BIM4Water: a sprint through Uniclass

Women in BIM (WIB) recently attended a BIM4Water event in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: A sprint through Uniclass for the Water Sector and the International Digital Maturity Assessment

This sprint represented a time to fast-track digital transformation and cataloguing performance to date. The event was a true sprint through Uniclass and associated guidance documents. It was also an opportunity for attendees to have their say in influencing and developing the water sector’s digital maturity assessment, which will be a global capture of digital adoption to date across the sector.

Dr Melanie Robinson, WIB Regional Lead for Newcastle upon Tyne, and Senior Digital Consultant at BIM Academy, represented WIB at the event, with BIM Academy providing the opening keynote, discussing the future of digital in the built environment as a whole.

This was followed by Clare Taylor, BIM4Water Chair and National Rehearsal Lead at MWH Treatment, who looked at what is in store for BIM4Water in 2023.

After Clare’s talk, the first half of the event was dedicated to understanding the importance of standardisation within the water sector: first by highlighting the disparity between UK water companies and their current naming conventions, then by how standardisation across multiple water companies has brought benefits and ease of communication. This was highlighted in the launch of the “A Water Industry Guide for the Management of Asset Data using Uniclass”, a piece of researched authored by BIM4Water in collaboration with WSAA (Water Services Association of Australia) and NBS.

The conversation led to “standardisation” and how the BIM4Water group is championing Uniclass with a live walk-through demo by Martin Hunt and Sarah Delany of NBS. It was suggested that if water companies don’t have standardised naming conventions they should adopt Uniclass and, if they do already have conventions in place, they should plan to start using Uniclass. 

The second half of the event went on to discuss the digital maturity of the water sector and the aspirations of the BIM4Water group to measure maturity of each organisation and its various elements. Questions such as Which subject areas will provide the most value? and How do we want to measure the results? were asked.  This led to a lively debate on what topics should be covered, and whether it should be tailored to particular professions and how to incentivise maximum participation. Whilst no actual conclusion was reached, it was unanimous that everyone needs to be involved for true collaboration to be achieved. 

The event concluded with Simon Grant, an Information Manager from United Utilities, leading the attendees through their digitalisation journey and how they are beginning to shape their future aspiration for increased BIM adoption and digital maturity. 

Many areas were covered on how Uniclass can be used to support the digital growth of the water sector, with key takeaways being the need for improved classification, greater collaboration and information management processes, using data to unlock the digital future of the sector. 

This event can be watched on demand any time here: