Jill Guthrie

Jill is our digital expert for the North, including our use of BIM

Jill is our Digital Manager for the North, and both non-exec director and national co-chair for the BIM Regions and the UK BIM Alliance Communities group.

Now responsible for digital strategy and implementation across the leading independent construction company, Jill’s career spans 15 years in both the UK and Australia, and across sectors ranging from architecture to BIM consultancy.

Willmott Dixon was the first to achieve company-wide BRE Global BIM Level 2 Certification across its entire construction, residential and interiors businesses.

Jill leads a team of digital engineers, and is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and driving effective and efficient digital adoption across the industry. Here Jill reflects on our BIM approach:

What has makes Willmott Dixon stand out in the use of BIM?

While many contractors use BIM on projects, Willmott Dixon made a commitment to the uptake of digital construction across all construction and interior fit-out projects. As a result, by 2018, 75 projects were at BIM Level 2, either complete, on site or at the pre-construction phase.

Notable projects which have benefited from BIM include the Met Office in Exeter, Birmingham City University phases 2 and 2A, the iMET Building for Huntingdon College, HS2 training colleges at Doncaster and Birmingham, the Schuster extension for Manchester University and refurbishing 39 Victoria Street in London as the Department of Health’s new HQ.

We’ve demanding targets for ourselves. By 2020 we want 95 percent of all projects we deliver through Scape Group’s National Construction Framework to be BIM Level 2 and 55 percent of all other projects to be at BIM Level 2.

To assist wider adoption, we designed and developed a bespoke e-learning programme called miLearning which we offer free to our supply chain and our customers. In 2017, 1,370 people completed the elearning BIM awareness programme; 25 percent of those were supply chain members and 2 percent were customers. This tool also helps us to map BIM awareness levels. [INSERT GRAPH]

Taking that investment further, we are now training 100 percent of our Category A and B supply chain members to adopt BIM by 2020 and measuring their level of competence through a Supply Chain Capability Assessment. Last year, we launched a tailored workshop programme for our suppliers which uses a ‘speed dating’ format to brief attendees on BIM and its potential benefits. All our regional offices have already trained a significant proportion (between 25 percent and 67 percent) of category A supply chain firms.

Do you have specific examples of how you have embedded BIM?

In 2015 we kick-started the quick adoption of BIM by mandating its use on all the projects we deliver through the Scape framework. Three of our five regional offices have set themselves even higher goals by mandating it for all projects.

Digital construction has a strong voice at the board table with a director from each regional office responsible for digital technology. Each office has a digital team which supports colleagues, customers and the supply chain.

Over the past two years our delivery teams and supply chain have developed competency in working digitally. For example, compatibility was initially a problem when we shared our models through IFCs. Today, we are better at recognising what a good model looks like and we have seen an increase in good modelling from our design consortia. We audit our designers on the quality of their models.

Ultimately better modelling means more robust clash detection, better 2D drawings, fewer problems on site and a higher quality build. Comparing our national high-speed rail college projects which used BIM with two similar projects delivered traditionally, we raised 60 percent fewer RFIs (requests for information). Improved efficiency means that on average, we are delivering BIM projects 0.4 weeks per £100,000 turnover faster than their non-BIM counterparts.

BIM is helping customers communicate better with their stakeholders. For example, at Menai Science Park, the occupancy rate at handover was 30 percent, twice the target rate. Pryderu ap Rhisiart, the park’s project manager said: “It’s proved to be a valuable selling tool with tenants being able to see their offices and labs come alive.”

We can already report significant savings for buildings in operation thanks to the information BIM delivers. For example, the Met Office in Exeter is using the data we provided to bulk buy lightbulbs for all their buildings.