BIM is a powerful process for smart buildings and for developing smart grids and smart cities

Published on 03 June 2022

The digital revolution is radically transforming the installation value chain for all stakeholders, creating new ways of designing, installing and managing infrastructure maintenance systems and new opportunities for customer project developers and regional players, as well as new end uses through the data and services generated by digital tools. Building information modelling (BIM) is an excellent example of how digital innovation can transform the ecosystem.

BIM, 3D view of a building Emmanuel Di Giacomo, Autodesk
Emmanuel Di Giacomo Ecosystem Business Development Manager for Europe, Autodesk

Can you explain the rapid development of building information modelling (BIM) worldwide?

It’s simple: studies show that BIM offers major benefits, in particular its ability to significantly expedite construction, a crucial advantage in the effort to house the fast growing global population. BIM also allows us to fit out buildings and infrastructure using fewer natural resources and to drastically reduce energy consumption. What's more, using BIM can save project developers between €2 and €3 per square  metre in operating and maintenance costs, which represent 70% to 80% of the total cost of a building.

What about end users?

BIM data provides users with access to a variety of new services. Take a hospital for instance: users can find their way around using an application connected to the BIM model of the site. 

What are the potential roadblocks for BIM?

I can see three potential issues. First, financial obstacles, with the additional costs of purchasing software and training teams. Second, the challenge of recruiting qualified people trained in BIM and the associated new skill sets. And third, addressing resistance to change among employees and companies.

What are the advantages of BIM for a player like SPIE?

Time savings, greater efficiency and the ability to provide additional services to customers. SPIE can use BIM to carry out highly precise simulations to identify the ideal location for installing equipment in a new building or to optimise its energy performance. It is also a powerful tool when it comes to developing smart grids and smart cities. For example, in partnership with local players, SPIE could use a virtual model of a city to run “live” tests of a proposed smart traffic management system. 

What do you think the future of BIM looks like?

BIM will continue to transform the way we design and build. For example, prefabrication and modular design – methods SPIE is already using – will see strong growth. But above all, artificial intelligence and big data processes will be used to exploit BIM data for other purposes. For example, we could pinpoint in advance potential weaknesses in buildings or infrastructure. Maintenance operations could be carried out more efficiently through the use of virtual reality headsets showing a BIM model of the location. We can also be sure that BIM services will provide enhanced energy performance in many different ways in the coming years.

Digitalisation of t h e architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries

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29 %

of construction professionals in Europe use BIM or another digital collaboration tool (La Tribune, October 2018)

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European countries with the highest BIM take-up rates: the United Kingdom, France and Germany

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10 M€

the amount allocated to accelerating the take-up of BIM in France as part of the “BIM 2022” plan