General Assembly 2022
Details of a new Playbook for public sector construction were revealed at the Global BIM Network’s second annual General Assembly on 1 December 2022. The announcement was among the highlights of the online event which drew attendees from 36 countries. The audience included policy makers, BIM practitioners and change management specialists from the public sector, NGOs, and multi-lateral institutions.
The General Assembly was delivered in Spanish and English and held twice to accommodate attendees in different time zones. It was hosted by Alanna Gluck, Delivery and Engagement Lead at the Global BIM Network Secretariat, and featured best practice case studies from Australia, the Czech Republic, Colombia, and Argentina. Lessons learnt at the Assembly will form case studies for the Playbook. They will help to guide global best practice in the digital transformation of the construction sector via BIM.
Global BIM Network Chair Adam Matthews announced the development of The Digital Transformation Playbook: an approach to building public sector capacity. He said the Playbook marks an important transition for the Network as it shifts its focus from talking about and sharing information to a new phase focussing on developing materials and outputs.
Speakers also shared their key takeaway messages in a series of question-and-answer sessions. These messages included the need to focus on people, behavioural change, and simple accessible language. Other takeaways included a call for information to be stated clearly in one place, and the need for more talented young people to help drive BIM initiatives in the public sector. Other presenters spoke of the value of teamwork, collaborative approaches, and the need for a common data environment. Another speaker highlighted the importance of generating trust between the public and private sectors and academia.
The Digital Transformation Playbook: an approach to building public sector capacity
The Digital Transformation Playbook will benefit both public and private sector partners. It will help distil down the large amount of information currently available in The Information Collection, the Network’s open access online knowledge base. The Collection will soon contain over 400 knowledge resources from over 60 countries. These resources are organised geographically and under four categories. They include governmental policies, plans and strategies, legal and technical documents, international standard guidance, case studies, training videos, and much more.
Adam said the Playbook will create structures and models to organize ideas. “The purpose of the Playbook is to make sense of all the information that we have collated. It will help people find what’s most relevant to them and support them on their digital transformation journey.”
Adam told Assembly attendees that the name ‘Playbook’ recognizes there is not one single solution to all challenges. There are multiple plays depending on each user’s perspective and the context in which they are operating.
Lina Lievano, a BIM Consultant at the National Planning Department, Colombia, and a Member of the Global BIM Network’s Steering Committee, said the contents of the Playbook will be objective and accurate.
She said the Playbook will help make it increasingly clear that digitalization is no longer just an option. “It has become a critical factor for the efficiency of public spending based on the profitability of public investments.”
Adam said the Playbook marks a significant change for the Network. Global BIM Steering Committee members have identified seven states as the critical stages with specific challenges in the digital transformation journey. They are assessing, justifying, mobilizing, developing, implementing, scaling, and optimizing. These states do not need to be addressed sequentially.
Starting in early 2023, work on the Playbook will focus on the mobilizing and developing states of the Network’s seven-part digital transformation journey. Work will later expand to address the other five states.
Jaroslav Nechyba is EU BIM Task Group Representative, Czech Republic. Commenting on how the Playbook might be developed further in the future, he said the turning point will be when feedback from pilot projects is incorporated into new versions of the documents. This will help make the documents even more understandable and useable.
Digital Transformation Sessions
Presenters from Australia, the Czech Republic, Colombia, and Argentina shared their transformation journeys in a series of presentations at the General Assembly. Each session featured a short live or pre-recorded presentation from the speakers. After each presentation, audience members took part in chat discussions in a question-and-answer format.
Luke Belfield, Victorian Chief Engineer at the Office of Projects Victoria (OPV), in Australia, updated attendees on the OPV’s work including the collaborative development of guidance within the Victorian Digital Asset Strategy. He also talked about the development of public sector capacity in BIM and its application in pilot projects.
The discussion considered mandating digital policy on public works, the interval between writing and implementing policy, and the case for developing a Digital Asset Strategy or legislation across the whole of Australia.
Lucie Svamberkova, a BIM Education Expert in the BIM Strategy Department at the Czech Standardization Agency, 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. Attendees also heard about capacity-building solutions for Czech industry and the public sector, including the development of a BIM Education System for Public Administration and the Czech Government’s BIM Strategy Framework.
Discussion turned to the uptake of digital educational frameworks and the need to convince educators of the benefits of BIM skills for the future labour market. It also addressed the increasing numbers of students graduating with BIM skills and consequent benefits to the private sector.
Diego Giraldo, BIM Manager at the Urban Development Corporation of Medellin, in Colombia, spoke of leveraging BIM as part of a wider transformation strategy for the city of Medellin. He provided practical examples from pilot projects on how the Corporation is collaborating to support wider transformation in Colombia and across Latin America.
Discussion focussed on interactions with geoinformation and 3D city models.
Maria Victoria Pasini, Architect at BIM Implementation System (SIBIM), in Argentina, detailed the country’s digital transformation journey. She talked about the creation of SIBIM, the Ministry of Public Works’ BIM task force, which aims to implement BIM in different areas of public affairs as part of the Strategic Plan for the digital transformation of the Ministry. Access SIBIM’s public library here.
Discussion turned to the wider value for everyone of regional and global collaboration, and for Argentina in particular.
Adam Matthews invited more people to get involved in developing the Playbook. “It is being collated, organized, and structured by the Secretariat but it will only be as good as the quality and diversity of the information that it receives from the public and private sectors.”
Keep an eye on the Global BIM Network’s news page for more articles on the 2022 General Assembly.