skip to content

Centre for Digital Built Britain completed its five-year mission and closed its doors at the end of September 2022

This website remains as a legacy of the achievements of our five-year foundational journey towards a digital built Britain
Guest International Blog: David Miller Architects - BIM Opens Doors in Chile

Guest international blog by David Miller Architects, reflecting on their work with Chile and collaboration with CDBB's Adam Matthews, who has been a key player in the promotion of the UK’s BIM expertise to various countries around the world and has been particularly active in Chile.

Reposted with permission of David Miller Architects.

When we started out implementing BIM into our office practice, it didn’t occur to us that this would be something that would lead to us connecting with and branching out to other parts of the world. Having been an early adopter of BIM and working closely with technology companies to trial and utilise emerging digital technology, we are now increasingly being asked to share our knowledge with other countries, and the most recent example is Chile.

Chile is taking a forward-thinking approach, embracing digital design and BIM implementation and becoming a leading proponent in Latin America. Digital Built Britain (a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK to create a digital economy for infrastructure, buildings and services) has worked with the Chilean government’s PlanBIM team, and there is an ongoing arrangement between the UK and Chile to share BIM knowledge in the support of trade growth between our two countries. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who is ahead of the game in digital design and looking for opportunities further afield as David discovered on his recent visit to the bustling metropolitan city of Santiago.

David was invited to Santiago to share DMA’s experience as the keynote speaker at the ‘Why Implement BIM for 2020’ conference on June 27th hosted by PlanBIM – the Chilean government initiative dedicated to the implementation of BIM. DMA’s connection with this first began in 2015 when a group of delegates were received by the RIBA. Then, in May this year, DMA welcomed a group of visitors from the Chilean Chamber of Construction, when David talked about BIM implementation, return on investment (ROI) and digital innovation.

The PlanBIM group, headed up by Carolina Soto Ogueta, started in 2016 and is promoted by the Ministry of Economy and the Economic Development Agency of Chile (CORFO). Their goal is to procure most of their public projects using BIM by 2020, and the June conference was designed to share case studies from home and abroad to promote the adoption programme.

Beginning with a meeting with the energetic and enthusiastic PlanBIM team to discuss the conference and the presentation, David’s first day in Santiago also involved a session with the AOA (Association of Architecture Offices) and PlanBIM to address the challenges faced by architects. Interestingly, PlanBIM is led by architects, and it is this group who appear to be driving BIM adoption more than any other profession in Chile.

The conference, held at the impressive new Chilean Construction Chamber’s building, was heavily attended, at full capacity with 350 delegates with a further 200 people watching via screens in the lobby area. Due to the incredible interest in BIM and how Chile will meet its 2020 mandate target, the conference was also live-streamed via YouTube and this has already had over 1300 views.

David’s keynote presentation informed the audience of the real metrics behind adopting BIM. David explained how DMA have embedded BIM into the workflow of projects highlighting both the positives and negative aspects. He shared the businesses metrics concerning the increased efficiency the practice has seen; something the delegates were keen to discover. David ensured he was utterly transparent in the information he provided, even including the costs of implementation and what the financial benefits of it are. David summarises the main points of his presentation in a video interview with the local Chilean ArchDaily team and the full article in ArchDaily can be found here.


Carolina Soto Ogueta, the Executive Director at PlanBIM, said,

“The seminar was a very successful event opened by high authorities from within the Chilean Government: the Minister of Housing, the Vice president of Corfo (Chilean Economic Development Agency) and the president of the Productivity Committee from the Chilean Chamber of Construction. All these authorities talked about the importance of BIM for the sector and the relevance of Planbim – the Chilean BIM Mandate promoted by Corfo – in generating a more productive construction industry.”

“One of the primary objectives of the seminar was to demonstrate the benefits of BIM for private companies; therefore David Miller’s presentation was vital for the audience, as it showed the how and why to implement BIM for architecture companies. The audience was very interested in understanding the return on investment of using this methodology and how it can help boost productivity and bring more work. Also, the presentation was fascinating as it showed different uses of BIM, combined with other technologies, which also resonated with the audience.”

“We were extremely pleased that David accepted our invitation to present and we are sure that his presentation helped us push our industry in the right direction and convince Chilean companies that BIM not only has benefits for the State and for their projects but also for all the firms, big and small, that use it.”

David’s talk generated a great deal of interest, resulting in more discussions after the conference with the Ministry of Public Works in Chile (MOP) being particularly curious about the refurbishment projects DMA have completed. The MOP requested David host a workshop before his departure to the UK to explain the processes he used on the Anstey Hall Barns project, which utilised laser-scanning and digital workflows. David was keen to help and met with them to detail how they could apply BIM to their conservation and historic building projects.

PlanBIM and the BIM mandate they are implementing in Chile have been profoundly influenced by the Digital Built Britain team and by the UK’s mandate and experience of implementation to date. They have examined the UK’s approach very carefully and effectively have the luxury of ‘taking the best bits’ from the UK rather than having to build up BIM from scratch themselves. Adam Matthews, the International Lead for the Centre for Digital Built Britain has been a key player in the promotion of the UK’s BIM expertise to various countries around the world and has been particularly active in Chile.

Adam told us that:

Adam Matthews“Chile is a great success story – it has grabbed the opportunity of a national strategy for digital construction with both hands.  We started working with the Chilean Government team “PlanBIM” in 2016 under a Government-to-Government Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  This involved workshops, training of the PlanBIM team and led to Chile developing their national BIM mandate based on the UK’s model and principles of BIM – adapted to suit the Chilean legal and technical capacity. It was done so with impressive speed and thought – and in a third of the time it took the UK!

“The International programme of the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) builds partnerships with governments around the world supporting their introduction of BIM to national infrastructure policy and to projects.  By creating a global approach to digital construction that is open and standards based, we facilitate bilateral growth in trade and national prosperity developments. Now, Chile is recognised as BIM leaders in Latin America.”

The PlanBIM team expect the mandate will act as a catalyst to drive change throughout the industry, similar to the UK’s approach. The result is that they’ve managed to distil their BIM requirements in a tighter, more stripped down way, making it seem more achievable than our experience in the UK so far. It is this concise approach and the fact that they have the luxury of defining their requirements before most start their BIM journey that will make Chile’s BIM ambitions ultimately achievable and Chile a place for us all to watch for new digital business opportunities.

This blog was originally featured on the David Miller Architects website, and is reproduced with permission.