Get ready for BIM but buy nothing
Alastair McCapra, chief executive of the Landscape Institute, said, ‘If you buy stuff now, it is almost guaranteed to be the wrong thing. Nobody is able to say what if anything you may need to buy. Tier one contractors will begin pushing their demands down the supply chain.’
But this is not an excuse for doing nothing. ‘In order to function effectively in the BIM environment, landscape architects need to be able to share data with other professions,’ McCapra said. ‘They need to get ready now to share that data.’
BIM will, he believes, be vital for the future of landscape professionals. ‘The thing that landscape architects sell most stongly as important for them is that they are involved at an early stage in a project and have the opportunity to add value,’ he said. ‘BIM is a watershed. I believe that it will improve the possibility for a landscape architect to be in a project adding value from the beginning, if they understand the BIM process. If they don’t get ready to work in this way, they will relegate themselves to the margin.’
Government has decreed that all publicly funded projects must operate at Level 2 BIM by 2016, and most privately funded projects are expected to follow suit. It defines Level 2 as a managed 3D environment, with information held on separate models by separate professionals, but a sharing of data. This data is to be in a format called COBie, which can be loaded on an Excel spreadsheet. The COBie requirements for landscape architecture have not yet been written.
At the moment, says McCapra, the primary requirement for landscape architects is that ‘They have to understand what the nature of the change is,’ he said. The Landscape Institute is about to start rolling out regional BIM seminars, and practitioners should also talk to members of other professions with whom they collaborate and make use of the information in the BIM Open Project. ‘For landscape architects,’ said McCapra, ‘BIM will represent a leap forward or a jump backward in terms of professional standing.’