The catering equipment market needs to embrace Business Information Modelling (BIM) — not get frightened by the changes in business practices that it is destined to bring.
That was the view of senior market figures who recently took part in a special Catering Insight roundtable debate on the implications of BIM for foodservice design consultants, distributors and manufacturers.
From 2016, all government-funded construction projects will need to be designed to BIM standards, which has left some companies in the industry questioning their obligations.
Panelists taking part in the roundtable, which was hosted at CESA’s London offices, agreed it was important to note that BIM contains a number of maturity levels and to be ready in time of 2016, only compliance with Level 2 is necessary.
Level 2 is defined as ‘file-based collaboration and library management’, which for catering contractors will involve a managed 3D environment and the electronic provision of data relating to equipment and services — much of which kitchen planners already have access to in a non-BIM format.
Further levels of BIM entail a much greater degree of collaboration and data integration, but CESA director, Keith Warren, said companies needed to concentrate on the immediate requirements first.
“It is all about a staged approach, which will grow with the industry over time as different demands are placed on it,” he commented.
Chris Playford, market and development director at Foster, agreed there was a danger that talk of the different stages had confused the industry up to now.
“I think if you break it down to what you have to do and when, you realise it is a progression to get to Level 5 or 6. We have got to do it in bite-sized chunks. If you portray it as the whole process it becomes a bit daunting.”