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BIM 2050December 2015

Written by Dr Sarah Birchall, Consultant, Sustainable Construction Group, BSRIA

Figure 1: Photo taken from the latest BIM 2050 group meeting

Technological development is a fast changing environment, one that is difficult to manage without the sufficient skill set. BSRIA’s quarterly consultant survey regularly finds that the industry, particularly smaller SMEs are struggling to grasp the meaning of BIM and how it will affect them, respondents report that one of the main reasons for this is the lack of relevant skills needed for undertaking BIM.

BIM is clearly a big part of the future of the Built Environment particularly as the government leads with its own target to have all centrally procured projects achieve Level 2 BIM by 2016. With this looming target and the wider industry trying to come to terms with BIM it’s clear that the skills shortage needs to be addressed.

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) BIM 2050 group is a prime example of how the industry is bringing together people who want to focus on technology and creating a digital built environment.

BSRIA’s Dr Sarah Birchall who is also a member of the CIC BIM 2050 Group explains what the group is about and how it aims to help improve the future of the built environment…

CIC BIM 2050 group strives to develop a culture which enables an open, digitally integrated approach to positively impact our future built environment.

Background to BIM 2050 Group

The first BIM2050 Group was set up by the CIC in September 2012 and was chaired by David Philp, at the time Head of the then BIM Implementation Group at the Cabinet Office. The group was refreshed in 2015 and is now chaired by the former vice chair Neil Thompson, UK Head of Digital Research & Innovation at Balfour Beatty plc.

The previous group’s report Built Environment 2050: A Report on our Digital Future can be downloaded from

So who are the BIM 2050 Group?

The BIM 2050 group consists of a collection of industry young professionals, from architects, engineers and contractors, to legal professionals and surveyors, each representing their respective professional institutions.

Vision and scope

Figure 2: Structure of the BIM 2050 Group workstreams

The group’s vision is to lead the built environment into the future and a mission to inspire open innovation, change and collaboration in the built environment. The scope of this group is to not only focus on within the built environment, but also to reach out to other sectors and industries to explore and integrate parallels.

The year 2050 signifies that the group does not limit its thinking to what is technically feasible today or tomorrow, but allows for imagining a radically different industry in which change is long term and sustained.

The group’s drivers are to:

  1. Improve the image and efficiency of the construction industry.
  2. Promote shared knowledge and be an active forum for like-minded industry professionals to collaborate.
  3. Develop and review strategic scenarios for the future of the construction industry.
  4. Offer unique perspectives and critical thought leadership to challenge the construction industry.
  5. Disseminate information to help positively shape the future of the construction industry.
  6. Take a wide view of the industry and research what an interdisciplinary scope of work may look like as technology develops.


The first meeting of the new group in April 2015 started with a brain-storm of the group’s vision and what it wanted to collectively achieve. The group decided it wanted to iterate and build upon the structure of the previous group and proposed a number of workstreams – skills, education, process, procurement, and market structure and models. Culture and Technology are the two key enablers with which BIM permeates the built environment sector. Figure 2 shows how the workstreams are structured and how they support one another.

The BIM 2050 group is committed to understanding and expounding the developing trends within technology and culture that will impact upon the built environment sector by the year 2050. Ensuring that the built environment sector can see the possibilities on the horizon and navigate itself into a world that is sustainable, profitable, open and a source of social and environmental quality.

The BIM 2050 group are busy working on the activities outlined so watch this space for further updates. You can also follow the group on Twitter at @BIM2050.

The Chair of the BIM 2050 Group, Neil Thompson, presented at the BSRIA Briefing on 13th November 2015. Read a review of the Briefing, including free downloads of all presentations.

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