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Is the rail sector at a crossroad with BIM?

State of the nation

With UK Government mandate for Level 2 BIM implemented on all centrally-procured infrastructure projects already enforced from April 2016, the rail industry is at a crossroads with BIM.

UK rail receives massive annual investment by UK plc and BIM is seen as an essential capability to deliver that safely and efficiently.

Whilst there is talk of BIM among Network Rail and TfL - two of the most recognised entities in UK rail, there is still a lot more efficiency from BIM that can be gained.

A closer look at BIM4Rail

Wednesday 7th December 2016 saw the launch of BIM4Rail - a dedicated group of UK rail experts who are passionate about making BIM real and ‘business-as-usual’ using best practice, cross industry alignment and innovation for the benefit of everyone in UK Rail.

Why now?

UK Rail is seeing big challenges in the way rail infrastructure is being monitored, maintained, built and decomissioned. BIM is seen as a way to digitise railway assets for:

  • Greater design accuracy

  • Project team integration

  • Risk mitigation through cutting waste

  • Improvement of project programme deadlines

  • Betterment of whole-lifecycle asset performance.

Is it realistic?

The BIMstitute ( - a leading voice on BIM, recognises the complexity of the rail sector and the struggle with information management across operations, project delivery and asset management, the latter which is arguably the area which will gain the most benefit from best practice in BIM.

Of particular importance to the UK rail industry, and as highlighted in a recent survey posted by BIM4Rail, are subjects regarding LoD (Level of Detail), asset classification (Uniclass2015), digital libraries and EIR (Employers Information Requirements)/AIR (Asset Information Requirements).

Network Rail for example is currently operating at BIM Level 1 and suffers from a range of inefficiencies due to lack of BIM standards and also the scale of the change. This is because BIM is a process and has to be embedded through behaviour to ensure a robust adoption.


The BIMstitute is keenly involved with BIM4Rail and its progress. The utopia of BIM within rail will only be achieved together to solve delivery problems, drive inefficiencies in railway infrastructure performance and improve health and safety through creation and implementation of BIM rail standards.

Meet the team

Come see us on Stand 232 at the National Infrastructure Forum on Tuesday 13th of June 2017. Get your free ticket at

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