Identity change reflects shift in focus of UK government and industry discussion about digital transformation in the built environment since 2016.
Monday 3rd October 2022 – London – The UK BIM Alliance, the independent, not-for-profit organisation established in 2016 to champion implementation of building information modelling (BIM) in the UK, is rebranding as ‘nima’.
The name, also the Greek word for ‘thread’, is not an abbreviation. It has been selected to help give the volunteer-led organisation an identity, sense of purpose and a set of behaviours that are better aligned with current and anticipated future UK thinking about digital working in the built and managed environment.
The need for change
Explaining the change, announced at the UK Construction Week trade show in Birmingham on 4 October 2022, Dr Anne Kemp OBE, chair of nima, says:
“The UK has been hugely influential in the international adoption of BIM adoption since the launch of the UK government’s drive for change in 2011. Setting a ‘BIM Mandate’ in April 2016 did much to stimulate people, process and technology change and to help build a standards-driven movement. And since 2016, the Alliance has also helped maintain momentum, by, for example, supporting development of the UK BIM Framework.
“However, the debate has started to shift. It is no longer just about BIM – often seen as a technological change – but about wider industry information management challenges, including building safety, climate change, and delivering value across the life cycle of our built and managed assets.”
The organisation has been debating its identity and purpose since the publication of the international ISO 19650 standards in January 2019, mindful that industry discussions were also embracing emerging concepts such as digital twins. BIM was becoming ‘business as usual’ for significant parts of the construction sector. However, it was often misconstrued as a 3D design technology rather than a process supporting purposeful use of information across the whole landscape of the built environment, from the inception stages of projects, through construction, and – most importantly – then to support efficient operation, maintenance and use of assets through to their end of life. Continuing, Anne explains:
“Our new name, nima, reflects evolution of our industry and our organisation. We are keeping an international perspective, continuing to support digital transformation across the sector, and aiming in our behaviours to be as inclusive as possible. We are not the ‘BIM police’ – we are a self-help community that anyone can tap into if they want to improve their information management.”
The nima brand
As part of the rebranding process, the nima name is supported by a new logo, a refreshed strategy has been developed, and the organisation’s website and social media channels are being updated.
Existing content (including the UK BIM Framework guidance – endorsed in the government’s 2021 information management mandate), local and sectoral group resources, and relationships with industry organisations (including UK government, professional and trade association affiliates, technology providers, and buildingSMART International) will be maintained and expanded.
Nima will also continue to support clients and industry practitioners with case studies, plain language guides, national and local events, and exemplar information management implementation projects.
- The UK BIM Alliance was a successor to the UK BIM Task Group, and was established as a volunteer-led, industry-based body in 2016 to help BIM become ‘business as usual’ while also transforming and future proofing the way the industry works.
- The UK BIM Framework sets out the approach for implementing BIM in the UK using the framework for managing information provided by the ISO 19650 series. It is referenced in the IM Mandate as part of the IPA’s Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap 2030 report, and in the (recently updated) Construction Playbook, published by the Cabinet Office for the Construction Leadership Council. It includes the published standards called upon to implement BIM, UK BIM Guidance, and useful links to other resources.
- nima will continue to incorporate buildingSMART UK & Ireland (bSUKI), the UK & Ireland Chapter of buildingSMART International.
- Why change the name? – Industry debates on digital matters are no longer just about BIM – often seen as a technological change or about 3D models – but about wider industry information management challenges, including productivity, building safety, climate change, and delivering value across the life cycle of our built and managed assets.
- What does the name stand for? – The name, nima, also the Greek word for ‘thread’, is not an abbreviation or acronym. The organisation wanted a simple identifying name which sounded appealing but is neutral and agnostic. It usefully includes IM, and the thread derivation enables conversations about the multitude of threads running through information about the built environment.