Last edited 04 Dec 2020

Digital plan of work competition

For more information about the BIM toolkit - see BIM toolkit.

The idea for creating a digital plan of work (DPow) originated with the BIM Task Group, a group supported by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to bring together expertise from industry, government, institutes and academia to strengthen the public sector’s capability at building information modelling (BIM). The digital plan of work is intended to support the government objective to require Level 2 BIM on all centrally-procured public projects as a minimum by 2016.

In February 2014, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) published a brief for a two-stage Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition for ‘A digital tool for building information modelling’. The competition was for ‘…up to £1.5m to support the development of a free-to-use digital tool that can exploit the standards being made publicly available for building information modelling (BIM).’

In September 2014, the contract was awarded to a team led by NBS, a subsidiary of RIBA Enterprises Ltd, responsible for the National Building Specification. The team also included; BIM Academy, BDP, Laing O’Rourke, Microsoft and Newcastle University.

NBS described their proposal as a ‘BIM toolkit’, including ‘…a digital plan of work and a classification system which incorporates definitions for over 5,000 construction objects at each of the delivery stages throughout the life of a built environment asset.’ The classification system involves completion of Uniclass 2, a voluntary classification system for the construction industry that can be used for organising information in the design and construction process.

The toolkit is intended to ‘…capture, validate and store information based on the level 2 BIM standards’, defining and testing the BIM data required at each stage of development of building and infrastructure projects. It provides guidance on the level of development (level of detail and level of information ) for different stages of projects, a classification system for information and a project-specific digital plan of work.

A series of working prototypes were then created that include a cloud computing capability and a verification tool. These use the xBIM toolkit to import and export the digital plan of work in either IFC or COBie format and to verify that the information that is required has been provided by those allocated responsibility for it.


Richard Waterhouse, Chief Executive, RIBA Enterprises said, “It is essential that we gain cross-industry support and input on this project if it is to be a success. We already have the backing of key organisations such as CIBSE, CIOB, ICE, IStructE, RIBA and RICS and we will be extending and widening this dialogue over the coming months.”

David Philp, Head of BIM, UK BIM Task Group said, “The completion of the Digital Plan of Works (DPow) and Classification System will not only complete the level 2 BIM suite but help drive the take-up of BIM, support exploitation of the standards and ensure that the UK remains at the vanguard of a digital transformation in the built environment.”

The project started in October 2014, and the nbs BIM toolkit public beta went live on 8 April 2015.

For more information see BIM toolkit.

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