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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

As we approach the start of a new year, Adam Matthews, Head of CDBB’s International Programme reflects on some of the highlights of 2019 and looks forward to the year ahead.

In early 2019 the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) awarded the role of delivery partner for the Building Information Modelling (BIM) Pathfinder programme to Mott MacDonald. The BIM Pathfinder programme is part of the cross-government Prosperity-funded Global Infrastructure Programme (GIP) and a key component of the UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) strategy, which aims to remove barriers to economic growth and promote sustainable development needed to reduce poverty in partner countries.

The UK has developed a national methodology for the introduction of BIM to help partner countries achieve their own policy goals, for example, increasing productivity, reducing infrastructure cost overruns and delays; and delivering better quality assets.  The programme also develops commercial opportunities between the UK and partner countries by creating a common understanding and establishing standards that sustain global trade.

Much progress has been made this year working collaboratively across three pathfinder countries – Indonesia, Vietnam and Colombia – and in capacity build countries including Brazil, Mexico, and Peru.

Colombia Workshop Bogota, October 2019

CDBB and Mott MacDonald visited Bogota to facilitate a three-day BIM workshop alongside FCO at the British Embassy. The goal of the workshop was to develop the business case for BIM in Colombia. Activities were undertaken by the 25-strong BIM Working Group to create outputs that fed into the national case. Engagement was  impressive and the final content rich. Juan Rossi, BIM Consultant and Senior Architect at Mott MacDonald presented at a BIM for Transparency event introducing the GIP teams working with Colombia and highlighting likely next steps. Following these events, a draft Outline Policy Document was formed using the workshop discussions and outputs for further advancement by the Colombia BIM Working Group. 

A notable successful outcome of the workshop is the inclusion of BIM in the wide-ranging Digital Transformation CONPES (El Consejo Nacional de Política Económica y Social) which is now the political instrument for driving BIM throughout Colombia. 

BIM Working Group, Bogata, Columbia


Colombia Columbian Infrastructure Congress (CCI) Conference Cartagena, October 2019

British Ambassador to Colombia Colin Martin-Reynolds was the UK Government’s host at this major event. CDBB and Mott MacDonald participated in several meetings and presentations highlighting the partnership between the UK and Colombia across FCO, Prosperity and DIT-related activities. A strong contingent of UK exporters, including Arup, Mott MacDonald, Gleeds, PwC and Turner & Townsend among others were also in attendance fostering trade opportunities between Colombia and the UK.

The BIM methodology was the announcement by newly-appointed Deputy Head of Colombia’s National Planning Department (DNP), Daniel Gómez Gaviria, of the CONPES National Policy for Digital Transformation featuring BIM as a required methodology to be introduced across public procurement. Colombia’s BIM Working Group is now developing a plan of action and meetings with representatives from Colombia’s DNP have secured support to advance progress in early 2020.  


CCI Conference, main auditorium and FDN Team with GIP


Mexico Stakeholder Engagement, November 2019

As part of GIP, Mott MacDonald visited Mexico City to engage with Mexican stakeholders for BIM, meeting with government bodies including Hacienda Investment, Hacienda Official Mayor, the Chamber of Deputies and the Rail Regulation Agency. The key private sector stakeholder CMIC (Chamber of the Construction Industry) was also consulted on progress and blockers of BIM adoption in Mexico.  A workshop was held with Standards Body ONNCCE (Organismo Nacional de Normalización y Certificación de la Construcción y Edificación) to discuss the roadmap and next steps required for the use of the international BIM Standard ISO19650 in Mexico. A roadmap of activities has been drawn up following the visit and we look forward to helping implement the plan during 2020.


ONNCCE group photo


Peru Taskforce and Workshop, November 2019

The Peru Infrastructure Task Force event was attended by the GIP team. Michael Riley, DIT Infrastructure Lead presented on the GIP work with Peru, including BIM methodology. The discussions around the use of BIM continued during the second day, including meetings with key MEF (Ministry of Economy and Finance) team members. 
This event was followed by a three-day BIM Workshop in Lima. More than 30 Peruvian stakeholders attended the workshop, which was held to help form the BIM Strategy Document. The event was well received and resulted in an action plan being created for the next six months. 

Peru group photo


Vietnam Client Training, November 2019

CDBB and Mott MacDonald delivered BIM client training with four key Vietnamese Ministries, including the Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Transport.
The training events took place in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. More than 300 people received the training carried out over a three-week period. The focus was on how to specify the use of BIM on projects, aligned with the ISO 19650 standard. This will help these key clients request BIM on future projects in a standard and clear way. 
In addition to training the Ministries, a ‘train the trainer’ event was held leading to Vietnamese colleagues presenting some of the training themselves in the final sessions. The ‘train the trainer’ exercise creates lasting impacts equipping the Vietnamese team to train a wider audience to drive and increase the specification of BIM on future projects. 

Train the trainer, Vietnam


Argentina Buenos Aires, Regional Latam Government’s BIM Network Fourth Meeting

Argentina Buenos Aires, Regional Latam Government’s BIM Network Fourth Meeting, 26-27 November

Under GIP, CDBB has provided support and advice to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Chile to form a regional network of Latin American Governments. This important group will help accelerate and align the introduction of BIM to policy and public procurement of infrastructure throughout the region – and importantly align with international standards. 

The network called ‘Latam Government’s BIM Network’, held its fourth meeting in Buenos Aires, hosted by Andrea Paladin of the Ministry for Interior and Public Works, where I was invited to present on behalf of the UK and EU BIM Task Group, the formation of regional networks and global collaboration of the public sector on BIM. This group elected its first president, Carolina Soto of Chile’s planBIM – a long-term colleague of CDBB – who will help greatly with regional alignment to international BIM standards which will support trade in the region and internationally. There is great potential to build and harness this growing regional and global collaboration of governments in support of social and economic impact through the use of digitalisation policy in the infrastructure sector.

Buenos Aires Latam Regional Government’s BIM network group


As lead of CDBB’s International team I look forward to continuing working on the BIM Pathfinder programme with Mott MacDonald and our partner countries to deliver prosperity benefits and improve infrastructure delivery by introducing digital technology, while facilitating trade across national borders for partner countries, internationally and with the UK.

Contact: Adam Matthews