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Centre for Digital Built Britain

 

The Centre for Digital Built Britain’s International work stream has championed the foundation of successful collaborations between international governments and regional public sector communities resulting in the forthcoming launch of a Global BIM Network for the public sector. Ahead of the CDBB-convened inaugural Global BIM Summit on 17 March 2021, which officially launches the Global BIM Network, a number of representatives from partner countries share the in-country experience of collaborating to implement a national programme of digital change. Jaroslav Nechyba from the Czech Agency for Standardization reflects on how digitalisation brings cooperation without borders.  

Borders lose meaning in the digital world. Technology allows us to work together regardless of geographical barriers and collaboration is one of the pillars of digitalisation. Ability to share experience and knowledge widely allows us to face the challenges of the digital world more easily. That´s why we have to build the future primarily on cooperation.  

The world around us is changing. And it's not just the COVID-19 pandemic – the digital vortex began to change our world long before COVID-19 appeared. That said, the experience of the last year has become a significant accelerator of change. Due to resrictions on travel and everyday life, the benefits of digitalisation have been much better understood. 

The construction industry has historically been perceived as a very conservative sector. But digitalisation has brought opportunities for collaboration around the globe and opened up the market to global competition. Digitalisation is no longer simply a means to gain a competitive edge; it is a prerequisite to succeed in the competitive environment of the digital world. To optimise opportunities that a global market brings, there is need for global collaboration and cooperation in creating standards and similar processes – the ‘shared language’ offered by BIM.  Of course, this poses a challenge: to be able to adapt international standards to meet the needs of the local environment. 

Government as a driver of change

BIM is one of the key processes supporting digital construction. In the Czech Republic, the czBIM Task Group was established in 2011 marking the beginnings of cooperation across the market. Thanks to the activities of this group of experts, BIM attracted the attention of the public sector resulting in the BIM Implementation Strategy being co-developed and consequently approved by the government in September 2017.        

The Ministry of Industry and Trade initiated the establishment of the BIM Strategy department under the Czech Agency for Standardisation in 2018. This Agency provides expert support for the whole implementation process by preparing methodology, guidelines, procedures and standards for the use of BIM – which can be deployed by both the public and private sectors at national level. Implementing BIM requires close cooperation with the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure (SFDI), and also coordination of activities with many private enterprise associations such as CACE (the Czech Association of Consulting Engineers), SVS (responsible for water management infrastructure), CzBIM and others. Thanks to these activities, there has been significantly increased awareness of BIM as an effective information management tool.    

The digitalisation of the construction sector is not an isolated process. Following the adoption of the Digital Czechia Strategy by the Czech government in 2018, the BIM Strategy became an integral part of its programmes. Gradually, digitised processes across public administration will become increasingly interconnected rather than existing in silos. Recently, the implementation timeline for the BIM Strategy – marked by mandatory milestones – has been aligned with the start of the digital Building Permit Procedure. This means there will be a direct connection between digital technical maps and the planned national geoportal in the future. Digital technical maps (DTMs) are digital maps for land zoning plans for a particular area in the country, which has its own zoning plan, using a standardised format. They form part of the national strategy how to digitalise and combine all zoning plans across the Czech Republic. Only the technical and liner/ transport infrastructure can be found in DTM at the moment. All DTMs are going to be inter-connected via the national geoportal. All these initiatives combined will support the future digital built environment model.     .      

Cooperation on the path to interconnection 

The interconnection of digital construction with other public agendas is not possible without standardisation. One example is a uniform classification system, which is one of the key parts of the ‘common language’ required for digital construction. One example is a uniform classification system, which is one of the key parts of the ‘common language’ required for digital construction. Developing the Construction Classification International (CCI) system clearly shows the importance of international cooperation. CCI is a new classification system developed by several EU countries and maintained by international organisation CCI International, founded in 2020. If the market is global, standards can´t be local. It is obvious that cooperation is key to success, and it invites us to use our human potential and the resources we have at our disposal much more effectively. Sharing both good and bad experience within the EU Task Group allows us to move much faster than we would on our own. Expanding cooperation around the world, thanks to the Global BIM Network, will be another important incentive that will move us ever closer to the digital age.

  • The online Global BIM Summit took place on 17 March 2021, connecting investors, the public sector and industry to mark the launch of a global public sector policy and procurement network which will accelerate digital change across global construction. The Global BIM Summit officially launched the Global BIM Network.
  • See full details and event programme at www.globalbimsummit.org
  • The Global BIM Network is supported by the Construction Innovation Hub (CIH) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO