With the global BIM market forecast to grow significantly over the next few years, Women in BIM’s Regional Leads in Chile, the USA, Greece and Australia discuss how the technology is being adopted in their corner of the world
The global BIM market was sized at $5,205m in 2019 and is projected to reach $15,892m by 2027, according to figures from Allied Market Research. Typically, the BIM market is driven by various factors, such as rising residential and infrastructure projects and the increasing government mandates for BIM adoption in emerging regions. However, low levels of digitisation in the construction industry globally still exist and pose challenges to the BIM environment as a whole.
Women in BIM (WIB) is a global network of female professionals working within the BIM environment and championing new digital working methods to fast-track digital construction on a universal scale.
Operating across 20 countries, WIB fosters collaboration and has almost 50 Regional Leads. The role of a Regional Lead is to not only support and promote women in BIM in their respective regions of the world but to help other members expand their professional networks, upskill and exchange knowledge to assist in further career progression.
It is this type of activity which is instrumental in the growth of the global BIM market, and we spoke to four WIB Regional Leads about the current levels of BIM adoption in their respective regions.
Natalia Díaz, project manager, AmbientePRO and WIB Regional Lead in Santiago, Chile
Chile is the first Latin American country to develop a national BIM strategy driven by the government. It was introduced in 2016 and in the first year, actions focused on working with public institutions to understand their processes and workflows to define the route of BIM implementation within these organisations. In parallel, Chile has seen significant work to drive the promotion of BIM across major industry stakeholders in both public and private sectors.
In 2019, the national BIM standard was launched, with much interest regarding future steps of BIM implementation in the public sector in particular and within 12 months, some public projects were working to BIM requirements. As were a small number of companies in the private sector who had started to see the advantages of BIM; for that reason, they are investing in innovation to implement BIM across multiple projects. But the number of case examples such as this are still very low across the country. The next step is consolidating BIM implementations in companies of different disciplines and the collaboration between them.
When I was working as a BIM coordinator in London, I submerged myself into the collaborative approach of BIM, where every team member was working with models in each discipline and contributing with their experience to achieve the best result for the projects. I worked with people with different backgrounds, some with more experience in software and others with more knowledge in project design and management. However, it was clear that everyone was a crucial team member that develops a project together. I think that this teamwork approach is a fundamental part of working with BIM and this is the way forward for businesses in Chile.
Lindsay Prichard-Fox, owner, Tiver Built and WIB Regional Lead in New York, United States
My entry into BIM is unconventional, to say the least. I grew up around construction and worked on small projects initially, quickly expanding to large-scale projects. Along the way, I experienced all the pain points of the design and construction process and started to seek digital solutions to improve efficiencies and minimise waste/mistakes. This is when I found BIM and I’ve been committed to seeing broad and lasting adoption of the BIM processes ever since.
I work predominantly in the residential construction market; however, I regularly cross over into commercial design and construction, and for the US, the “BIM department” is still prevalent. The use of Revit to create a 3D model is common, but that model is primarily used in a back-office workflows. A tool in the toolbox, not marketed as a critical differentiator to potential clients. Clients are beginning to specify “BIM” as contract provision but are less able to indicate how BIM should be used to inform project coordination and information management. As a result, clients are not connecting the use of BIM with the benefits of BIM.
To use the BIM process for maximum benefit, means that BIM cannot be compartmentalised. BIM is an overarching process that informs design, construction and facilitates management. What needs to happen next is for the industry to broadcast how incredible these tools are and help owners understand BIM capabilities and how to specify BIM requirements. Therefore, while the concept is widely accepted, how BIM is being used is way off the mark in terms of its capabilities. There is still a lot of education that needs to take place before the industry is utilising BIM to its full capacity, but for now, it’s one-BIM at a time!
Nicoleta Panagiotidou, architect, BIM specialist and founder at BIM Design Hub and WIB Regional Lead in Thessaloniki, Greece
In Greece, the level of BIM adoption is still low. There are a small number of companies that implement BIM, mainly working with projects overseas. However, there are two major Greek projects in which BIM has been implemented, the construction of the new National Opera, at the Niarchos Cultural Centre and the Attiko Metro SA competition that included the implementation of BIM for the construction of Line 4. In general, the lack of a legislative framework and policy is considered a huge disadvantage for the adoption of BIM in Greece.
Many studies highlight the importance of BIM standardisation through international standards, such as ISO 19650 and the role of public sector as a key enabler of BIM adoption. The public sector in most European countries supports BIM research and implementation financially, and this plays a key role in BIM adoption. In addition, as BIM technology is evolving rapidly, the implementation of BIM in pilot projects is considered very important in recording and highlighting the benefits and processes of BIM at a local level.
BIM has not been maturing in Greece at the same rate as other countries. However, there are signs of growth and as the implementation of BIM increases in the country, my aim is to create a hub for all women active in the BIM market and generate opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing so that we can unite people with a passion for technology and collaboration in construction.
Jenny Tseng, principal digital adviser at Mott MacDonald and WIB Regional Lead in New South Wales, Australia
When we talk about BIM adoption, we shouldn’t confuse this with actual BIM implementation – these are two very different things. Those who has essentially embraced the concept of BIM are not always those who are practising BIM on their projects. Therefore, being able to measure and develop relationships between BIM adoption against levels of BIM implementation is the key to understanding how well it has integrated into construction and infrastructure projects across Australia.
WIB as a community provides a great platform to connect, network, enable, empower and also showcase how BIM is already leading the way in the digital transformation of our industry. However, there is always more to be done. By sharing the BIM knowledge and skills, providing exemplary project delivery experiences and increase organisation learnings and capabilities, we can shift people and culture with this digital paradigm and lead the AEC industry to success in a sustainable and systematic way. Converting more adopters to implementers!
After a slow start, BIM is becoming increasingly popular in Australia. State and federal governments have acknowledged that BIM is a global building industry practice and issued a series of long-term plans to increase the implementation of BIM. However, while there are no blanketed government mandates yet, in March 2016 the Australian government’s Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport & Cities campaigned to make BIM compulsory on government-funded infrastructure projects exceeding $50m in costs. In 2018, the New South Wales (NSW) government subsequently issued a 10-point commitment to the construction sector and mandated the use of BIM on the AU$8.3bn Sydney Metro Northwest project.
As we can see an appetite for BIM exists in each of these regions, however, it is shared by a smaller number of digital construction enthusiasts and a lot of work still needs to be done before it is embraced by the masses. The benefits of BIM are understood and the digital infrastructure is starting to take shape, we just need to set the building blocks at a faster pace.
To learn more about WIB and the work of their regional leads, visit the Women in BIM website: www.womeninbim.org
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