At our first General Assembly (GA), attended by over 300 public sector and multilateral representatives from 71 countries, stakeholders from the European region participated as representatives of their country and as part of the EU BIM Task Group, a pan-European collaboration of public sector organisations encompassing 21 countries.
European representatives are part of the Global BIM Network’s Steering Committee, alongside Latin America, Asia, North America and Australia. Jaroslav Nechyba, Director of BIM Strategy Department Czech Agency for Standardization, who was among the GA’s speakers, recognised the impact of the Network: “The Global BIM Network has been a valuable source for building self-confidence for myself and my colleagues. Other countries have different strategies and approaches, and are all at different stages. We can be inspired by those who are further ahead of us, and we can give back to those who are slightly behind us by sharing our own experience.”
The GA’s first session on the cost-benefits of Information Management showcased the resources developed by the EU BIM Task Group. Milena Feustel, Co-Chair, EU BIM Task Group, gave a detailed overview of the cost-benefit analysis (CBA) for the use of BIM in public construction projects. The CBA includes a tool to measure BIM’s costs and benefits, six case studies of public projects and a handbook for EU public entities. The Handbook for the Introduction of Building Information Modelling by the European Public Sector was funded by the European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG-GROW) and the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
In a subsequent GA’s session, Government and Industry: Working together to drive benefits for people and places, Fergus Harradence, Deputy Director, BEIS, presented an overview of the UK Government’s strategy for BIM. He explained how the UK’s efforts have been embedded into a wider technology programme to improve the built environment, developing innovative digital and manufacturing technologies, and supporting the National Digital Twin project. He also mentioned the climate resilience demonstrator (CReDO), which brings together energy, water and telecoms sectors to explore how information sharing and interoperability can boost infrastructure’s climate adaptability and resilience.
Supporting the net-zero agenda is paramount for the European region. Milena Feustel highlighted the importance of the CBA tool for the transition to a green economy. She explained: “The CBA tool currently includes CO2 emissions and health and safety indicators, and it could be beneficial to use additional indicators such as adaptation and resilience to climate change.”
Our Information Collection currently holds 89 items for the European region, with more to be published. 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, with the United Kingdom offering guidance on BS EN ISO 19650, which is part of national and international standards that support information management processes and innovation within the construction industry. Within the standards, BIM is key to significant improvements in delivery and performance efficiencies. These go beyond the construction stage into operations and maintenance of built assets, with the aim of achieving positive social and environmental outcomes.
To achieve these positive outcomes, cooperation between private and public sectors is crucial, as indicated by Jaroslav Nechyba, Director of BIM Strategy Department Czech Agency for Standardization, who said: “When we talk about information management, there needs to be cooperation between the public and private sectors in developing the digital processes and communications required. There needs to be trust and cooperation between the two sectors – it will be key to the future success of BIM.”
Other resources in the Collection include websites of private and public organisations championing BIM (including chambers of commerce), reports highlighting the benefits to people and society, training courses, information on national building permits, national pilot projects, legislation, digital transformation plans for infrastructure, contract templates and information repositories.
The BIM 2022 plan, developed by France, is a pioneer within continental Europe. It was implemented in 2019 to integrate mass digital use, focussing on two key goals: generalise the use of BIM in buildings throughout all sectors and provide professionals with the tools to work within the framework.
Germany has also been championing BIM for a number of years. In 2016, the BIM4INFRA2020 working group was commissioned by the former Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure to foster BIM implementation by providing guidelines, templates and BIM user cases, boosted by the development of a uniform database concept and a BIM library.
European countries currently represented in the Information Collection include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom. Resources from existing and additional countries, such as Croatia, will be uploaded in the coming weeks.