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In brief


ABOVE Willmott Dixon and Avanti Architects have recently handed over the final phase of Haggerston School. The 77-week, £13.5m design and build contract project involved the refurbishment and modernisation of the iconic grade II-listed school in Hackney, London, together with the construction of a new Art, ICT and Technology block. The existing buildings were designed in the mid-1960s by modernist architect Erno Goldfinger and Haggerston is regarded as one of the outstanding school buildings of the period. photograph: Avanti Architects

Government BIM hubs tackle glitches

MAIN CONTRACTORS ARE to be invited to join regional BIM “hubs”, bringing together the industry and public sector clients to iron out implementation problems as the industry gears up to meet the government's BIM challenge. Meanwhile, civil servants will share

BIM expertise at cross-departmental workshops, which will cover subjects such as how to brief for BIM. And a new micro-site dedicated to

communicating the lessons learned from the first wave of BIM-compliant pilot projects will soon be set up. The site will publish key performance indicators from the projects on issues such as design clashes and the number of requests for information. The initiatives were outlined by David Philp, head of BIM implementation at

the Cabinet Office, at a meeting organised by software supplier Tekla. His presentation came as the first Ministry of Justice contracts mandating the use of BIM went out to tender at the end of February. Philp, who is on secondment from

Balfour Beatty, urged the industry to focus on small, achievable steps rather than being distracted by visions of BIM revolutionising the industry. “People are thinking far into the

future about what we're not ready for, when what we need is explicit conversations about what people need to do now,” he said. But he added that he was confident

there are sufficient Tier 1 and Tier 2 contractors ready to deliver BIM projects to ensure the MoJ contracts are subject to robust competition.

Research reveals supply chain risk

One large construction business in 10 is substantially reliant on high-risk suppliers, illustrating the fragility of many companies’ supply chains. The findings come in research

of 200 UK companies, including some of the UK’s largest corporates, commissioned by procurement services provider Achilles. It found that 10% of


construction businesses believe that more than half of their suppliers are "high risk". “High-risk suppliers are

worryingly prevalent in the current economic climate, at a time when businesses need transparent relationships and absolute security of supply,” said Adrian Chamberlain, CEO of Achilles Group.

The pilot projects will be expected to demonstrate Level 2 BIM — which all public sector projects are expected to meet by 2016. Essentially, this means that the various design disciplines create their own 3D design models, but these are then shared by a collaborative project team. Philp said Level 2 is well within the

industry's capabilities: “The design models [for the projects] are built, and in terms of the insurance and legal questions, not much changes — suitable contracts already exist.” He added that subcontractors lower

down the supply chain should not feel excluded as they can simply add their data to the project BIM model via a standard spreadsheet.

See BIM in action pages 24-26; Products, page 26; CPD, pages 31-33

DRAINAGE ADDS £2,500 TO A HOUSE Government proposals to ensure that all new developments meet stringent drainage requirements could add up to £2,500 to the cost of a new house, the Home Builders Federation is warning. Defra is consulting on proposals that will require developers to submit to new authorities their solutions for managing water run off, alongside their planning applications. The HBF has raised its concerns about the mandatory use of SUDS and the need to show plans to new approval bodies.

SPECIALISTS AN OPTION FOR JCT An optional provision in JCT’s Standard Building Contract allows employers to name individual specialists as domestic subcontractors for identified parts of the works. The modifications included in the Named Specialist Update can be incorporated either by amending the contract document itself, or by attaching the update to the contract and inserting a provision within the articles referring to it.

Strike over wage agreement off

Britain’s largest union, Unite, has confirmed it has called off all further strike action against seven M&E contractors after the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA) withdrew its proposal to introduce a new wage agreement. The move sees the withdrawal of

controversial Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) contract, which the union

claims would have imposed new semi-skilled grades outside of existing Joint Industry Boards agreements and would have led to pay cuts and poorer terms and conditions. The agreement by the five

remaining companies follows the earlier withdrawal of the BESNA contracts by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services and NG Bailey.

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