4 July 2023
Following the announcement by Ministers Donohoe and Smyth of a package of contract reforms to build confidence in NDP delivery, this information note provides further details about the role of BIM and sustainability in these reforms, and a timeline for Public Sector BIM Adoption
Two of the measures announced have the potential to transform the design, construction and operation of public works projects over the coming years.
We must ensure that the infrastructure built to serve the community and promote a prosperous economy has the smallest possible impact on the environment. We must also build more efficiently to conserve precious resources to meet our challenging climate action plan targets, reduce waste and increase productivity.
Measuring the carbon generated in the operation of built assets has been a focus of building designers, legislators and policy makers for several decades with the result that our new buildings are constructed to near zero carbon levels for their heating, cooling and lighting needs.
The carbon produced in the construction stage is the next area that must be tackled.
Measuring and reporting on embodied carbon is vital if we are to understand what steps can be taken in the design and specification of buildings to reduce our carbon footprint. Whether that is in specifying materials with a lower carbon footprint or incorporating greater amounts of recycled materials or reusing resources that are currently sent to landfill.
We are adopting the International Cost Management Standard (ICMS) to enable consistent reporting of costs, life cycle costs and life cycle analysis including embodied carbon across the National Development Plan. The first updated cost reporting templates incorporating ICMS will be published in August 2023. They will be updated early in 2024 to incorporate reporting of life cycle costing and further again in 2025 to enable reporting on life cycle analysis including embodied carbon.
Building Information Modelling (BIM)
The data handling capacity of Building Information Modelling is vital if we are to accurately measure the embodied carbon of construction projects. It can also drive significant efficiencies from the point of view of time, and cost and enables a better quality outcome.
BIM requirements will be introduced into the CWMF from January 2024. It will begin with large projects where the capacity to respond to BIM requirements is already reasonably well established.
BIM requirements will initially apply to higher value projects – over €100 million – and cascade down to projects below €1 million over a 4 year period.
From January 2024 consultants engaged to design and oversee the construction of public works contracts with a value in excess of €100m will have Building Information Modelling (BIM) requirements included in their scope of service.
Over a period of 4 years these requirements will be extended to include the engagement of consultants and contractors down to projects with a value less than €1m. At that point all public works projects will have BIM requirements incorporated.
The BIM adoption strategy utilises the buying power of the public sector which represents at least 25% of construction activity to incorporate digital delivery requirements as part of the overall Government strategy to digitalise the construction sector by 2030.
Table: Public Sector BIM Adoption Timeline
|Project Category Value
|Milestone 1 – Design Team only
|Milestone 2 – Contractor and Supply Chain
|Milestone 3 – Design Team only
|Milestone 4 – Contractor and Supply Chain
|Milestone 5 – Design Team only
|Milestone 6 – Contractor and Supply Chain
|Milestone 7 – Design Team only
|Milestone 8 – Contractor and Supply Chain
|Milestone 9 – Design Team only
|Milestone 10 – Contractor and Supply Chain
|Milestone 11 – Design Team only
|Milestone 12 – Contractor and Supply Chain
The International Cost Management Standard provides a single methodology for reporting, grouping and classifying construction project costs. The most recent edition provides a common reporting framework allowing the interrelationship between construction cost and carbon emissions to be explored.
ICMS will enable decisions to be taken on the basis of the total cost of ownership including the environmental impacts of decisions with respect to material selection, foundation design and energy use and production.
Combined with the data handling capacity of BIM and the availability of greater levels of information on materials and building components, there will be capacity for contracting authorities and their project teams to review a project’s environmental standing at all stages of its delivery lifecycle. ICMS will formalise reporting at the key decision points.
BIM is a process that governs the creation and management of all of the information on a project – before, during and after construction.
One of the key outputs of this process is the Building Information Model, the digital description of every aspect of the built asset. This model draws on information assembled collaboratively and updated at key stages of a project.
These measures are in addition to the reforms of the public works contracts announced today by the Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, Paschal Donohoe and Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment, Ossian Smyth. Further reforms to the Capital Works Management Framework will be necessary to give effect to these measures over the coming months and they will be subject to separate updates on this website.