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BIM perspective: the European context

In this discussion Researchers and BIM experts express their views on BIM in the European context, based on their experiences.
NOHMAN: My name is Nohman Awan and my job title is Project BIM Manager. My background is building services engineering. A recent project is Midland Metropolitan Hospital. I had to make sure BIM is properly implemented and is handed over to the client accordingly as well. It has been a great challenge. We had several different specialists, so we had source from European countries where the specialists are from Germany, from Portugal, from Spain. They were happy to sign the contract at the start but when it comes to BIM implemented, how do you engage those people with your platform. That definitely was a bit tricky. It is the workflow; their understanding of the workflow, their understanding of BIM requirements was different.
In Germany they had their own standards, they had their own way of working. In the UK we generally apply our main first standard is BS 1192, so they have their own standards which is similar to BS 1192 as well. I have been giving them training and awareness. How the naming convention, the drawing naming convention, model naming conventions. All of these basic things. We give them the example, tell them right at the beginning and they would say yes, we will adopt this, but their own way of working is a bit different.
NADA: My name is Nada. I come from Serbia and my background is architecture and construction project management. At the moment, my role is PhD research student at Coventry University. I was in Serbia and I was in Italy after because I came from a country which is out of the European Union, but I know that there as well there are quite a lot of initiatives. For example, they have BIM training when architects attend their CPD programmes and workshops and so on. In Nordic countries such as Denmark, Norway and Finland they mandated the use of 5C which is a format to share data which enabled the BIM process. It already exists in those countries since 2010 or before 2010.
Other than Europe as well there is worldwide, Singapore, US, they all had initiatives a long time before. 2007, US actually had initiative to implement BIM on public projects. But in the recent years, the UK government put a lot of effort and they produced all the standards and processes so now BIM standards from the UK they became a good example of how it is supposed to be done.
SIMON: My name is Simon Graham. I am a Digital Engineer at Willmott Dixon Construction. Currently for UK BIM Level 2, we are supposed to use it on all publicly procured projects. For Willmott Dixon we incorporated it into our framework requirements so any job that is procured on a certain framework will have to be a BIM Level 2 project because we anticipate these efficiencies that we are seeing. There are still obstacles to adoption in the UK. Contractors and consultants, so architects, engineers and so on, seem to have adopted it. They may have even been using it for a long time for their own benefit.
Things are challenging when we get further down the supply chain so smaller businesses, perhaps a father-son smoke alarm company or something like that, they have to get on board and then the operational teams, the facilities management teams are, in my experience, not ready. They are not committed to using it in the operation of their buildings. We are expecting to see BIM Level 3 being, first of all defined and then adopted throughout the UK.
It is quite nebulous at the moment, but the basic definition for BIM Level 3 as I understand it is rather than having separate models that coordinate into a single model separately, we have a single model that contains all of the data that people are working on simultaneously. Now, I think there is a lot of technical barriers to that that a lot of people have not really thought about, but that is where we are going.

Find out our experts’ views about BIM adoption and implementation in Europe.

Europe is one of the continents that has demonstrated fast developments in BIM adoption and implementation.

One of the drivers for change is the EU directive to enforce the adoption and implementation of BIM in public construction projects in the 28 EU member states. The European Union Public Procurement Directive (EUPPD) is a mandatory directive in use.

So far, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Norway are among a few countries that have set mandatory requirements for BIM adoption in state procurement processes.

In the video, our experienced BIM practitioners provide their perspectives:

  • Nohman Awan talks about how difficult it is to work with experts from a wide range of countries in Europe where signing of BIM contracts is concerned, using his experience on the Midlands Metropolitan Hospital

  • Nada Milivojevic, whose background is in architecture and project management, highlights her observations of BIM developments in non-EU and EU countries such as Serbia and Italy respectively. She also discusses the mandated use of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), a media platform for sharing BIM data, across the Nordic countries

  • Simon Graham explains how his organisation incorporates BIM level 2 in projects and discusses problems in the adoption of BIM

Contractors and consultants (architects and engineers, for instance) have been using BIM for a while. Problems can be seen when engaging other supply chains, particularly small businesses. Similarly, operation and facility management teams appear not to be ready to engage themselves in BIM processes.

Despite this, most European countries are planning to move towards higher levels of BIM. For example, the UK is moving on to adopt BIM level 3 soon, but the definition is yet to be clarified and there may be technical barriers to overcome.

Your task

The main themes discussed here include the variation of standards used in different countries within the same region, the challenges faced by BIM experts to coordinate or implement BIM, and the foreseeable problems in new dimensions of BIM levels in the UK.
What could be other issues regarding BIM development, adoption and implementation in your region?
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