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Blog - International Stream - Adam Matthews

last modified Mar 08, 2018 01:53 PM
Adam Matthews, who leads the international development stream of the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB), sets out the global scope of the Digital Built Britain programme.

"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to, at this stage of BIM development, all agree on the foundations of how to define it as a process in public procurement and contractually. If we can agree on the principles – while the in-country definitions may differ slightly – the wider agreement delivers consistency that brings a shared opportunity to all work together in this global digital construction transformation."

Adam Matthews - Lead, International Stream, CDBB

The aim of the international programme is to grow the awareness and adoption of a common approach to BIM globally.  We work with governments and policy makers overseas to present the value proposition of adopting a standards-based approach to BIM using international and UK developed best practices, standards and tools. Our objective is to enable collaboration across countries, increase understanding of the process that is BIM and, importantly, help to create trade opportunities with these nations and the UK.

Globally, economies benefit by adopting a common approach to the introduction of BIM – by creating smoother trading conditions across borders, fostering greater collaboration and supports multi-region team-working.

For the UK, having a global approach to BIM which leans on the UK’s BIM Level 2 standards and principles creates opportunities for professional service providers and product manufacturers that want to work internationally.

This enables us to share skills and techniques across the world – in Europe, Latin America, Asia, North America and Africa. There are, of course, challenges. One of these is the increasing demand from governments and policy makers around the world who are coming to us to share our learned BIM experience.  Richard Lane is the delivery manager for the international programme and he supports capacity development. We provide training programmes for other governments to support understanding of how the UK programme works and, critically, what lessons learned can be taken from the UK and other international experiences that can be adapted and adopted in those partner countries – to paraphrase the ISO tag-line: “Great things can happen when we all agree”.

EU BIM HandbookOur international programme has secured significant achievements to date, including: recognition of the UK’s global leadership in the use of BIM; national level memorandum of understanding (MOU) and collaboration with Latin American countries, including Brazil, Chile and Mexico and with Asian countries.; and the formation of the EU BIM Task Group under the European Commission in 2015. Importantly, these early successes resulted in our contribution, in 2017, to formulating the EU BIM Handbook that contains a set of recommendations to public sector clients and policy makers when adopting BIM into their public estates. The focus for 2018 is to disseminate this learning across Europe and to develop training packages for public sector clients who want to learn more.

According to McKinsey, 98 per cent of major projects globally overrun and $1.6tn can be saved if this problem is solved. Productivity improvement is a goal of many governments around the world; Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimates that the introduction of digital construction techniques – using Building Information Modelling, or BIM – would bring productivity savings of up to 21 per cent by 2025.

The CDBB international programme is gaining momentum and the benefits can be shared. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to, at this stage of BIM development, all agree on the foundations of how to define it as a process in public procurement and contractually. If we can agree on the principles – while the in-country definitions may differ slightly – the wider agreement delivers consistency that brings a shared opportunity to all work together in this global digital construction transformation.

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Welcome to the Centre for Digital Built Britain.  

The Centre for Digital Built Britain is a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge to deliver a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction for the future and transform the UK construction industry’s approach to the way we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure.

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St Catharine's College, Cambridge

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