BIM QnA with Dr Barry McAuley and David Philp


In our latest BIM QnA of 2017 Dr Barry McAuley, Dublin Institute of Technology Lecturer and BICP Researcher and David Philp, AECOM’s Global BIM/IM Consultancy Director answer your BIM Questions on developing knowledge of BIM as a Client and on BIM’s influence on the demand for offsite construction.

Question: Will BIM significantly influence the demand for offsite construction in the international construction industry?

David Philp:

There is an ever increasing mutualistic relationship between BIM and offsite construction methodology. Whilst demand is growing for each individually the real benefits happen when these two themes converge. Both share the same value proposition of technological advancement which unlocks improvements in safety, quality, productivity and cost.

Offsite or as is its increasingly referenced “design for manufacture and assembly” (DfMA) can exploit BIM technologies to optimise the prototyping of modular assets and hybrid components that are manufactured in factory conditions and transported to site for safe assembly. BIM and the wider digitisation also encourages the use of these repeatable objects with known associated data such as actual operational performance and whole life cost.

Increasingly we are seeing Clients and the supply chain gaining significant benefits through digital design playbooks for domains that bring together standard chassis designs and plug and play DfMA kits of parts. These kits are increasingly popular in healthcare, judiciary and accommodation related projects where there is an efficient economy of scale and the designers can exploit the use of these parts in the early design stages.

The BIM process also supports the high level of tolerances and co-ordination needed for the design, manufacture and assembly processes and can link direct to robotic machinery and increasingly additive manufacturing. Increasingly BIM is also being used to model the logistics and transportation allied to the movement and installation of these modules and components to ensure lean and safe delivery.

As our sector continues to advance on both these fronts and Clients witness the use cases and benefits of this combined paradigm the demand will undoubtedly continue to grow.

Question: Where can a Client get information on how to develop their BIM knowledge in order to become an “Intelligent Client” when purchasing services from the construction industry?

Barry McAuley:

A great starting point for any Client is to attend one of the CitA breakfast meetings as these workshops cater for all levels of BIM knowledge. There are a number of multidisciplinary attendees and vendors who can offer guidance to any Client starting out on their BIM journey. There is a tremendous amount of websites and literature available. These include websites set up by parties responsible for supporting BIM programmes in their respective locations such as and These both offer important information and guides for those starting off on BIM. The B1M also provide a number of short videos on key BIM terminologies which can be accessed at They have also provided a series of training videos for High Speed 2. The BIM Innovation Capability Programme ( also hosts a number best practice case studies, available Higher Education Institution BIM training programmes, industry reports detailing current industry awareness, etc. all related to BIM in Ireland.

The “BIM For Dummies” book by Stefan Mordue, Paul Swaddle and David Philp which is available to purchase on Amazon also provides an easy to follow introduction to BIM and hands-on guidance for understanding the benefits of BIM. This is one of many books available to assist Clients.

All of the professional bodies have BIM groups set up who would be more than happy to point Clients in the right directions. Further to this a number of independent consultancies such as Arcdox and The DPW Group, amongst others have been assisting Clients along their BIM journey for years. There is a large pool of resources available to Clients but I strongly suggest attending one of the CitA workshops as a starting point and hearing from the speakers on how they started with BIM.

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