A phased approach to national BIM adoption

strategic framework 2I have started to think about how countries might develop national public sector BIM programmes.

Starting at the bottom of the diagram (right) and moving clockwise, my thesis is that successful BIM programmes require a strong foundation of public leadership and support. In the UK in 2011, for example, the UK Government make BIM a key part of its construction strategy, and set a target for the first phase of adoption of BIM.

This in turn led to the growth of various BIM interest groups. Existing industry stakeholders – professional institutions, trade organisations, industry confederations, and other groups representing both pan-industry interests and vertical industry sectors – began to build BIM-focused communities. Regional BIM groups also began to develop. These communities were encouraged to hold events and also to share their ideas, knowledge and skills via printed media, the web, social media, etc. From general introductions and explanations of BIM to detailed protocols for BIM implementation, core industry understanding was quickly developed and disseminated across an otherwise fragmented and geographically dispersed industry sector.

Talking about BIM is all very well, but “walking the talk” is vital. The UK’s BIM Task Group, in partnership with various central government departments and other leading industry clients, instigated pilot projects to test the processes and protocols, and to gauge if supply chain knowledge and skills in BIM were sufficiently developed – in short, to demonstrate the industry’s capabilities. Learning – good and bad – from these case studies was then shared via the trade press, industry conferences and via the internet.

As a result of these first three steps, what began to develop was a wider understanding of the required legal and regulatory framework, new data and process standards, and industry-proven guidance on all the key areas of BIM implementation and exploitation.

However, the process does not stop once the initial capabilities and collaborative frameworks are in place. Continuous performance improvement is very much the objective – and public leadership is again pivotal in providing a new vision of the industry’s future (in the UK, this was outlined in the February 2015 strategy, Digital Built Britain, and reinforced in the next five-year government construction strategy covering the years 2016 to 2020). And so the cycle continues….

strategic framework


EU BIM Task Group talks about convergence

Fifteen European countries sent delegates to a meeting in Brussels last week of the EU BIM Task Group, a group working towards Europe-wide convergence on BIM standards (reports UK website BIM+).

Representatives of public sector client organisations, policy units and national task groups for the UK, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Iceland all attended the meeting, held at the European Commission’s conference centre.

The meeting was co-chaired by Adam Matthews, head of EU and international for the UK government’s BIM Task Group. He said: “We’re looking to collaborate, align and converge best practice for the introduction of BIM to achieve better value for public money – that’s the central theme of the group.”

The group has previously met three times on a voluntary basis, but this time it was facilitated by the European Commission, which provided the conference room and interpreters. Further meetings are planned later this year and up to the middle of 2016.

The UK was also represented by Mark Bew, chair of the UK BIM Task Group, and Task Group member Barry Blackwell from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Germany’s delegates included Arup’s Ilka May, recently appointed as chief executive of its industry-led “Planen-Bauen 4.0” BIM Task Group.

Matthews added: “The group is currently defining how it will share best practice and converge on the adoption of BIM into the European public estate.”

He identified three areas of interest: technical best practice; client leadership; and cultural and people issues, such as skills development and change management.

Two delegates from Hong Kong were also present as observers, with Ada Fung representing the Ministry of Housing and Ivan Ko the local Construction Industry Council. “It shows the level of interest from the Asia Pacific region to collaborate and help create a global common market – it’s becoming a global conversation,” Matthews said.

Welcome to the EU BIM Task Group blog

Welcome to the EU BIM Task Group blog.

This website is intended to provide a resource for anyone interested in the activities of the EU BIM Task Group. It provides some background to the group, and describes its work – most notably, the development of a pan-European handbook on building information modelling. We will use the blog to discuss landmarks in our work, to report on relevant events across Europe, and to provide a way for readers to interact with members of the Task Group.