“Level 3 BIM” with “Level Zero” building control law?

by Bregs Blog admin team

The following opinion piece was posted by Bregs Blog team on 4th September 2014.


This image of Building Information Modeling (BIM) prompts the question- are we moving to “Level 3 BIM” with “Level Zero” building control law?

Is a “Level Zero Certification” system fit for purpose in 2014?

The new building control system is not smart. Why are we building compliance in the construction industry around a “Level 0” (SI.9) certification scheme that is a ‘one-cert’, ‘one-man’, ‘one-size-fits-all’ system. Where is the future proofing? Where is the smart economy? Why are we accepting more red tape that’s putting a drag on the recovery and job creation? Where’s the plan for rolling out BIM? Where’s the joined up thinking?

SI.9 is yesterday’s solution shoe-horned into legislation written a quarter of a century ago (1990 Building Control Act) in the early days of ‘computer aided drawing’. Let’s not forget that the 1990 Act was a good fit for a traditional two storey house with one builder, low-tech construction and a set of building by-laws that were really just sound rules of thumb.

This was long before EU directives, very demanding technical regulations, high tech components and complicated contracts. BIM (building information modelling) is the collaborative design of the future (LINK) and Ireland is already lagging far behind in adopting smarter systems.

SI.9 is a response to the mismanagement of the last 20 years without looking forward to the immense changes that are happening in the industry and harnessing the opportunities for doing things better. The Irish Government has not yet realised the positive impact of BIM Technologies and Process. The UK Government has and is leading the way for change in the building procurement industry there. In the UK they are learning to walk (BIM Maturity Level 1) before the run (BM Level 2) before they are ready to sprint (BM Level 3) with collaboration at the heart of this approach.

At the launch of ‘Construction 2020’ the Taoiseach said that “The Government will support this recovery but only if it is based on the highest international standards in quality, excellence and trust

Does SI.9 promote collaboration ? Perhaps in a perverted way it does, not that this was in its intention. Smart operators will see the benefits of multidisciplinary collaboration in terms of meeting the statutory requirements and they will step up with ‘smart’ tracking systems.. True collaboration is based around “shared risk for shared profit where stakeholders work together to achieve a shared goal”.

But SI.9 is a potential stake in the heart of true collaboration because it funnels multidisciplinary responsibility to one signature, in essence it cements traditional cooperation defined as “working with others to achieve your own goal”. This ‘Level 0’ system relies on the last man standing and his one page certificate pinning all his hopes on a single insurance policy.

This heading image came from a Dutch BIM leaflet: Dutch BIM leaflet


Other posts of interest:

Opinion Piece: Using Collaborative Technology’s to drive BC(A)R SI 9

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI