Building Information Modelling: the Europe-wide strategy explained at infraBIM Open 2019

The EU BIM Task Group aims at delivering greater value for public money, while stimulating innovation and growth in both the construction and digital sectors in the European Union. Finland is at the forefront of this paradigm shift, which can generate over €3 billion worth of savings per year in the country.

Tampere, 8 January 2019 – The EU BIM Task Group, a pan-European network collecting public sector expertise in the field of Building Information Modelling (BIM) from infrastructure and public estate owners, public clients and policy makers, has announced its participation in infraBIM Open 2019. Taking place at Tampere Hall from 15 to 16 January 2019, infraBIM Open 2019 is the second edition of the key event for BIM at a global level, and is expected to contain over 60 presentations by internationally-recognised speakers. As a major player in the ongoing effort to digitalise the construction sector in Europe, the EU BIM Task Group will offer valuable insights on the state of play across the European Union, providing a glimpse of what the future holds for the industry.

Ingemar Lewén, a member of the Steering Committee of the EU BIM Task Group, will participate in the opening session of the event on Tuesday 15 January at 10.00 in the Small Auditorium. His keynote speech will describe the role of the EU BIM Task Group as its work enters a new phase. He will describe how it will bring the European construction sector closer to reaping the benefits offered by BIM as a strategic tool.

Building Information Modelling is a process which involves the generation and management of the digital representations of built environments, complete with their physical and functional characteristics. It is considered to be currently the most impactful technological development in the construction sector. Studies forecast that a wider adoption of this process will unlock a 15-25% saving for the global infrastructure market by 2025[1]. In a market as large as the European construction sector, which is worth over €1.3 trillion[2], even a 10% increase in efficiency would save the industry €130 billion. This impressive figure does not even take into account the potential social and environmental benefits of this paradigm shift, which could even be bigger; the improved decision-making enhanced by BIM would support the efforts towards climate protection and resource efficiency, benefiting society at large.

Finland is at the forefront of this push towards a wider adoption of BIM: efforts in this direction started as early as 2002[3], with governmental programmes aimed at making Building Information Modelling a key element for the building sector, and later for the infrastructure sector. This early start allowed the country to accumulate precious knowledge and first-hand experience in the field. Several projects have already been completed, and more are in progress, confirming that a 10% increase in efficiency is perfectly attainable[4] – and that there is room for improvement well beyond that threshold. Considering the yearly value of the construction industry in Finland, which amounted to €33.7 billion in 2017[5], a wide adoption of BIM could generate savings of over €3 billion per year.

“There is a reason why the most important BIM forum worldwide for the infrastructure sector takes place in Finland: the country is a true pioneer in the adoption of Building Information Modelling. The entire Nordic region has embraced this technological development early on, with public clients fully understanding the business and environmental advantages it could generate”, says Ingemar Lewén. “Awareness of the importance of BIM is now widespread, not only in the Nordic region, but across all of Europe. In order to fully reap the benefits of this method, we now need to develop a strategy and an action plan for mobilising the Europe-wide digital transformation of the construction sector. This requires a concerted effort, in which both public clients and companies play a key role. It is first and foremost a cultural shift; a shift that Europe is ready to make”.

Ingemar Lewén, who is a member of the Steering Committee of the EU BIM Task Group, acts as an Information Strategist with the responsibility for BIM at the Swedish Transport Administration (STA). He is Chair of the Nordic Road & Railroad BIM Collaboration.

The EU BIM Task Group, a network supported by the European Commission, was founded in January 2016 and rapidly grew to include 23 countries in Europe. Through this platform, public estate owners, infrastructure operators, policy advisers and procurers throughout the entire continent can exchange best practices, stimulate co-innovation and draft strategies that will drive the construction sector towards a smarter, more efficient future. Learn more about the EU BIM Task Group on YouTube.


Contact details for press:
Marco Groppelli +32 (0)2 333 59 21
ICF Mostra | Avenue Marnix 17, 1000 Brussels, Belgium


 Click here to download PDF version of this press release.


Note to editors:

Ingemar Lewén’s keynote speech will be part of the opening session of infraBIM Open 2019, taking place on Tuesday 15 January at 10.00 in the Small Auditorium at Tampere Hall, Tampere, Yliopistonkatu 55. If you are interested in setting up an interview on-site, please contact our press office.

[1] BCG, Digital in Engineering and Construction, 2016; McKinsey, Construction Productivity, 2017

[2] FIEC, Annual Report, 2018



[5] Source: The Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT

International Stream – Adam Matthews

Blog - International Stream - Adam MatthewsAdam Matthews, who leads the international development stream of the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB), sets out the global scope of the Digital Built Britain programme.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to, at this stage of BIM development, all agree on the foundations of how to define it as a process in public procurement and contractually. If we can agree on the principles – while the in-country definitions may differ slightly – the wider agreement delivers consistency that brings a shared opportunity to all work together in this global digital construction transformation.”

Adam Matthews – Lead, International Stream, CDBB

The aim of the international programme is to grow the awareness and adoption of a common approach to BIM globally.  We work with governments and policy makers overseas to present the value proposition of adopting a standards-based approach to BIM using international and UK developed best practices, standards and tools. Our objective is to enable collaboration across countries, increase understanding of the process that is BIM and, importantly, help to create trade opportunities with these nations and the UK.

Globally, economies benefit by adopting a common approach to the introduction of BIM – by creating smoother trading conditions across borders, fostering greater collaboration and supports multi-region team-working.

For the UK, having a global approach to BIM which leans on the UK’s BIM Level 2 standards and principles creates opportunities for professional service providers and product manufacturers that want to work internationally.

This enables us to share skills and techniques across the world – in Europe, Latin America, Asia, North America and Africa. There are, of course, challenges. One of these is the increasing demand from governments and policy makers around the world who are coming to us to share our learned BIM experience.  Richard Lane is the delivery manager for the international programme and he supports capacity development. We provide training programmes for other governments to support understanding of how the UK programme works and, critically, what lessons learned can be taken from the UK and other international experiences that can be adapted and adopted in those partner countries – to paraphrase the ISO tag-line: “Great things can happen when we all agree”.

EU BIM HandbookOur international programme has secured significant achievements to date, including: recognition of the UK’s global leadership in the use of BIM; national level memorandum of understanding (MOU) and collaboration with Latin American countries, including Brazil, Chile and Mexico and with Asian countries.; and the formation of the EU BIM Task Group under the European Commission in 2015. Importantly, these early successes resulted in our contribution, in 2017, to formulating the EU BIM Handbook that contains a set of recommendations to public sector clients and policy makers when adopting BIM into their public estates. The focus for 2018 is to disseminate this learning across Europe and to develop training packages for public sector clients who want to learn more.

According to McKinsey, 98 per cent of major projects globally overrun and $1.6tn can be saved if this problem is solved. Productivity improvement is a goal of many governments around the world; Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimates that the introduction of digital construction techniques – using Building Information Modelling, or BIM – would bring productivity savings of up to 21 per cent by 2025.

The CDBB international programme is gaining momentum and the benefits can be shared. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to, at this stage of BIM development, all agree on the foundations of how to define it as a process in public procurement and contractually. If we can agree on the principles – while the in-country definitions may differ slightly – the wider agreement delivers consistency that brings a shared opportunity to all work together in this global digital construction transformation.

Contact Adam Matthews:  

Original article:

EU BIM Handbook to be translated into 14 languages

We are currently working with the European Commission to translate the Handbook into 14 European languages.

  • Bulgarian
  • Czech
  • German
  • Greek
  • Spanish
  • Estonian
  • French
  • Italian
  • Lithuanian
  • Dutch
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Slovenian

We have not yet confirmed a date for when each version will be available, but these will be published over the next few months on our website, with a view to having all 14 languages published before the end of 2017.

EU BIM Task Group announces launch date for handbook

The introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM) represents the construction sector’s moment of digitalisation. It is undisputed that the wider use of technology, digital processes, automation and higher-skilled workers contribute greatly to our economic, social and environmental future.

Brussels, 6th July: The EU BIM Task Group will launch their “Handbook for the Introduction of Building Information Modelling by the European Public Sector”.

This handbook gathers the collective experience of public policy makers, public estate owners and infrastructure operators from over twenty European countries to make recommendations to these questions:

  • Why have governments taken action to support and encourage BIM?
  • What benefits can be expected?
  • How can governments and public clients provide leadership and work together with industry?
  • Why is public leadership and European alignment critical?
  • What is BIM? And what is the common European definition?

The handbook aims to create alignment across the public and private sector for the introduction of BIM to Europe in order to stimulate growth and create open markets.

EU BIM Task Group representatives will be attending the European Commission’s construction conference “Let’s build changes!’ in Brussels on 6th July to launch the handbook.

EU BIM Task Group wins international industry award

The EU BIM Task Group has been awarded an industry prize for the promotion of BIM in Europe. The prize was awarded for pioneering work on an aligned introduction of BIM to Europe to drive competitiveness and whole life cycle improvements.

The prize was awarded by the European BIM Summit (EBS) at their event in Barcelona on 26th May 2017 with over 500 global attendees, including 37 associations from Government regional and sub-secretaries. The EBS includes an Honours Committee and Strategic Committee with representatives from European associations; and international representation from the US and Latin America.

The EU BIM Task Group received this award jointly with the European Commission (Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs).

The award was received by Adam Matthews (Chair of the EU BIM Task Group) and Elisabeth Hamdouch (Deputy Head of Unit –  Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs). Jorge Torrico also attended, representing Spain’s delegation.

On receiving the award, Ms. Hamdouch highlighted the importance of BIM and the digitisation of the sector for its impact across multiple priority themes which include:

  • Growth
  • Supporting innovation in SMEs
  • Sustainable buildings
  • Resource efficiency

Adam Matthews thanked the 60+ task group participants across 22 countries, especially the Steering Group members for their contributions. He also thanked the European Commission and UK Government for their support and financial assistance to the programme.

Adam Matthews

Matthews talks about EU BIM progress

UK Construction onlineIn a two-part interview in UK Construction Online, Adam Matthews, chair of the EU BIM Task Group, talks about the the European Common Network, the drive for BIM, and Brexit and BIM.

In Part I, Adam is asked How is the European Common Network developing?

Adam MatthewsThe UK with Norway started the group in late 2013 with 12 other European countries by holding a get-to-know-you session in Brussels.  Since it formed as the EU BIM Task Group, it has grown to over 20 European nations with support and co-funding from the European Commission.  The aim of the group is simple – create a common understanding of BIM in Europe and aim to spread common practice across public clients introducing BIM to public policy or public works. …

We have just completed a survey of European practices by public stakeholders and now starting to draft a guide for public procurers on BIM. This BIM handbook will make recommendations for good practice based on the current European experience.

Do you think the EU would ever have a BIM mandate?

Mandate is a strong word. Technically the UK BIM ‘mandate’ is policy encouragement to the UK’s public construction client group to require the delivery of BIM information on centrally funded projects.  It is not easy to see how a single BIM mandate would be applied across Europe – however, do I see common approaches and requirements for BIM being adopted by European governments and public clients? Yes, absolutely.  And looking forward, I see these requirements aligning across Europe.

Over the next three to five years it is likely there will be a growing momentum of consistent BIM requirements in public tenders at national and public estate levels.  We are beginning to see this already. Clients are recognising it is not enough simply to request “It should be BIM” in public tenders: they want to specify standard digital information datasets at key project milestones.

What impact will Brexit have on closer collaboration with BIM in Europe?

In my view, the collaboration has been a European exercise, not just EU – it actually includes members of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) such as Norway (a leading partner in the project) and Iceland.

With regards to Brexit, the EU BIM Task Group is a two year project until end of 2017 which would mean the UK will be a full EU member at that time. And the goal of the group is to align the European approach to introduction of BIM. Beyond Europe, there is recognition that BIM is a global language – construction will transform to a global ‘digital construction’ sector over the next five to ten years.  The group is collaborating to place the European sector to compete effectively in this market.

I would add that it is a European success – nations sharing approaches and implementation descriptions in order to agree a common performance level to describe what BIM is to encourage trade across borders.  It continues to be a positive and collaborative experience.

In Part II, Adam answers Where would you say the majority of countries are on their BIM journey?

This will be answered more fully in the report of the survey recently conducted. I wouldn’t want to pre-empt its findings and conclusions. However, the group recognises that there is a full range from those just starting to explore what BIM means to a public stakeholder/client to those like Norway, UK and Netherlands that are implementing their programme with industry.

What is remarkable has been the journey since 2013, where we started the group with a just handful of nations with active programmes to now – with over 20 nations involved and the European Commission on-board. I think that speaks volumes about the recognition of the value proposition of BIM to the public sector.

… For me, one of the most impressive things about the EU BIM Task Group is that all nations are approaching with an open mind and prepared to debate different aspects of adoption and there is no sense at this time of protecting national positions to the detriment of harmonisation.

After all, BIM is just part of a broader digital transition across governments, across Europe and across the world.

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.