Back to basics: Why BIM?

This is the first in a new series of blogs looking at the fundamentals of building information modelling and the role of the Global BIM Network.

It is almost two years since the Global BIM Network was established, and the Network continues to spread its reach and engage with more parties through multiple channels. So, now is a good time to go back to some of the basics of building information modelling (BIM). In this first blog, we ask why BIM? What are its advantages and how to tap into them?

The Global BIM Network was set up in March 2021 to connect international public sector representatives and multi-lateral organizations. It exists to advance the digitalization of the global built environment and share the resulting benefits.

There is ample proof that BIM brings many significant advantages at the global, regional, national, sub-national, and organizational levels. Importantly, these benefits span the lifecycle of infrastructure assets – from their planning, design, build and operation, to how they may be maintained, refurbished, and eventually deconstructed. These benefits can be grouped into eight main categories.

1.  Firstly: Benefits to the bottom line. There is indisputable evidence that BIM programmes can unlock considerable savings in the form of faster project delivery times, and lower ongoing maintenance and operational costs.

2. BIM enables better and more efficient use of operational energy and resources.

3. Reduced waste and fewer errors on site ensure higher standards of health and safety.

4. BIM practices and processes enable better analysis and a deeper understanding of the whole lifecycle of an asset.

5. BIM enhances data security and the efficiency of data infrastructure resources.

6. Through taking a BIM approach in the design and delivery of infrastructure assets, it is possible to generate improved social outcomes, such as better care of patients in a hospital system, or improved outcomes for society through changes to an existing education system.

7. BIM can improve the competitiveness of a sector and grow export capability.

8. Finally, BIM can help to attract much-needed digital talent to the construction sector.

The Global BIM Network brings together stakeholders from governments around the world to encourage the wider adoption of BIM. The Network’s collaboration and sharing initiatives foster a common digital language for the delivery of the world’s infrastructure, enabling BIM’s social, economic, and environmental benefits.

In the next blog in our ‘Back to Basics’ series we will look more deeply at the role of the Global BIM Network.

For more information on the benefits of BIM click here.

To join the Global BIM Network, email us or visit our website

BIM as strategic lever for city-wide digital transformation in Medellin, Colombia

Diego Giraldo has emphasized the value of teamwork in implementing BIM. Diego is BIM Manager at Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano (EDU), the Urban Development Corporation of Medellin, in Colombia. He was speaking at the Global BIM Network’s second annual General Assembly on December 1, 2022.

EDU is a public entity that implements 70 percent of the projects of the Mayor’s Office of Medellin. It works in a technical and contractual arrangement between government, community and territory using BIM and City Information Modelling (CIM) methodologies.

In his presentation, Diego shared insights into leveraging BIM as part of a wider transformation strategy for the city of Medellin. He also provided practical examples from pilot projects on how EDU is collaborating to support wider transformation in Colombia, and across Latin America.

Asked to share a key takeaway message from EDU’s work, Diego highlighted the need for teamwork. He said this is especially important for implementing BIM in a public entity. “BIM is not just about knowing how to model, and how to manage the tools and work in a digital environment. It’s also about having the capacity to work in a team.”

Diego told attendees at the Assembly that EDU carries out architectural urban design in-house. “But we outsource the entire technical package, where we contract all the technical designs, and we also conduct a bidding process for the execution and construction phases.”

Diego said EDU generates far better results from working hand in hand with contractors. “Sometimes we forget that the most essential part of BIM is working in a collaborative fashion as people aimed at the same goal.”

Commenting on leveraging BIM as part of a wider transformation strategy for the city of Medellin, Diego said that within his organization, BIM and CIM methodologies have become great allies for public projects in the city. This has been done through the integration of GIS platforms, database systems, computational operations, public space modelling strategies and three-dimensional modelling software.

EDU’s successes have encouraged other public agencies in Colombia to start adopting BIM and CIM methodologies. These include the Instituto de Desarrollo Urbano (IDU) of Bogota. Together, these agencies are now contributing to a national vision calling for all digital transformation issues in the construction sector to be addressed by 2026 for better use of available resources and greater productivity.

You can watch recordings of the Global BIM Network’s second annual General Assembly here.

‘Single Source of Truth’ essential for public sector adoption of BIM

Clear, up-to-date information, located in one place, is essential for public sector adoption and implementation of BIM. So said BIM Education Expert Lucie Svamberkova at the Global BIM Network’s second annual General Assembly. 

Lucie is a BIM Education Expert in the BIM Strategy Department at the Czech Standardization Agency, in the Czech Republic. She was speaking at the online General Assembly on December 1, 2022.  

In her presentation, she described how the Agency is dealing with the integration of BIM topics into the country’s educational system. Lucie also outlined solutions being offered to Czech industry and the public sector to build their own BIM capacity. 

At the end of the General Assembly, host Alanna Gluck asked Lucie to share a key takeaway from her presentation. Said Lucie: “I would accentuate the need of having one place where you concentrate clear, concise, up-to-date information.” 

Lucie said it can be challenging to get the right message to the right people. The Czech Standardization Agency tries to locate all information on its website, and regularly emails the top management of public contracting organizations. 

She added that a BIM Act is currently being drafted in the Czech Republic but there will not be a legal obligation for public sector procurers to use BIM until the turn of 2023/2024. This can lead to misunderstanding, with top management sometimes not sharing relevant BIM information with other people who would benefit from it right away. 

Global BIM Network Chair Adam Matthews said the public sector in many countries often struggles with having too much information. Adam said the Network’s upcoming Playbook will help address this challenge. The Playbook will create structures and models to organize ideas, and distil down the large amount of information currently available in the Network’s Information Collection.  

In her presentation, Lucie detailed how the Czech Republic is using secondary and tertiary education to scale the adoption of BIM. This includes educational training to build the interest of high school and university students in developing a career in BIM and the built environment.  

She also updated attendees on capacity-building solutions currently being offered to Czech industry and the public sector, and highlighted the need for more talented young people to work within the public sector. She also outlined the development of a BIM Education System for Public Administration and the Czech Government’s BIM Strategy Framework

For more information on the Playbook or to join the Global BIM Network, email us or visit our website.