• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of 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).

  • Programme: SBRI

  • Award: Up to £1.5m

  • Opens: 10 Feb 2014, 00:00

  • Registration closes: 12 Mar 2014, 12:30

  • Closes: 19 Mar 2014, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

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A digital tool for building information modelling

Competition results

The results of this competition are now available; see the PDF for  



The Technology Strategy Board is to invest 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).
We are running this SBRI competition in partnership with the BIM Task Group and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)
As a process, BIM involves the sharing of three-dimensional data by all those responsible for the design, construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure in the built environment. 
This competition will bring together the construction, digital and high- powered computing communities.
A free-to-use tool has the potential to transform the procurement of buildings and infrastructure, and not just in home markets. It will place the UK in a global leadership position and provide overseas growth opportunities. 
SBRI competitions are open to all organisations that can demonstrate a route to market for their solution.
In phase 1, up to £50k is available for feasibility studies of up to six weeks. In phase 2, a single participant from phase 1 may receive up to £1m for a six-month project of further development. In both phases, successful applicants will receive development contracts funded at 100%. 
We will award development contracts to a single organisation. We are encouraging applicants to collaborate with other organisations, on a sub-contractor basis, to enhance their solution. It is the responsibility of the main contractor to manage sub-contractors.
The competition opens on 10 February 2014. The deadline for registration is at noon on 12 March 2014 and the deadline for applications is at noon on 19 March 2014


BIM is a game-changer. It is a standardised way of working in which 3D data is stored and shared between parties throughout the design, construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure in the built environment. 
BIM will disrupt current construction procurement and will help the sector become more industrialised. It has the potential to revolutionise collaborations between supply chain partners, unlock new business models, reduce costs, speed up delivery times, increase efficiency, cut waste, and deliver buildings that are ‘right first time'. 
It can modernise the construction sector in the same way that effective data exchange and collaborative supply chains have revolutionised the automotive and aerospace sectors over the past two decades.
It is estimated that the UK market for BIM-related services will be an annual £30bn by 2020. In a global context, UK-based firms already export £7bn of architectural and engineering services. Taking a global leadership position in developing BIM will provide strong potential for further export growth. 
The UK is in a global race to develop an open standard and supporting tools for adopting BIM. The UK's BIM Strategy is a world-leading programme of work to transform the procurement of buildings and infrastructure for the digital era (http://www.fiatech.org/about/ news/1143-uk-government-uk- construction-industry-receive-porter-award-fiatech-s-highest-honor). 
In 2011, the UK government partnered with the construction industry in setting up the BIM Task Group. It has adopted a three-level approach and the goal is for all centrally-funded public procurement to be delivered using Level 2 BIM – where organisations share data using common information management standards – by 2016 (visit www.bimtaskgroup.org for more information on the task group and BIM levels). This is expected to accelerate the adoption of BIM for non-government procurement, and to support UK firms offering BIM services overseas. 
Developing a free-to-use digital tool in support of publicly available standards will allow the cost of storing, sharing and analysing data to be reduced. This will provide greater interoperability, allow new disruptive business models to emerge, reduce barriers to entry and allow collaboration by smaller businesses. It will also allow UK firms to gain a first-mover advantage in overseas markets. 


This competition is for the development of a free-to-use digital BIM tool that can capture, validate and store information based on the publicly available Level 2 BIM standards. 
Level 2 BIM has seven components, as defined by the BIM Task Group. Of these, five have been completed or are nearing completion. These are mainly concerned with developing PAS 1192 documentation (publicly available specifications). 
The two outstanding components needing to be implemented in an innovative, digital tool are: 
  • a digital plan of works. The plan of works organises the progress of designing, constructing, maintaining and operating built environment assets. It has recently been updated to cover infrastructure projects but now needs to be digitised. To do this will require digital delivery definitions for up to 3,000 construction elements at each of the delivery stages throughout the life of a built environment asset. 
  • a classification system. A standardised classification system has been developed by the industry advisory group on best practice in this area, the Construction Project Information Committee, to ensure that data is structured and accessible in a common format. The classification system needs to be digitally-enabled, so that it integrates with the plan of works. This would include digital services such as robust data validation, extensive search, analytics and modelling capabilities. 
The scope is to produce a free-to- use digital tool that reflects the new digital plan of works, encompasses the publicly available PAS 1192 standards and uses the Construction Project Information Committee's classification system to structure the data storage. 
This competition will bring together the construction, digital and high-powered computing communities. Ease of use will be critical in driving take-up in the UK and internationally, as will the ability to access data from different locations, including offices, construction sites and via mobile devices. The tool will need to display a high degree of accuracy and resilience, as well as rapid system response times. Ultimately, the tool needs to add tangible value to all stakeholders. 
A more detailed functional specification for the tool will be developed through a series of workshops and industry consultations during January and February 2014, which all applicants and industry stakeholders are encouraged to attend. 
The functional specification will be available when the competition opens on 10 February 2014. It will document the scope of work and required outcomes, but not specify how these should be delivered. Applicants will need to demonstrate the following: 
  • an overarching architecture for the digital tool 
  • multi-mode methods for data exchange and validation, including with proprietary tools; this may be in the form of plug-ins, web services and manual methods 
  • integration with PAS 1192 standards 
  • approaches to providing help and guidance to users of the tool and any other stakeholders 
  • method of ensuring that intellectual property is protected, while enabling the sharing of information 
  • mapping strategies for third party classification systems, such as the Civil Engineering Standard Method of Measurement and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' New Rules of Assessment 
  • workflow and data validation strategies. 

