BIM Adoption: D-A-CH Region

BIM has been around for over 2 decades. It enables architects to build highly detailed 3D models and helps contractors decide on the correct building materials to use. It also helps with the day-to-day operations of a completed project by enhancing collaboration and accessibility to project data.

The benefits of BIM lie in its one-stop nature. Any participant on a BIM project can see the progress of the project by looking at a 3D model. It includes the blueprint, cost of materials, and time needed to complete phases.

BIM adoption has been slow due to many factors. These include education, the cost of new technologies, and standardisation across the industry. However, there are several countries that are leading the charge in BIM adoption. Below, we take a look at how Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have made great strides with BIM.

Man working on a laptop

BIM For Planning, Construction, Operation

Germany

Many public officials saw the benefits of BIM in construction projects. They emphasised the increased planning accuracy and more efficient communication during construction. In 2015, they approved the Digital Construction Plan. The Federal Minister of Transport and Digital infrastructure announced that BIM will be mandatory for all transportation and infrastructure projects from 2020.

They developed a 5-year BIM roadmap and rolled out the plan in three phases. Starting in 2015-2017, they studied the best conditions for BIM use in major projects. With federal funding, Germany launched 4 pilot projects using BIM.

From 2017-2020, they collected data from practical BIM uses during the planning and building phase. They also increased the number of pilot projects to over 20. Finally, Germany developed guidelines, regulations, and databases related to BIM.

From 2020 onwards, Germany seeks to fully implement BIM in every phase of the construction process. As stated, they want to make BIM mandatory for all transport and public infrastructure projects.

Austria

Austria is a relatively late adopter of BIM in its construction sector. In 2020, only 20% of small to medium enterprises employed the BIM method in their projects. However, Austria has placed an emphasis on providing guidelines related to BIM.  

In 2015, they joined the  buildingSMART initiative to provide open BIM standards. The Austrian Standards Institute (ASI) has also released digital construction standards. These are ÖNORM A 6241-1 and A241-2.

BuildingSMART Austria has also implemented the BIM-Zert project since 2019. This project provides participants with a certification after completing a Professional Certification Program test.

Switzerland

There are various political levels regarding  BIM adoption in Switzerland. The country formed the KBOB (Conference for the Public Sector of Construction and Property Services) and published documentation related to BIM implementation.

The Swiss Association of Engineers and Architects (SIA) are the main drivers of BIM implementation in the country. The group published an agreement in 2018  (SIA 1001/11). Though this agreement is not mandatory, planners need to use it if the building owner requires it.

Are There Any National Standards For BIM In The D-A-CH region?

Germany

In 2015, a group of companies and private organisations formed the BIM Steering Group. Currently, it is called  Planen Bauen 4.0. The group highlighted that BIM knowledge was lacking in the private sector. Planen Bauen attempts to create clear guidelines for the use of BIM in projects.

Both the public and private sectors have adopted the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) as the data format across CAD applications.

Furthermore, the Association of German Engineers (VDI) has published several standards related to BIM since 2018. The standard BIM series is the  VDI2552.

Also, the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) recently published standards related to the level of information needed with BIM implementation (DIN EN 17412-1).

Austria

BIM is uncommon for smaller construction projects. This is mainly due to the industry’s size and the high cost involved with adopting new technologies.

Yet, the Austrian Standards Institute (ASI) has already developed standards for BIM implementation with the  ÖNORM A 6241-1 and A241-2. These documents give technical guidance on BIM in big building projects. They were published in 2015 and the ASI has since added on to them. ÖNORM A 6241-2 gives information on BIM level 3 implementation.

Switzerland

In 2016, the Federal Council passed a digital strategy. It covers the entire economy, but BIM is seen as crucial in the AEC industry for digitising the sector. The SIA published the  BIM specification in 2017. Also, the Bauen Digital Schweiz has defined best practices for BIM in the country.

Finally, Switzerland is part of  buildingSMART. So, it is developing methods and tools to bring openBIM to the country. 

Is BIM Mandatory For Public Projects?

BIM is not mandatory for any of the countries in the D-A-CH region. Both Germany and Switzerland have begun pilot projects using BIM. But, they are still in the standardisation and information gathering phases. Austria is still in the research phase regarding national BIM implementation.

Germany

The BMVI wants to make BIM mandatory for all public transport and infrastructure projects.

Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) wants to use the BIM method for all structural engineering projects with over CHF 5 million in budget from 2021. They also want to extend it to infrastructure installations from 2025.

Main Use Cases For BIM in the D-A-CH region

Germany has launched several pilot projects since the BIM roadmap in 2015. One of the most ambitious of these is the Stuttgart -Ulm Railway pilot project. DB  Netz AG’s rail Project is under construction in Mühlhausen im Täle.

The main goal is to leverage BIM to increase productivity, quality, and reduce costs. The project began with a full 3D BIM model of the bridge. This allows construction, planning, and operational teams to view every aspect of the project. Planners can view comments from builders and vice versa. BIM managers can also see the overall price of materials from the 3D model.

Final Thoughts

The D-A-CH region is seeing progress with BIM adoption. Though there are no BIM-mandated projects currently running, each country is taking steps towards implementing BIM nationally.

Germany and Switzerland have already launched BIM pilot projects and Austria has already published BIM standards.

 

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