NPIF Equity

Prop Tech raises further £750k to help building owners meet new safety rules

A Prop Tech business that helps owners of high-rise buildings to meet strict new safety rules has raised a further £750,000 from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Ventures and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Bimsense’s platform helps companies comply with the Building Safety Act, which aims to improve safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire and is being introduced in phases since its release last year. The funding will enable the Hull-based company to add new features to its Operance platform in response to the latest measures to come into force.

The Act requires owners of ‘higher-risk buildings’ – which covers around 13,000 properties – to register them with the Building Safety Regulator and assess the safety risks. As from 1 October they also have to produce a safety case report to show how the risks will be managed, while in April 2024 further provisions come into force on the collection of building information.

Bimsense was founded seven years ago by Ian Yeo and Scott Pilgrim, who specialise in building information modelling (BIM). They launched Operance in 2020 with the help of funding from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance. The latest round, the third to date, brings the total received from the fund to over £1.8m.

Operance is now used by housing authorities such as Campden, Basildon and Harrow and construction firms including Kier, Higgins, United Living, Vermont and Rider Levett Bucknall. Bimsense increased turnover by 44% in the financial year ending in August. The company, which currently employs 22 staff, expects to create six new jobs in the year ahead.

Scott Pilgrim, Chief Product Officer at Bimsense, said: “We are excited to secure this additional funding which supports our mission to manage the world’s building information and create safe, harmonious places for everyone. Our Operance platform has been at the forefront of innovation, helping companies meet the requirements of the new building safety regime efficiently. This funding will enable us to take it to the next level.”

Maurice Disasi, Investment Manager at Mercia said: “The Building Safety Act will bring about major changes in the construction and property industry and will drive uptake of digital technology. Operance is the first platform that has been specifically designed to help firms meet the requirements of the Act. This latest funding will enable the company to add new features and expand its presence in an industry that is ripe for change.”

Debbie Sorby, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “This investment exemplifies the impact the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has in supporting the strengthening of communities and bettering the lives of people across the country. Bimsense is an excellent example of a company working to ensure that modern technologies exist to help make industries more efficient, especially where keeping on top of regulations is key. I look forward to seeing the team grow as Bimsense continues to set an example for the wider construction industry.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund 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.