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BIM use is on the rise in Europe

The construction industry used to be very conservative. However, in the last decade we noticed a major trend towards digitalisation in the construction process. An important factor in digitalisation is Building Information Modelling (BIM). The European Architectural Barometer Q4 2019, is about BIM. Recently, we already have seen that BIM knowledge and use has increased rapidly for several reasons. For example, there is a higher demand from the market, especially from government agencies. Also, some big investors want projects to be executed in BIM, because it is faster and reduces failure costs. But to what extent has BIM been implemented in the European construction process?

Highest BIM use amongst Dutch architects

Looking at BIM use amongst architects per country in Europe, we see that The Netherlands are by far taking a leading position. 80% of architects use BIM. Why is it so much higher than in the rest of Europe? For instance, the government does not demand using BIM, but the market is more digitalized and more used to cooperation between different stakeholders in the construction industry. For example, the main contractors, the constructors, the electrical installation companies, and advisors. BIM facilitates this cooperation. The Netherlands also works with a lot of prefab which makes BIM use more likely.

In other countries, BIM is primarily used for big non-residential projects or high-rise residential projects. In the Netherlands, entire villages are built around one very similar design. Normally, using BIM would be too expensive. However, using BIM makes sense with designs for 20 or 30 houses.

Rest of Europe is trying to catch up

The European Architectural Barometer Q4 2019 shows that BIM use has increased rapidly in France over the last couple of years. This is mainly due to legislation. In the UK, BIM use is also on a high level. However, it is not growing as rapidly as in the Netherlands anymore. Predominantly non-residential and high-rise projects are done in BIM in the UK. Additionally, only a select group of architects work on these BIM projects. In Belgium, BIM use has increased rapidly; with neighbouring countries that are strongly intensifying their BIM usage, it makes sense that Belgium is influenced by these countries.

Now Spain, Poland, Germany and Italy are lacking behind, but adoption is increasing in some of these countries. We expect a huge increase in BIM use in the upcoming years, especially in Spain. In 2023, Spain will take over second place from the UK, because 39% of Spanish architects are planning to start using BIM in 1 to 2 years. Whereas 59% of British architects are not planning to use BIM in the upcoming years.

BIM use keeps increasing

In 2023, BIM use will still be the highest in the Netherlands, since Dutch construction stakeholders are far more advanced in digitalisation. In the next years, we expect an overall continuation of BIM adoption and BIM will be adopted increasingly in all European countries. For more detailed information we refer you to the European Architectural Barometer Q4 2019