Focus on Asia, North America and Oceania

Our first General Assembly (GA) was attended by over 300 public sector and multilateral representatives from 71 countries. Ngoc-Binh TA, Head of BIM Team, Institute of Construction Economics Ministry of Construction, Vietnam, represented Asia as a speaker and advocate of BIM processes. Roger Grant, Executive Director, Building Information Management at the National Institute of Building Sciences, USA, represented North America. Luke Belfield, Acting Chief Engineer, Office of Projects Victoria, Department of Treasury and Finance and Matthew Kehoe, Director, Digital Build Program, Office of Projects Victoria represented Australia.

Ngoc-Binh TA joined Adam Matthews, Chair of the Global BIM Network, and Jaroslav Nechyba, Director of BIM Strategy Department Czech Agency for Standardization, in the Steering Committee’s Conversation to discuss the value of collaboration and being part of the Network. He said: “BIM was quite new in Vietnam when we began our journey. We did not know what direction to take so being part of a wider network helped us a lot as it enabled us to consider approaches taken by other countries. We had access to representatives from other places who could offer us insights. It also helped our private sector to work internationally as we had the advantage of a young labour force who had been focussing on new digital technologies.”

Ngoc-Binh TA then explained that investing in BIM is a big commitment for the public sector and knowing how this technology is developing and being implemented in other countries can support its adoption as it gives public officials confidence in making that investment.

An overview of Australia’s Digital Build Program, an initiative of the State of Victoria, was presented in the GA’s session From BIM policy to BIM implementation: procurement practices around the world by Luke Belfield. The Program aims to stimulate a smarter projects pipeline to deliver positive outcomes for people and places. To achieve these goals, better information management and improving infrastructure productivity through data are the driving forces.

In the discussion panel, Matthew Kehoe explained how the Digital Build Program’s combination of digital assets, digital build and offsite construction could connect to the procurement process. Kehoe said: “The Digital Build Program’s use of offsite construction, prefabrication and modularisation leverages a lot of BIM processes using asset libraries and regular kit-of-parts processes.”

He then stressed that it was important to adopt the right language for projects as many BIM efforts were unsuccessful because the language was too technical and it failed to get strategic support at executive level. Kehoe concluded that private sector involvement was key to the success of the State of Victoria’s Digital Build Program as it could help the public sector in digital capability and upskilling.

Roger Grant, from the National Institute of Building Sciences, USA, agreed but cautioned that upskilling the public sector can be a tough challenge. He added that another challenge was aligning the data collected with the systems used internally so that the data could be used in construction projects.

The Global BIM Network’s Information Collection currently holds 13 items for Asia, 12 for Oceania and 4 of North America. It is a growing knowledge base, with more artefacts to be published in the coming weeks. The resources are structured under four pillars: Public leadership (BIM policy, legislation, programmes and strategy); Collaborative framework (legal, procurement, technical references, guidance and templates); Communication and communities (communities of practice, media publications and websites) and Capability and capacity building (training and case studies).

These open-access resources include strategic documents for public projects, developed by individual countries, websites of organisations championing BIM, implementation reports, technical guides, legislation, public leadership and strategic documents to progress BIM journeys in the whole built environment, including major infrastructure.

Countries from Asia, North America and Oceania currently represented in the Information Collection include Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, USA and Vietnam. Resources from additional countries in these regions will be added in the coming weeks.