BIM Belgium: a point on its adoption

We recently wrote an article about BIM Adoption in BENELUX, where we talked about the standards in place and projects where BIM is in use.

After publishing the article on our blog, one of our users Stefan Boeykens (Senior BIM Manager at D-Studio), sent us feedback about the recent work and the initiatives in BIM Belgium.

We decided then to write a new article where we implemented his points.

BIM Belgium shown on a map

BIM Belgium – recent works and initiatives

VLAIO/iv Initiative

Since the ADEB-VBA published the Guide to BIM in 2015, many organisations began implementing BIM research, workgroups, and projects.

The Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), responsible for fostering communication between the government and entrepreneurs, launched a BIM project in 2015.

The VLAIO with ORI, NAV, VCB, and WTCB started the VLAIO VIS/iv project. The project aimed to assist architects, engineering firms, contractors, and other parts of the AEC industry to learn about BIM at each stage of the planning and construction process.

The project entailed a three-part workshop in three locations in the Flanders region. The “Getting Started with BIM” workshop had three parts. After each session, the participants drew up a checklist regarding step-by-step BIM plans, the BIM protocol, and BIM implementation plans.

The first part of the workshop focused on how to start using BIM in your organisation.  The second part involved how to implement BIM in the planning phase of a project. The final part explored what organisations needed to do to implement BIM during a project.

The initiative concluded in 2017. During the closing event, participants discussed the workshop results and delved into BIM software and its integration with future projects.

Cluster BIM

After the VLAIO/iv project concluded, the Belgian Building Research Institute (BBRI) began the Cluster BIM project. This project began with over 50 organisations from across the AEC industry as its members. These included  BESIX, Macobo-Stabo, Archipelago, and others. 

Their vision includes collaborating with digital innovators to digitise the entire AEC process and involves information exchanges between members and sharing solutions for implementing digital procedures.

Furthermore, the cluster formulated guidelines and plans for BIM implementation. These include the:

Additionally, the Cluster hosted a series of working groups and events. These promoted and educated the AEC industry on BIM implementation.

Cluster Digital Construction

Cluster BIM’s funding ended after three years, and then it became the Cluster Digital Construction. The new initiative has over 165 members from across the AEC industry, and it is collaborating with buildingSMART Benelux. This means that all members of the Cluster Digital Construction project are members of the buildingSMART Belgium chapter.

buildingSMART Benelux has published various documents related to BIM implementation, such as quality control data using IFC models.

Moreover, Cluster Digital Construction is continuing the work of Cluster BIM with working groups and standardisation activities. 

BIM Belgium and EU BIM Standards

There is no government mandate for BIM implementation in the AEC industry. However, many private organisations and EU bodies have developed processes for standardising BIM in Belgium.

Firstly, the European Committee for Standardization launched the  CEN/TC 422 technical group. It focuses on BIM standardisation across Europe. The Belgian mirror committee is actively involved in this process. To date, the technical group has curated  18 publications related to BIM standardisation.

In  2021, the CEN/TC 442 technical group will finalise the EN 17540-1 information structure based on EN ISO 16739-1. This involves stakeholders exchanging data templates and sheets for construction objects.

Moreover, the Belgian Road and Traffic Agency (AWV) has taken the responsibility to guide the development of BIM standards for Belgium. They believe that BIM will result in more efficient projects, and they have launched several pilot projects to test this.

Additionally, they have launched a dedicated ObjectTypesLibrary (OTL) for mapping, defining, and standardising assets based on an information model. This is an open standard library, and it contains information about all AWV road infrastructure objects. Their goal is to have data that all participants in projects can access and reuse. Accordingly, it provides direction for the government and the AEC sector to use BIM standards for their projects.

Further, the AWV published Standard 250 for BIM document. It includes standards for implementing BIM for road construction. In addition, it includes standards for contractors looking to implement BIM for their projects. AWV continuously updates and revises the document and recently added their OTL to the document.  

Finally, other institutions have also released BIM Belgium requirements for projects. These include The Federal State Property Manager (RDB), National Bank of Belgium (NBB), and The Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (STIB/MIVB).