Go to _connect to find out more about this competition and associated events and to find other partners and stakeholders. 

In addition to the functional specification, applicants will be expected to consider approaches to the broader commercial and exploitation strategies, including: 
  • how the tool will sit within existing and future industry workflows 
  • a communications strategy to drive take-up across the construction supply chain for UK competitive advantage 
  • an international strategy to provide the UK with a first-mover advantage in export markets 
  • a sustainable business plan that allows the tool to be ‘free to use' while generating income from other sources, to support a minimum five-year improvement, maintenance and support strategy 
  • a clear path to Level 3 BIM. 

How the competition works

The BIM Task Group will nominate a project manager to act as a key point of contact during the delivery of phase 1 and phase 2 procurement contracts. This project manager will be available to help participants ensure that their proposed solution(s) meets the desired outcomes and aligns with the UK's overall strategy. 
For the phase 1 feasibility studies, we expect participants to propose innovative solutions and to produce a summary report. The feasibility study will include initial designs based on the bullet points above and in response to the functional specification. 
All phase 2 applicants will be invited to an interview. The selection process will be based on the phase 2 applications, the phase 1 reports and the interviews. There will be only one phase 2 winner, who will develop and implement the digital tool. 
The phase 2 solution will be procured through a single organisation. That said, it is likely they will deliver the contract in collaboration with specialist sub-contractors with expertise in particular areas.
The phase 2 winner will retain the intellectual property generated during this competition. They will also need to demonstrate how they will make the tool freely available – at least for UK users – and how they will support its continuous development and support for at least five years. 
As part of making the digital tool ‘free to use' the phase 2 winner will be required to work with the BIM Task Group to document the final two components within the Level 2 BIM standards. 

SBRI and funding allocation

The SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) programme uses the power of government procurement to drive innovation. It provides opportunities for innovative companies to engage with the public sector to solve specific problems. 
The public sector is able to find innovative solutions by reaching out to organisations from different sectors, including small and emerging businesses. New technical solutions are created through accelerated technology development, while risk is reduced through a phased development programme. SBRI also provides applicants with a transparent, competitive process and a reliable source of early-stage funding.
SBRI competitions are open to all organisations that can demonstrate a route to market for their solution. The SBRI scheme is particularly suited to small and medium-sized business, as the contracts are of relatively small value and operate on short timescales. Developments are 100% funded and focus on specific needs, increasing the chance of exploitation. 
Suppliers for each project will be selected by an open competition process and retain the intellectual property generated from the project, with certain rights of use retained by the contracting authority. 
We will invest up to £50k in phase 1 projects that meet the challenge outlined in the scope. Phase 1 projects should last up to six weeks. In phase 2, up to £1m of further investment may be available to successful phase 1 projects (see the Guidance for Applicants for further information). Contract sums will be inclusive of VAT. 

Application process

This competition opens for applicants on 10 February 2014. The deadline for registration is noon on 12 March 2014, and the deadline for applications is at noon on 19 March 2014. Contracts will be issued by 2 May 2014
Further details about this competition can be found on _connect at https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/process-efficiency/bim.

Further Information

To apply you must first register with us through the competition page on the website. Registration opens when the competition opens and closes a week before the deadline for applications.
For more information about SBRI see www.innovateuk.org/-/sbri 

Key dates

Phase 1

  • Phase 1 competition opens: 10 February 2014
  • Phase 1 registration deadline: 12 March 2014 noon
  • Phase 1 deadline for applications: 19 March 2014 noon
  • Phase 1 contracts awarded: 2 May 2014
  • Phase 1 projects complete: 30 June 2014
  • Phase 1 report submission: 11 July 2014

Phase 2

  • Phase 2 competition opens: 7 July 2014
  • Phase 2 deadline for applications: 30 July 2014 noon
  • Phase 2 interviews: 4 September 2014
  • Phase 2 contract awarded: 26 September 2014
Note: All deadlines are at noon.


As part of the application process, all applicants are asked to submit a public description of the project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive. 
The titles of successful projects, names of organisations, amounts awarded and the public description will be published once the decision to offer an award has been communicated to applicants by email. Information about unsuccessful project applications will remain confidential and will not be made public. 
E-mail pressoffice@tsb.gov.uk with any queries.