First hand accounts on BIM implementation

FIRST HAND ACCOUNTS: BIM Implementation levels in Portugal, Italy, Spain and Ukraine.

Although the UK was not the first adopter of BIM, it has certainly become a world leader in the implementation of BIM due to its well-structured and managed BIM action plan. As the world is now certain that mobilization has to happen in order to achieve a one-in-a-lifetime grand industrial transformation, many countries are still at the very beginning of developing and deploying their own BIM strategies. Looking at how Europe is doing with BIM we see that there is a lot of movement going on. Spain’s provisional timetable for mandatory BIM implementation on public sector projects is now a reality, where a public sector BIM mandate is expected by March 2018. In France the gradual adoption of BIM has already began with the set goal of having 2017 to be the year when BIM is expected to streamline all public sector projects. In Germany the government is playing a big role in promoting the BIM philosophy aiming to get the community look past the implementation of BIM on all infrastructure projects by 2020 and forward to potential BIM mandate in building construction.

This apparent trend and the undeniable fact, that BIM really helps us build better buildings than ever before, are sufficient enough ingredients to form a strong new professional community that is here to stay. Having some of the most progressive construction professionals on board, the BIM community continues to grow like a weed, incorporating passion, knowledge and innovation into one highly potent mixture. The following quotes were collected from eager BIM professionals across Europe in order to give us a look at their first-hand experience with BIM implementation. Below you will find a selection of some of the most interesting accounts we have come across while doing our pan-European research of BIM adoption levels. Great thanks to all the respondents!

What is the BIM implementation level in Portugal?

“BIM in Portugal is still very embryonic. There are a few major contractors that are exploring the BIM adventure, but not on Portuguese soil. The Portuguese companies that are working with BIM sell their services to other countries like Brazil and countries in the Middle East. Basically, we still work on paper and very traditionally. Even when it comes to academia, I think universities are not committed yet. What the reader might find useful is this link to the Portuguese BIM organization and our committee for BIM implementation.

Inês Rodrigues, BIM professional in Portugal

BIM implementation in Italy?

“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about BIM in my country. For me BIM is a design process that uses a 3D model as a database of information. BIM forces you to collaborate and that has brought a great revolution especially into the Italian AEC industry that traditionally consists of little professional groups working on their own.

Right now I’m at a conference that starts with the slide: ‘What is BIM?’. This fact explains the level of BIM implementation in the Italian AEC industry – it is in the very beginning, but gaining traction very fast. However, in Italy there are some examples of high level adoption on pilot BIM projects, too. Let us mention projects like the Italian Pavilion of EXPO 2015, the New ENI headquarters, the restoration of the opera house in Milan, the Fiumicino Rome airport expansion, the new factory Bulgari Gioielli SPA, just to name a few. Another strange thing is that in Italy there are architectural firms that work with BIM, but they have mainly projects outside Italy, e.g. Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners.

However, a major update was announced on January 27, namely the introduction of a BIM mandate coming into effect on October 18, 2016 and applying to public works above € 5 225 000. Italy aligns itself with the UK without a Road Map to BIM Level 2. We are so excited to see how this BIM story will evolve and most of our efforts are towards educating the industry.”

Giacomo Bergonzoni, BIM professional in Italy

Implementation of BIM in Catalonia

“BIM for me is, above all, a collaborative ‘methodology’ based on a digital model and database shared among the stakeholders during the building life cycle. 

In my case we work based in Barcelona (Catalonia), in the North-East of Spain. BIM adoption is in our community still in the very beginning (Level 0). In February 2015, a BIM mandate was agreed in Catalonia, to establish a time frame with different goals to achieve before 2020. And a Comission was created called ‘Construim el Futur’ (‘We build the future’) lead by ITEC, as a big working group to implement BIM in Catalonia. 

Moreover, just a few months ago, in Madrid was created a similar procedure called BIM commission, to drive the BIM adoption in the whole country. 

The thing is that in Spain the construction culture is powerful, and the technical knowledge is appreciated by the rest of the world. But our weakness are our planning habits. We need to become more efficient and learn how to work in a team with the rest of the stakeholders. In that matter I think the Anglo-Saxon culture has advantages, but on the other hand they have also weaknesses in terms of the technical know-how. So, we have things to learn about each other.

To sum up, we have a very long way to go and a lot of new opportunities are waiting for us. However, we are still recovering from the 2007 crisis, which massivly crashed our economy. 

Right now we have to focus on ‘Horizon 2020′, the EU framework programme for research and innovation, that forces us to improve strongly our building politics in order to achieve goals related to sustainability. So, let’s BIM to get it!”

David Delgado Vendrell, BIM professional in Catalonia

The implementation of BIM in Ukraine

“For me, BIM is not a single technology, not a software and not even modelling. It’s already a part of the reality and a part of the daily work. It’s an entire complex, beginning with a common organization and optimization of the design process and ending with a model full of data as well as its processing, extracting and transferring onto construction site.

Since this year we’re noticing that the interest in BIM is significantly growing, but the general implementation level within the entire country is quite low. The exception are companies, which are trying to optimize and improve the design quality, developing complex and highscale projects or working with foreign customers/investors. On the other hand, the consequences of the economical crisis define new conditions in market, especially for developers, who are mostly interested in acceleration, cost optimization, reducing the expenses in the design process, construction and facility management. That attracts their attention to BIM.

In the light of the recent implementation of FTA, the convergence with EU leads to foreign players and companies entering the Ukrainian construction and design market. For most of them such technologies are not new. On the contrary, they bring a lot of experience with the implementation of BIM projects.

The companies that will not be able to match the emerging market demands related to speed, quality and efficiency, will be forced to get help from specialists. Otherwise they will risk to become absolutely incompetitive without the new technologies.

And the problem is still the lack of practical knowledge in this sphere. With the general dissemination of information about BIM, a lot of companies and specialists have no appropriate understanding about what BIM is, in what direction they should move and how to begin with the implementation of those new technologies. Not to mention the nearby complete absence of BIM programs in the education process within HEI, which obviously leads to a lack of specialists in the market.

This is the reason, why the initiative group established the BIM Council Ukraine, a small community of experienced specialists, who aim at promoting BIM and the constant exchange of knowledge and experience with the purpose to provide consulting services on BIM implementation and maintenance.”

 Denis Tokarev, BIM professional, Ukraine