Status of the application of the BIM method in Europe (II)

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We resume our recap on the situation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the European countries analysed in the EU BIM Observatory of April 2019. After learning about how the methodology is being embraced in France, Germany, Ireland and Italy, this article takes us to the United Kingdom, Denmark and Iceland. 

The United Kingdom: leading BIM in Europe 

The United Kingdom leads BIM in Europe, as it set out to do in 2011. The firm commitment to develop major railway projects in BIM environments is serving as a test bench for innovation and the rapid evolution of both new software applications and academic and professional programmes. 

The United Kingdom has clearly identified BIM’s relationship as a tool in the digitisation of the sector and is making a strong drive towards the industrialisation of construction (known as off-site or modular construction). 

In March 2011, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) launched the government’s Cabinet Office. The document lays down a five-year period for structuring a strategy geared towards improving four objectives: cost of construction, delivery time, increased exports and reduction in CO2 emissions. 

The Construction 2025 Strategy report, a key tool for the development of BIM in the country, was published in 2013. In 2016, the mandate for the Construction 2020 Strategy was established: increase productivity and provide support to 20,000 new projects. BIM and digital construction are an important part of the strategy, which has three maturity levels. Level 2 is the initial one (collaborative projects) whereas level 3 (integrated projects) is the objective for 2020. 

The application of the BIM methodology has been compulsory since April 2016 in the construction of buildings and infrastructures. 

The BIM Academic Forum (BAF) was created in 2011 and features the involvement of 25 universities and educational institutions. It targets the development of a reference academic framework to provide a roadmap for the inclusion of learning BIM at appropriate levels in the educational system. 

Some of the most outstanding projects implemented through BIM include the 118-km-long Crossrail railway line, part of which runs under London, with 38 stations, nine of which are under ground. An investment totalling almost 18,000 million Euros. 

The government has planned a second high-speed project to link London to Birmingham and Manchester to Leeds. The magnitude of this intervention has generated 25,000 jobs and an economic profit flow of 103,000 million Euros. The investment totals 65,000 million Pounds. The first phase will end in 2026 and the second in 2033. 

Denmark: pioneering BIM legislation 

Denmark is one of the world’s most developed countries in the digital construction sector. It was the first country to legislate for BIM, in 2007. Since then, complex infrastructures and building projects have constituted flagship study cases for the industry. BIM is also integrated into PhD and postgraduate programmes, although there is no official support group for its implementation in academic syllabuses. 

The Digital Construction project was developed between 2003 and 2006 and includes a mandate on BIM for the construction and refitting of public buildings. The mandate was approved in 2007 and was reviewed in 2010 and again in 2013. At this moment in time, BIM regulations are applied to all public projects and social housing. 

Besides the public institutions, private organisations and universities are also involved in the development of BIM in Denmark. It has been compulsory since 2011 for all local and regional projects with costs amounting to more than 2.7 million Euros. 

Some of the projects developed with BIM methodology include the New Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen, with an investment totalling 610 million Euros. It includes a Mental Health Centre with a 140-million budget. The new super hospital, the outcome of the merging of two existing facilities, will be completed by 2023, although it will continue to operate at full capacity for the duration of the work thanks to the use of cutting-edge building technologies. 

The Ringsted-Fehmarn railway link is a joint effort between Denmark and Germany which will connect the German Isle of Fehmarn to the Danish isle of Lolland in 2021. Thanks to the application of BIM technology, this intervention will improve communications between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe and will also cut travel time between Copenhagen and Hamburg. It will also foster the use of public transport as a non-pollutant alternative to the private vehicle. 

Iceland: a statement of intention 

One of the challenges that Iceland must tackle in the BIM adoption process is to adjust the implementation model to the country’s small size. In 2008, the Government Construction Contracting Agency approved the Statement of intention to support BIM modelling with open standards undertaken by international owners of public real estate property. The government took on the commitment to implement BIM in public building projects. 

BIM Iceland, a council of public procurers, was created to develop a common strategy and update the guidelines for the advancement of BIM. In 2017, the council’s purview was extended to include a broad range of stakeholders from industry to work together on common interests, requirements and standards in the digitisation of construction. 

Work on the new National University Hospital got under way in 2015 and BIM methodology was included as a requisite for the project. It includes the admissions wing, completed in 2018; the main building, with a surface area of more than 65,000 m²; the research and laboratory area and the offices and parking facilities. 

The Burfell II underground hydroelectric plant, an extension of an existing facility, is the first infrastructure project designed and built with BIM and dates from 2018. With an investment of 121 million Euros, it generated 42 construction models. 

There is no BIM mandate for the construction of public buildings or infrastructures beyond the government agency’s commitment. The construction sector has taken the initiative in adopting the model. 

At academic level, the universities have brought in introductory courses in the use of CAD/BIM software, although since they are out of sync with market needs many professionals choose to complete their BIM training abroad. 


The European BIM Summit is possible thanks to the contribution of our sponsors: Roca, as Main sponsor; Finalcad, as Gold sponsor; Agència Catalana de l’Aigua, ATL, Bentley, CIAT, FGC, Knauf Industries, MUSAAT, PREMAAT, Graphisoft Archicad and SIMBIM Solutions, as Silver sponsors; Calaf Constructora, Copisa, and Fundación Laboral de la Construcción, as Pro sponsors; and BASF, as Sustainability sponsor. It has also the support and the collaboration of the Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat of the Generalitat de Catalunya.