Digital pioneers secure £250k funding for construction industry ‘game changer’

A Hull firm aiming to revolutionise the construction industry through the use of digital technology has raised £250,000 to bring its smart building software to market.

Bimsense
Nigel Hedley, Chair of Bimsense, Ian Yeo, Chief Executive of Bimsense, Maurice Disai, Investment Associate at Mercia, Tim Mutlow, Chief Technology Officer at Bimsense, and Scott Pilgrim, Chief Product Officer at Bimsense. Photo: Shaun Flannery Photography.

Ian Yeo and Scott Pilgrim launched Bimsense four years ago after becoming frustrated by the traditional approach to building design, construction and management. 

The consultancy, based at the the city’s Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub, has advised on major developments throughout the UK and internationally and has now developed its own operations and maintenance software, called Operance.

The funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Asset Management, will allow it to commercialise the system and create 10 new jobs over the next two years.

Bimsense specialises in building information modelling (BIM), which allows construction projects to be created digitally before they are built to address issues normally identified on site or after completion. This helps save time and money, improve quality and reduce potential safety risks. The data it provides also enables building owners to operate and maintain the building efficiently over the long-term.

BIM is widely accepted as the best way to achieve the government’s aim of reducing construction and operating costs by a third, and is in line with the Grenfell Tower report’s recommendation to create a digital lifecycle record. Operance helps meet this challenge by creating a ‘golden thread’ digital audit trail covering the entire history of facilities, enabling better-decision making and increased accountability.

Ian Yeo, Chief Executive of Bimsense, said: “We’re delighted and excited to secure this investment to deliver our long-term ambition of digitising and ‘humanising’ building information to help create safer, healthier places for people to live, work and spend their leisure time. 

“We know the devastating effects that poor, mismanaged information and ill-informed decisions can have on people’s lives. This funding helps us to tackle these issues, by enabling project teams to develop better quality information for end-users to access in a really easy, user-friendly way.”

Maurice Disai, Investment Associate at Mercia said: “Although construction and property management is the fourth biggest contributor to GDP (gross domestic product), it is one of the least digitised sectors. The Operance system could have a huge impact in terms of reducing costs and improving safety and quality of life for building users.

“The proof of concept version of this software has already generated a great deal of interest within the industry by showing the cost and performance benefits of using a digital building information platform. The funding will allow Bimsense to further enhance the product and bring it to market.”

Stephen Parnaby OBE, Chair of the Humber LEP, said: “We are delighted to see another Humber business benefit from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, which continues to bring vital finance to the region’s businesses. 

“This funding will not only create additional local employment and opportunities within the supply chain, but will also help many other construction companies through its innovative software.”

The NPIF project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

[Rick Lyon – Meehan Media & Comms]