BIM usage and availability of software in the installation sector

One of the key trends in the construction industry at large is digitalization. Due to labour shortage and higher demand, the industry has been under pressure to build smarter and cheaper. One of the key developments enabling this is digitalization and more specifically BIM. Amongst architects and contractors, BIM usage has already taken off and is rapidly becoming a license to operate in the non-residential segment. The installation industry, whilst part of the construction industry and thus affected by the same trends, has not shown a take-off moment with regards to BIM. BIM usage amongst HVAC installers is still low, so is the awareness. Dutch installers are using BIM the most, but it’s still only around 18%. In other European countries this is below 10%. When looking at the awareness of BIM, this is the highest in Netherlands with 67%, in the other countries this between 30 and 40 %. USP Marketing Consultancy also looked at the availability of BIM software in the installation companies. Again the Netherlands scores the highest, with 25% of the HVAC installers familiar with BIM having access to BIM software. This is the lowest in the UK, which is surprising because the awareness of BIM is relatively high.

Dutch HVAC installers clearly ahead

The awareness and usage of BIM is already the highest in the Netherlands. The availability of BIM software is following the BIM awareness and BIM usage. Around 25% of the HVAC installation and plumbing companies in the Netherlands have access to BIM software. This is not very surprising, also looking at the BIM awareness and usage of Dutch architects and contractors which is the highest of Europe. BIM is already far integrated in the total business value chain in the Netherlands and this is reflected by the relatively high awareness, usage and availability of BIM software. These results are based on the European Mechanical Installation Monitor Q1 2018 report, with the theme ‘The usage of calculation tools & BIM’.

Surprising results for the UK and France

The BIM awareness and the usage of HVAC installers and plumbers in the UK is relatively high compared to other European countries. Only in the Netherlands, this awareness and usage of BIM is higher. Looking at that, it seems to be surprising that the UK installers have the lowest availability of BIM software. This could be clarified however due to the fact that BIM is more being used by larger installation companies active in the non-residential sector than smaller installation companies active in the residential sector.

About 18% of the French HVAC installation companies have access to BIM software. This is the second highest of Europe, whilst the usage of BIM of HVAC installers is one of the lowest in Europe.   One of the main reasons for the relative high share of companies that have access to BIM software is the new regulation that large projects need to be conducted with BIM software. It is clear that the influence of the government and regulations is one of the main drivers regarding the usage of BIM, hence the surprisingly high availability of BIM software in France.

Germany, Poland and Belgium closely together

Looking at the BIM usage and awareness in Belgium, Germany and Poland, the picture is quite simila. Not many installers are using BIM. The lower awareness and usage has also its influence on the relatively low share of installation companies having access to BIM software. Only 11% in Poland and 12% in Belgium and Germany have BIM software available. This is inline with the relatively low BIM usage by architects and contractors in these countries.

Which BIM software is being used in most European countries?

Whereas Revit was mentioned the most by architects that use BIM software, this is more divided in the installation sector. HVAC installation companies make use of AutoDesk, AutoCAD, Revit, Stabicad, Bentley and Planca Nova. It will be interesting to follow which software will be used the most in the future.


Overall, BIM adoption by installers is quite low. Especially compared to architects and contractors. As installers are lower down the value chain, this is not surprising. Besides the Netherlands, BIM adoption clearly hasn’t taken of yet. This is also reflected by the availability of BIM software in installation companies. Again, in the Netherlands this is much more developed then in the other European countries (although in France the availability of BIM software is also relatively high. For the future however, it can be expected that BIM will become more important for installers, as more and more non-residential projects are being constructed whilst utilizing BIM. In time, installers will be confronted with BIM more and more, which will lead to a higher adoption and usage.