Small and medium-sized firms in the City Region have been told to “get up to speed or kiss major contracts goodbye.”
That was the message from speakers at a seminar in Sheffield on a new government initiative that has implications for businesses throughout construction industry supply chains.
The initiative centres around Building Information Modelling – or BIM – a technique designed to define and manage every aspect of a project from specification and design to completion.
BIM aims to reduce project time scales and costs by ensure information is shared across the entire supply chain, including, conceivably product suppliers.
Speaking at the launch in Sheffield of a drive to engage small and medium sized companies in the process, Martin McKervey, construction partner at the Victoria Quays office of lawyers Nabarro, warned SMEs risked missing out on lucrative contracts.
Mr McKervey told attendees at the event in Electric Works: “If SMEs fail to get up to speed they can kiss goodbye to these major contracts as they will go to manufacturers and suppliers from outside the region who can show BIM compliance.
“The region’s manufacturers – whether they are steel companies, glaziers, road stone suppliers or whatever – must get onboard now, to demonstrate their ability and commitment to playing a full part in the supply chain of the country’s largest projects in the most closely-managed way.”
Mr McKervey’s warning was echoed by Mike Tynan, chief executive of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
He said: “SMEs must engage more quickly and more firmly if they are to become serious supply chain players in the larger infrastructure projects.
“It is vital for SMEs to get onboard at the early stages of this project in order to understand – and benefit from – the new thinking in procurement and supply chain management.”
One in 25 projects currently demand contractors are BIM compliant, but that is expected to rise to more than half by 2016, with a total value of more than £55 billion.