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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. Nigel Muños Oro at the United Nations Office for Project Services reflects on technology as a tool to promote fair and equal public management. 

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) works with national public bodies and international organisations to promote sustainable and inclusive development through the planning and implementation of public infrastructure projects and portfolios with a focus on fair and equitable public management. In recent years, UNOPS partners have become increasingly interested in applying the best project management practices through the use of technological tools in the planning, design and monitoring stages of projects.  

Public infrastructure is a driver of economic growth, social development and well-being in the populations most in need. In this respect, the priority of UNOPS is to add value to its partners by strengthening the capacities of its counterparts and suppliers. In this way UNOPS promotes collaboration and exchange of knowledge between countries both for BIM technology and efficient project management by sharing lessons learned and good practice. 

Working together with its partners, UNOPS is succeeding in incorporating BIM tools, notably in Latin America. For example, it supports Argentina's Ministry of the Interior, Public Works and Housing to develop analysis of existing gaps in its implemention of BIM. UNOPS is also developing a roadmap to strengthen the team responsible for overseeing delivery, and identifying actions to secure BIM in building programmes and projects in Argentina. In El Salvador, a country where the BIM methodology is at an incipient level, UNOPS has supported the Executive Commission of the Port Authority (CEPA) to use this technology in one of its key projects, the expansion of San Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez International Airport. This project has generated positive and tangible results, not only improving the quality of the projects and transparency of their management, but also strengthening the capacities of local staff. In Costa Rica, UNOPS currently works with organisations including the National Women's Institute and the Ministry of Culture. 

While progress has been made, there is still significant room for improvement. Challenges remain, such as the lack of a clear guide or standards to use in contracting documents for both construction and design. Another challenge is standardising processes between different institutions to guarantee the transfer of knowledge, the strengthening of capacities and gradual technological transformation making incorporation of BIM in the public project management system a crucial driver of change. There is, without doubt, a need to elevate the conversation to a national and regional level. Staff working in public bodies at both levels require the knowledge and tools to enable them to innovate and improve the management of projects while contributing to the implementation of fair and equitable public management. 

As an organisation, UNOPS recognises that a mechanism for global collaboration brings numerous benefits at various levels. One of these is the opportunity to incorporate diversity in how projects are approached and planned through sharing lessons learned and good practice between countries in different parts of the world. In addition, there is real benefit to knowing that it is not necessary to work in isolation and that there are colleagues who can be contacted and collaborations and synergies created to help achieve targets Whatever the challenge is – be it the initial planning of a project, the incorporation of technical requirements in a tender process or the creation of a roadmap for the development of a national policy that supports and promotes the use of BIM technology in the country – sharing knowledge and experience will help everyone overcome problems and claim the prize. 

  • The online Global BIM Summit on 17 March 2021 will connect 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, which is expected to attract attendees from more than 40 countries worldwide, will officially launch the Global BIM Network. The Global BIM Summit will take place online at 11.00 (GMT) and 15.00 (GMT) to account for time differences globally.  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)