Paul Oakley, BIM Director at BRE caught up with Martin Howe, National BIM Manager at SES, about the company’s recently awarded BRE Global BIM Business Systems Certification at Ecobuild, which demonstrates a company’s compliance with the requirements of BIM Level 2. He explains how BIM is helping them deliver more efficiently and higher quality projects.
- How long have you been using BIM in your projects and what have been the main challenges so far?
SES Engineering Services (SES) was an early adopter of BIM. We have used 3D modelling on projects for over 15 years and have been embedding data into our models since 2010.
Major challenges for SES and the construction industry have been, and continue to be, the timing and methods of procurement of MEP specialist contractors, staff training; retention and recruitment; the level of investment required for IT hardware and software systems; integrating the supply chain into our BIM process and the broader change of industry culture required to adopt a new way of working.
SES has made significant investment in training, IT and business enterprise systems to maximise the benefits of BIM and its integration with off-site manufacture, project delivery and business process efficiency. At SES we advocate that for BIM to be truly successful throughout the lifecycle of a project, a change of culture and mind-set is required from project inception through to handover across all project stakeholders.
- BIM Level 2 is government-driven, but are you embracing BIM as a business opportunity?
As a key component of our Integrated Project Delivery process, SES has been able to demonstrate and measure the benefits of BIM. Through the integration of BIM with our business enterprise systems we are able to deliver improvements in quality and efficiency across all our projects. We use digital engineering from work winning through to Smart Landings and our strategy of ‘input once – use many times’ has been the catalyst for utilising a single source of information to positively impact on a myriad of project delivery activities.
- Why have you sought BIM certification?
SES is committed to integrating BIM throughout our business and to maintain our position as a leading provider of MEP building services solutions. Our goal was to become the first UK independent MEP specialist contractor to be certified. Achieving Level 2 certification is a key component of the SES BIM strategy and demonstrates to our clients that our capability, policy and procedure are suitable to deliver their requirements. It is also affirmation of the significant time and investment we have made towards becoming a digitally enabled business and allows us to secure additional funding for continuing our development.
- What has BRE certificated? (summary of what the scheme looks at)
The BRE scheme has certified SES compliance with PAS1192-2:2013 and our competence and capability relating to PAS91:2013 section 4.2 Table 8.
- What was the approach to certification and how did you find the process?
The BRE BIM L2 Business Systems Certification scheme is initiated through an online application followed by a desktop audit and completed with an on-site audit with a BRE assessor. The online application can be completed in stages and the timescales to carry out this stage were set and managed by SES. Subsequent to the information gathering and submission, feedback was received from the BRE desktop audit and there was an opportunity to discuss the findings with the assessor before the on-site audit took place. We found the opportunity to engage with BRE along the way to be invaluable as it allowed us to focus our time and resources in the right places – making the process efficient.
- In what way was the process especially valuable, for example, what did you learn from it?
Through the feedback and discussion with the BRE auditors during the certification process, SES were able to resolve queries and refine our processes to ensure we were compliant with the PAS1192-2 and BS1192 within the context of SES business operations.
- Has the certification process helped with integrating BIM into your business?
A key component of PAS1192-2 is the ability to collaborate and share information in a structured way using a Common Data Environment. The requirements of the certification process have focused our attention on how we share information throughout the business and we now have a solution in place which will enable significant improvements over traditional ways of working. It also inspires us to accelerate our digital engineering development projects as we integrate more of our business process into the BIM process. We are also using it internally as a communication tool as we continue to build awareness and knowledge of how BIM impacts on the industry both today and in the future.
- What other benefits do you see from being certified?
The certification and audit process has enabled SES to continue to refine our methods and procedure and as a result of this we are now in a position to undertake Level 2 BIM projects with confidence and offer a validated service to our partners and clients. We also hope that as the industry continues to evolve and MEP specialist contactors move closer to the front end of projects we can continue to differentiate ourselves by being a credible and authoritative voice in our customer’s supply chain.
- How have your existing clients responded to your certification and do you see it as an important aspect of winning new work?
SES is very proud of becoming the first MEP specialist contractor to achieve Level 2 accreditation. The accreditation supports the SES brand and enhances our reputation as a leading MEP specialist contractor. We believe this accreditation sets us apart from our competition and will be an important aspect of winning new work. We intend to use our certification to stimulate new conversations with existing customers to be part of their BIM journeys and to ensure we are meeting their needs.
- Would you recommend certification through BRE?
Yes, we would recommend certification through BRE. The application process is well structured and is supported by a knowledgeable and experienced BRE team. Becoming certified takes a lot of effort; firstly of course you have to set your business up as a BIM enabled operation. BRE helped us focus around the key compliance criteria and after a 20 year journey the certification process was completed in only four months.
SES Engineering Services (SES) are recognised as one of the leading M&E partners in the UK, delivering for a wide range of customers by creating environments that our clients can excel in. Their in-house design capabilities linked with Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Building Physics Modelling (BPM) teams are happy to work from first principles or work in collaboration with existing design teams to create the right and optimised solution for customers’ needs. Find out more.
BRE BIM Business Systems Certification: Helping you prove to your clients that you have the capability to deliver the Government’s BIM Level 2 requirements
The BRE BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification scheme assesses a business, relating to the BIM policy and capability as defined within PAS 1192-2:2013 and PAS 91 as well as assessing the ability of the business to meet the requirements of an employer to carry out a BIM capability assessment.
The scheme has been designed to enable certificated businesses to demonstrate compliance with the PAS91-2013 section 4.2 so that as a BIM Certificated company you will not have to provide evidence of competence each time you undertake a tender.
The benefit of the scheme means that as well as speeding up the tendering process, certification saves businesses the time and costs involved in responding to ever-varying tender questions, and for those issuing tenders, having a BRE BIM-certified business in the running removes the need to check replies or employ someone to do it for them.