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Centre for Digital Built Britain

 

Adam Matthews, Head of International, CDBB

Building information modelling (BIM) is at the heart of the digitalization of the global construction sector – a trend which will have far reaching implications for the sector, for governments and society. BIM is a standards-based methodology for the construction process, underpinned by digital technology, data and a digitally skilled workforce. It can dramatically boost the economic performance of the construction sector and help to improve social outcomes.

The size of the digital opportunity

The OECD prioritizes digitalization of industrial sectors as it offers, “unprecedented opportunities to raise efficiency and productivity, enable creativity and innovation, and increase competition and consumer welfare, while fostering social and economic progress.” The construction sector ecosystem is a vital part of the global economy, it accounts for 13%* of the global economy and delivers the world’s infrastructure which underpins social economic development and prosperity.

As governments identify ways to recover out of the pandemic crisis, there is wide acknowledgement that digital innovation will enable us to build back better and also be an engine for long-term sustainable growth.  By embedding digital in the design and delivery of construction projects, we will be able to develop sustainable infrastructure that is resilient to shock as well as responding to the ever-changing needs of the communities it serves.  In turn, the data-driven delivery of infrastructure through a digitally-enabled construction sector will unlock the economic forces that increase job opportunity for individuals, economic prosperity for communities, and a more sustainable future for the globe aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The size of the digital opportunity is bigger than we can fully comprehend given that the scale of the sector which is estimated to be worth approximately $10tn annually. The savings from efficiency and productivity improvements could be worth over $250bn per year. To put this in relative terms; if digitalization created a modest 3% efficiency saving over the next 10 years, it would cut the global infrastructure gap of $350bn per year by more than two-thirds by 2030! This is a prize well worth working towards.

The power of collaboration

One of the most striking developments over the past three years has been the strength of the collaboration between governments, and regional public sector communities, such as the EU BIM Task Group and the LATAM BIM Network for Governments. At the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) we have been partnering with more than  30 governments around the world on this digitalization opportunity for construction. Collectively, we all believe in the role that public sector leadership can play to contribute to this – the construction sector’s moment of digitalization. More recently, we have welcomed involvement of the multi-national organizations providing support for countries working to advance infrastructure delivery, including the Inter-American Development Bank.

Building on the success of this global partnership – we at the UK’s CDBB jointly with our partners around the world are forming a Global Network for the public sector on this vital digital agenda for the built environment. The Global Network aims to support the growth of an open standards-based digital construction sector. By sharing our experiences of national developments as public sector community we are better placed to serve our own national programs and encourage digital efficiencies and trade across this global sector. To launch the Global Network, we are hosting a Global BIM Summit online on 17 March 2021.

Join our Global community

For me personally, this global convergence and inclusivity is the most rewarding aspect of the digital agenda. The diversity of reach the across world, inclusive of genders, culture and age is truly inspiring.  

During the Global BIM Summit, we will experience this diversity first-hand by hearing from public sector representatives and investors about the national and regional BIM initiatives that are making a difference. We will discuss the global relevance of this digitalization agenda and explore the role that governments and investors can take to encourage digital uptake and address barriers within the global construction market. We will discuss how we can collaborate as a Global Network to foster inclusive growth and an open digital construction sector.

We are expecting attendance at the Global BIM Summit from more than 40 countries around the world. We would love for you to join in! Keep in touch below for news of the Global Summit “Pre-event Series” during February 2021. We look forward to you seeing you on 17 March 2021!

The Centre for Digital Built Britain’s International programme is funded by the Construction Innovation Hub via UK Research and Innovation and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

*McKinsey, June 2020, “The next normal in construction: How disruption is reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem”