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Handbook for the introduction of BIM by the European Public Sector

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Handbook for the introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM) by the European Public Sector - Strategic action for construction sector performance: driving value, innovation and growth


This handbook responds to the growing challenges faced by governments and public clients to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness while delivering value for public money through the wider introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM).


It was produced by the EU BIM Task Group, which 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 other governments taken action to support and encourage BIM?
  • What benefits can be expected?
  • How can governments and public clients provide leadership and work with industry?
  • Why is public leadership and European alignment critical?
  • What is BIM? And what is the common European definition? 

BIM is a digital form of construction and asset operations. It brings together technology, process improvements and digital information to radically improve client and project outcomes and asset operations. BIM is a strategic enabler for improving decision making for both buildings and public infrastructure assets across the whole lifecycle. It applies to new build projects; and crucially, BIM supports the renovation, refurbishment and maintenance of the built environment – the largest share of the sector.


The prize is large: If the wider adoption of BIM across Europe delivered 10% savings to the construction sector then an additional €130 billion would be generated for the €1.3 trillion market. Even this impact could be small when compared with the potential social and environmental benefits that could be delivered to the climate change and resource efficiency agenda.


The purpose of this handbook is to reach for this prize by encouraging the wider introduction of BIM by the European public sector as a strategic enabler; and to adopt an aligned framework for its introduction into the built environment and construction sector. This alignment brings clarity and repeatability to this digital innovation across Europe – reducing divergence, misunderstanding and waste. It will accelerate growth and encourage competitiveness of the construction sector, especially its small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


This handbook concludes that there is a window of opportunity for harmonising a European wide common strategic approach for the introduction of BIM.


Government policy and public procurement methods are recommended as powerful tools to support this step-change in the sector. Without this top-down leadership, the sector’s low and uneven adoption of information technology is likely to continue which would limit its opportunity to significantly improve productivity and value for money. This is especially true within its large and diverse SME sector.


Governments and public sector organisations can provide leadership to encourage the sector towards the untapped opportunity of digital, and in turn provide better public services and better value for public money. However, governments cannot do this alone: working together with industry at European and national levels is essential to achieve this digital transformation with due consideration given to commercial models, education, skills development, SMEs and changes to current practices.


The vision is to build together with the private sector a competitive and open digital construction market: one that sets the global standard. This handbook calls for coordinated public sector action across both European and national levels to drive towards this vision.


Finally, this handbook describes the first steps of a digital revolution for the sector that will, over time, require significant adjustment by construction clients and the supply chain. This cannot be achieved overnight and experience has shown that successful BIM adoption strategies recognise the need for a period of adjustment as BIM requirements are increased gradually. This handbook aims to provide the support to enable Governments and public sector clients to transition construction to the digital era.


To download the handbook, please visit the relevant EU BIM Task Group webpage at the link below.