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
International Blog - Collaboration in Uruguay

The CDBB International programme engages with countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia, North America and Africa. Adam Matthews, head of the International team, reports on the latest collaboration in Uruguay.

CDBB International’s engagement in the Latin America region is on-going and gaining momentum. We have enjoyed collaboration with Chile, Brazil and Mexico, where we work with governments and policy makers to support the national value proposition of adopting a standards-based approach to BIM using international and UK developed best practices, standards and tools.

Introducing BIM as a digital strategy for construction brings public good benefits - increasing value for money spent, delivering better social care and improving the quality of the built environment in a way that encourages greater prosperity for the country.

Recently we welcomed an approach by the Uruguayan Government to look at BIM as a national strategy and consider the benefits that could drive digital transformation. This enquiry led to an invitation to provide a series of workshops to exchange information at a national level with key bodies from the Uruguayan Government who wanted to explore how a BIM transformation could support and help Uruguay, a small country of about 3.5m people, secure digital transformation. 

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has a policy as well as a funding role with governments throughout Latin America and the organisation has been a powerful advocate of the benefits of digital transformation and keen to partner with us in a number of countries and at regional level. The IDB recognises the value of our programme and we have been working with them for approaching a year. The organisation understands the value proposition that implementing BIM as a national policy can bring. Benefits extend beyond increasing sector skills, efficiency and performance – they enable more infrastructure to be built without additional cost by removing waste and inefficiencies that currently exist in most construction projects. This interest led to the IDB participating in the workshop in Uruguay, held in November last year, marking one of the first UK and IDB collaborations of this kind.

Coordinated by Uruguay’s National Development Corporation (CND), the workshop convened a number of government agencies. The two-and-a-half-day workshop started by considering the big picture. What are the benefits to Uruguay at a national level of this programme of change? What economic, societal, technical and political challenges can the programme address? What are the challenges BIM could support? Understanding these issues helps to identify what actions might need to be taken to bring into effect the positive impact and outcomes that BIM could deliver.

The second part of the workshop focused on strategy. How does Uruguay approach this process of change? How does the country introduce change progressively into policy and procurement, and who needs to be engaged in government and industry?

The outcome from the short and intensive workshop was an emerging common understanding and alignment born from collaboration between the IDB and a number of cross-government offices. Officials who had not met before came together and realised they could be part of a broader ambition and vision and this realisation was both positive and powerful. During the workshop the Uruguayan Government announced the value of having a BIM policy. While this announcement had been in the making for some time, the introduction as a national policy during our workshop was fortuitous.

Uruguay has started its journey to digital transformation by identifying a pathway. The IDB is providing funding to a number of Latin American countries in support of their national BIM programmes. Uruguay will now define the actions required, immediate steps and long-term roadmap to deliver change and we very much hope to be part of the country’s next step. 

Contact: Adam Matthews