charter, which included the goal of developing standards for structured digital-friendly building codes.

Elsewhere at the summit, the Building Room developed its plans for BIM guidelines, the Product Room looked at ways to stimulate uptake of the Data Dictionary, and the Infrastructure Room progressed three of its projects: IFC Roads, IFC Bridge and Alignment 1.1, which will refine and extend the Alignment standard. In the last year, the Technical Room has completed the two parts of the model coordination view and continues to maintain the standards, though changes of functionality are tackled as separate projects.  

BIM Prospects

The two-day conference in London that followed allowed the exchange of knowledge between local delegates and the international buildingSMART community. The UK’s plans for collaborative and integrated working, at levels 2 and level 3, were explained, and Jeremy Watson, bS UKI chair, described how the static design data of level 2 would play out with the real-time data that level 3 entails.

High on the conference agenda were the topics of Big Data – how to deal with data that is too extensive for traditional tools – and the implications of the Internet of Things. Finally Anne Kemp, bS UKI vice chair, stressed the huge dependence of the UK government programme, Digital Built Britain, on open standards.

Contact details

BIM associate director

Paul Oakley (

BIM consulting/training manager

Daniel Rossiter (

Technical co-ordinator

Nick Nisbet (

User Group co-ordinator

Jeff Stephens (

Bulletin editor

Betzy Dinesen (


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