HS2: Causeway and EKFB joint venture
We explore how a joint venture between Causeway and Eiffage Kier Ferrovial BAM (EKFB) is boosting project performance through digital technology
is arguably the most anticipated (and controversial) infrastructure project the United Kingdom has seen this millennium. The project consists of a new, high-speed railway system connecting a number of major cities in the UK including London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
Just yesterday, that Laing O’Rourke built the projects’ first bridge in just two days, and today we take a closer look at a joint venture which is enabling productivity and performance surrounding the project to soar.
The partnership between construction software company Causeway, and Civil Engineering company EKFB is delivering works for HS2 with the power of technology, combining their knowledge to enable EKFB to exceed expectations whilst staying within budget.
The software solutions offered by Causeway support supply chain management and electronic invoicing whilst enabling transparency into costs and visibility amongst EKFB’s real-time performance. The software is enabling both EKFB and HS2 Ltd. to maximise the overall efficiency of the infrastructure project.
“We want to be known for championing innovation. A key part of our strategy is to make the best use of data integration to provide one source of truth, in real-time,” said David Lowery, EKFB Executive Director.
He then went on to say: “We work with key industry suppliers and business teams to use data to increase productivity, health, safety and wellbeing on site. Our digital strategy helps us to expose real value from data to manage operations, keep costs down and take a proactive approach to issues to drive the overall efficiency.
“Causeway offers the expertise and experience we need to manage an expansive supply chain and monitor the construction of many assets, including 15 viaducts, 6.9km of green tunnels, 22km of road diversions, 81 bridges and around 30m cubic metres of excavation. Cost management is essential to our success and Causeway is the partner that has the innovative capabilities to help us deliver our part of Britain’s new low carbon high-speed railway.”
Which countries are leading the adoption of BIM?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) was first used by UK construction firms in the 1980s. Since then an increasing number of countries such as Germany, Austria, and Russia have also started to use it, but which country is leading the way?
According to research by PlanRadar, the UK, as of 2021, remains the leader in BIM implementation in construction when compared with other European nations. However, the company’s research shows that there is clear evidence other countries in close pursuit.
As part of the research into the adoption of BIM, PlanRadar examined government policy documents and conducted interviews to find out why BIM is being deployed in each country. The study also allowed the company to gauge construction professionals’ attitudes to digital technology tools in their industry, as well as explore where fast growth rates in BIM are most likely in the coming years. In addition, it looked at which governments have progressed furthest in making construction BIM mandatory.
PlanRadar says the findings are “a useful follow-up to the recently published Construction Manager BIM annual survey”, which pinpoints distinct barriers to adoption in the UK market.
While Britain has long been considered a pioneer in BIM technology, with projects such as the Heathrow Airport reconstruction, it seems that Russia is catching up. Even though its first BIM projects only appeared in 2014, PlanRadar says that the country “is on a steep upward trajectory”. According to the research, no other European country has adopted so many laws on standardisation and the mandatory implementation of BIM in the construction industry.
“Russia is arguably the most eagle-eyed nation for compliance and harnessing advanced BIM tech to drive efficiencies”, the company said.
Germany’s BIM adoption is also rapidly increasing as its government invests in BIM standardisation, skills training, and support for BIM projects, in line with its vision for the future digitalisation of the German construction sector.
PlanRadar research summary
As part of its research into the adoption of Building Information Modelling, PlanRadar has summarised each country. According to the company, here are the summaries for the UK, Germany, Russia, and France.
- The UK has the highest number of construction companies using BIM at level 2 and beyond.
- It remains the leader in the earliest use and implementation of BIM in construction projects.
- Since 2016 all state-funded projects must use at least BIM level 2, and this has led to a surge in awareness and use of BIM in the last decade. For private projects, BIM usage is advised but not mandatory.
- Currently, only 62% of small businesses in the UK actively use BIM, compared to 80% of large businesses.
- Approximately 70% of German construction companies use BIM at different levels. However, the majority are architects and design companies, making use of BIM in the design phase rather than construction and operation.
- Since 2017, BIM has been mandatory for projects worth over €100 million. And from 31st December 2020, BIM became mandatory for all public contracts relating to the building of federal infrastructure.
- BIM technology is used by very large property developers and construction companies that operate in the largest cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Ufa, Yekaterinburg.
- When it comes to legislation standardising and mandating BIM, Russia is the clear leader, and today there are 15 national standards (GOSTs) and eight sets of rules for information modelling in the country.
- From March 2022, all government projects are required to use BIM technology, and further legislation is in the pipeline.
- France does not yet have a single BIM standard enshrined in law or regulation, yet 35% of developers in France use BIM for their real estate projects.
- In addition, 50 to 60% of the leaders in the French construction market have switched to BIM, with level 2 as the most common maturity level.
- At the end of 2018, BIM Plan 2022 was launched to encourage construction participants to integrate it into their workflows. Still, construction companies have struggled to agree since there is no single approved BIM standard.
The research report concluded that the adoption of BIM is yet to reach its full potential in Europe. While the UK is currently the leader, countries such as Russia and Germany are evidently forging a clear path and have goals surrounding skills and legal frameworks. PlanRadar says that next year’s European BIM ranking “could paint a very different picture”.