Efforts to ensure Irish construction companies embrace BIM and are ready to compete for projects when the UK mandate comes into effect in 2016 are continuing with funding from Enterprise Ireland available for companies to undertake a seven-day programme with a BIM consultancy.
There are currently two stages of support for companies hoping to get a foot on the BIM ladder – BIM-Enable and BIM-Implement. BIM-Enable helps companies set out a roadmap and gets them thinking about how they might apply BIM within their organisation. “BIM-Enable is a seven day strategic consultancy programme designed to heighten BIM knowledge across the business functions. Ultimately the aim is that it delivers a bespoke roadmap to Level 2 BIM proficiency based upon the company’s vision and resources. It’s intended for clients lacking capability in BIM methodologies,” says Stephen Hughes, Manager Construction, Timber & Consumer Paper, Print & Packaging at Enterprise Ireland. Under the BIM Enable scheme, the company pays the first €2,100 towards the costs of seven days’ consultancy, and Enterprise Ireland provides a grant for the remainder to a maximum of €6,300.
Participating companies will, upon completion, have a deeper understanding of the UK and international opportunities presented by BIM and will receive a business needs assessment to help understand their BIM requirements. They’ll also be furnished with a customised roadmap to help client companies and their senior team implement and exploit BIM within their organisation including an outline of training requirements if applicable.
In the next stage of the project, BIM-Implement represents the training phase of the BIM induction offer supporting knowledge transfer which is intended to lead to increased competences in BIM and a deeper understanding of supply chain implications. The overall aim is to embed BIM skills and knowledge across the organisation and ensure that the appropriate staff are equipped with the competencies to successfully manage a BIM project. “We’re really trying to encourage companies to begin that journey of upskilling in the BIM area.”
BIM-Implement is currently open to SME and large companies that are Enterprise Ireland clients or potential clients who have been trading for at least five years. Firms must be engaged in manufacturing or eligible internationally traded services and focused on an export growth agenda. The BIM-Implement grant can be used to support expenditure associated with the appointment of an approved BIM Trainer and employee participation in BIM training to achieve BIM Level 2 compliance. SMEs or large companies must be able to demonstrate the capability and commitment to successfully complete the BIM-Implement assignment. Projects must demonstrate how BIM methodology and the culture and practice of business improvement will be embedded in the company.
The UK mandate has spurred on Enterprise Ireland’s efforts. “In the UK, which is the biggest market for our construction companies who are involved in exporting, BIM has been mandated to be used in all public sector projects by 2016. This is driving the move towards the adoption of BIM at home in the public sector. It’s already widely used in the private sector. If our companies want to be part of that change they definitely need to be looking at BIM. Being an early adopter of BIM will give firms a good calling card when engaging with either contracting authorities or tier 1 companies already using the technology.” According to Stephen, a failure or hesitancy to adopt BIM could be the difference between securing work and losing out to BIM proficient competitors. “One of the greatest concerns we would have is that if the UK adopts BIM and we don’t, we’re putting our companies at a disadvantage even in their own domestic market.”
Since its launch late last year, a significant number of companies have taken up the BIM-Enable and BIM Implement programmes including design firms, main and specialist contractors, off-site manufacturers and product suppliers. A full listing of providers are available on the Enterprise Ireland website.
For companies interested in applying for funding, applications should be discussed with an Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser prior to submission. Firms can apply via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System. This is a time defined offer and companies should consider applying in the first instance .
At the moment, BIM-Enable and BIM-Implement are only available to Enterprise Ireland client companies but that’s about to change. “Initially we devised these supports for our client companies who are involved in manufacturing or construction services and who have an export dimension to their business. We’re conscious of the fact that there’s a bigger cohort of companies out there that aren’t clients of Enterprise Ireland so we’ve been looking to put in place a third party provider who will help to create awareness around BIM and the upskilling of it in the wider construction sector. We’re just towards the end of a tender for that and in the next number of weeks we hope to announce more details.”