Commentary /

Intro to BIM at Niemen Architects

Building Information Modelling (BIM) entered the construction industry conversation 2 decades ago and it has been 5 years since the UK government mandated that all centrally-funded work must be undertaken using BIM.

For those not familiar with BIM, it is a digital software based process by which built environment professionals share information in a single, shared project-based set of 3D objects and systems, assembled together to make a virtual model of the project. It helps clients to visualise the design and assess engineering choices in context. It allows the creative team to test options on the layout of critical services virtually. Additionally it outputs vital documentation and data to enable better collaboration.

Despite the advantages, the use of BIM outside central government funded projects, has perhaps, not gained the traction it should have. There are a of reasons for this. Design professionals and practices who work on small projects tend to be wary of BIM. BIM calls for extensive training, comes with expensive software, and it does not necessarily bring the efficiencies and associated profit for smaller projects. There is also little pull from many clients who do not see or understand the benefits which can be brought. They have no need for a Common Data Environment (a central point by which all data is shared and distributed electronically) and the co-ordination advantage BIM brings is the concern of the design team. In short, they do not miss what they never had.

Because of the fear of high upfront costs, far too many designers and construction companies are forgoing a great tool that could make their company increase productivity and quality of their information, delivering a better service to their clients and profits. BIM is not best-suited for every project, but at Niemen Architects, we believe it could be used more readily and widely!

Since the start of the year, we have been pushing to use BIM and Revit (BIM enabled software) on our project work where possible and viable. Alongside office wide training we have made several key staff appointments who bring skills and experience delivering complex projects in BIM.  In order to make using BIM more commercially viable on our smaller schemes, we have been finding ways to remove the obstacles pushing us back to traditional delivery of projects, creating BIM templates and developing our pre-loaded content.

Because of the work done, now look to use BIM as a default rather than an exception. When we have introduced BIM and Revit to clients, it usually creates an interest and the benefits can be seen. As a result questions are being asked as to how we can leverage greater benefits from the software and process.


Having only limited first-hand experience and knowledge of BIM and the outputs of Revit, it was beneficial and interesting to see one of my proposed developments brought to life in 3D. Being able to look at elements of the building in 3D and on screen helped enormously in understanding the complex elements of the building.

Andy Garnett – Breck Developments


Over time, we believe that BIM will become the new standard for all industry delivered projects, not just those which are large or government funded. We are constantly working to establish better processes, and practices to enable us to get the most out of BIM and to provide our clients with the best possible service. If you would like to know more about how your project may be able to benefit from BIM please message us at