BIM events in Norway: What is going on?

It is BIM season and as per usual Cobuilder experts have been migrating towards more ‘fruitful’ grounds also known as the industry’s favourite international BIM events. So what did we learn about the current state of affairs and the trends in digitalisation of the construction and infrastructure sector?

The northern way

Norway has been a partner in the development of openBIM standards and has worked with the 3D part of BIM on public projects for at least a decade, so it is no surprise that the industry is organising various events targeted at both the people currently working in the industry and the future experts.

New ideas in the old capital: ByggExpo in Bergen

Our consultants Siw Hanne and Konrad were happy to talk digitalisation at the ByggExpo.

At ByggExpo, the largest event in South-West Norway, we got an update from the industry about the level of BIM acceptance and understanding. While the openBIM standards were widely discussed,“The I in BIM”is still an elusive concept that needs to be exemplified by real scenarios in order to be understood properly. Not surprisingly, there were many engineering students at the event, and in conversation with them, we learned the following: the students are keener and faster in grasping the essence of digitalisation and data interoperability, but the educational plans offered to them have very little focus on BIM. So what are we doing for the young minds? Let’s just say that our plans to organise the first online BIM Academy in Norway were met with great enthusiasm. Stay tuned for further developments on the subject.

It all starts with the education of experts: The digital construction site at Oslo Technical School

The earlier we wake up to the realization that experts are needed already now, the sooner will the modernization of the global construction and infrastructure begin. This is the bottom line of the lectures, presented at the Kuben Vocational Arena in the Oslo Technical School. Both in the lecture hall and in the exhibition outside – Industry 4.0 with its BIG DATA, VR, AR, and optimization through automation were topics snowballing into a hype sweeping all participants into interesting futuristic discussions. Still, the lectors and participants were well aware that the level of implementation of new technologies in the industry in Norway is far from satisfactory, even though the biggest contractors are using elements of BIM for construction and FM, and though they managed to fit the entire 3D model of the renovated Oslo airport ‘in a fucking iPhone’.

Still optimism and realism met in an overall agreement that by being smart in using digitalisation and automation can enable countries with small populations, such as Norway, compete with the behemoths of manufacturing on the global market. (Find out about our role in educating BIM experts.)

Building greener and safer: Workplace Health and Safety Day in Oslo

The annual Workplace Health and Safety Day brought us the good news that chemical inventories for construction projects and worksites no longer need to be kept as paper documentation. Contractors and owners are legally allowed to have a digital library of Safety data sheets, and in fact, the NHO (Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise) in encouraging them to use software solutions such as Cobuilder Collaborate (previously ProductXchange) for collection, administration and risk assessment of information about dangerous chemical substances.

Oslo is all about digitising the AECO industry: Byggedagene and Byggegalla 2017

How important is to digitise the AECO industry in Norway? Important enough to have the Prime Minister Erna Solberg as the opening lecturer with a talk about the important social and financial benefits that digital construction is going to have. The two-day event saw a number of talks from members of Norway’s major associations, assessment bodies, clients, contractors, architect studios, engineering consultants and BIM software providers.

Øystein and Emir had the tough job of explaining the value of digital product data to the visitors at Byggedagene.

At the Cobuilder stand we were sure to bring some practical examples of the benefits pointed out in the lectures and on the panel discussion. It was great to see so many people agreeing that digital shift is not a reality yet, but is long overdue for the construction sector. Whether it is in connection to optimizing construction, safety, FM, environmental impact or cost savings, 2017 may prove to be just the right time for the huge change of mindset needed for digitising.

And what we at Cobuilder try to communicate to all the actors in the construction process is that this digital change does not mean obliteration of the old processes, but evolving them though new technology.