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Sandwell Council and BIMwm lead the way with BIM for house building

Sandwell Council and its partner organisation BIMwm are leading the way with applying emerging BIM (building information modelling) technology to design, procure for, construct and manage residential developments.

The Oxford Road development in West Bromwich is a new £9.6m council housing scheme. It is Sandwell’s first residential project to be completed since the UK government’s BIM mandate came into force in April 2016.

Now Sandwell Council has revealed how Oxford Road will look, using 3D virtual models and BIM methods to digitally market the properties to new tenants.

Combining modern housing, apartments and bungalows, Oxford Road (and the processes involved in completing it) enhances the Sandwell Council's growing reputation as a BIM innovator. Level 2 BIM criteria was applied through the procurement, design, construction and asset management processes of this exemplary scheme.

"Sandwell Council’s pioneering approach to housing management is even more impressive because BIM uptake has so far lagged behind in the residential sector, with house builders often waiting for their own supply chains to demonstrate BIM knowledge rather than take the initiative," said Steve Massey, Supply Chain Development & Local Procurement Coordinator.

Oxford Road offers contemporary houses, apartments and bungalows – 93 new homes in total. The first tenants will move in when the development has been completed in early 2018. Adults with support needs are being given priority when allocating homes on the development, enabling people with disabilities to benefit from a council tenancy in accessible, secure accommodation.

Incorporated into the development for Oxford Road are small retail outlets including a hairdressers and restaurant, with local transport and bus links to West Bromwich town centre opposite. Lodge Road metro stop is a two-minute walk away, providing residents with convenient access to trams to Birmingham, Wolverhampton and the soon-to-be constructed Brierley Hill line. You can take a virtual tour of the Oxford Road Development here.

BIMwm is an award-winning cross-region framework put together by the three regional growth hubs – Black Country, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, and Coventry and Warwickshire. It is designed to help the West Midlands supply chain acquire the technology, software and workforce skills needed to become BIM-proficient in digital engineering.

Sandwell Council’s urban design team worked with BIMwm from the pre-tender stage of this project. The BIMwm team shared knowledge of BIM data creation and conceptual design support to create BIM specifications.

BIMwm also collaborated with the main contractor and housing developer, Keepmoat, to stage a valuable BIM Awareness workshop themed around the BIM standards, assessments and credentials needed for prospective supply chain partners to become involved in the project.

BIMwm representatives teamed up with Keepmoat’s BIM experts to share their BIM roadmaps, lessons learned, essential BIM deliverables, work-winning opportunities, supply chain expectations, new technology challenges faced and pitfalls to avoid.

If you think your business could benefit from BIMwm’s expertise, support or digital engineering advice please email or call 01902 321272.

Main image caption: Oxford Road - modern contemporary housing, apartments and bungalows.

3D Digital Representation of the Oxford Road Housing Development in West Bromwich.

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