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As part of our series of CDBB International blogs to mark CDBB Week 2019, Andressa Mares Guia Milhomens, Coordinator and International Trade Analyst for the Ministry of Economy, Brazil, reflects on the in-country experience from Brazil setting out the challenges and opportunities of developing the Brazilian BIM Strategy.

Working with the CDBB International team has been very positive for Brazil. The knowledge and information exchange that is part of the UK national strategy for dissemination of BIM has been very important in the creation of the Brazilian BIM Strategy. In addition to the exchange of knowledge and experience, it provided opportunity for federal government civil servants to meet with professionals from the British government, private companies and academia, enhancing the knowledge of Brazilian professionals in BIM. There is no question that CDBB is an important partner for Brazil.

In a country of continental dimensions like Brazil, the construction sector contains extremes. BIM technology, in particular, has been adopted in Brazil for only about a decade. According to a survey conducted by Ibre-FGV, in March 2018, only 9.2 per cent of companies use it. There is still a lack of knowledge about the technology and the advantages of its application – there is also a lack of people with skills for collaboration and communication through 3D, 4D, 5D, 6D and other technologies. Another challenge the Brazilian Government faces is the low productivity of construction companies compared to other countries.

The main challenges have revolved around the dissemination and capacity building of BIM use in both the private and public sectors.   The Brazilian Government understands the importance of its adoption and launched the Brazilian BIM Strategy in 2018 in order to promote a suitable environment for the investment in BIM and its dissemination in the country.  With its implementation, the Government expects to ensure productivity gains for the building and infrastructure sector; assure quality gains in public projects, contribute to sustainability gains through waste reduction; contribute to the improvement of transparency in bidding processes and raise the level of professional qualification in construction skills.

The collaboration with CDBB started at the end of 2016.  Lessons learned through the visits and workshops, the valuable support from British experts in optimising BIM dissemination, and the exchange of best practices between British and Brazilian public estate organisations were key to the design of the Brazilian BIM Strategy. 

Collaboration began with meetings with the Brazilian Government to raise awareness of the importance of implementing BIM in the country and identifying the benefits for Brazil.  In December 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed and there has been productive collaboration since.  Brazilian civil servants have visited the UK three times, enabling meetings between British specialists and the Brazilian Government to focus on areas including: technological infrastructure; information security; human resources training; government procurement communication; and regulation, among others.

The collaboration with the CDBB team has been extremely important both for capacity building and lessons learned throughout the process of developing the Brazilian BIM Strategy and is still ongoing during its implementation.  A workshop in December 2017 specifically supported the design of the Brazilian BIM Strategy and an additional workshop in March 2019 focused on the pilot programmes that are part of the Brazilian Strategy.

BIM represents a paradigm break for the construction industry. Like every paradigm shift, the main challenges related to BIM implementation in Brazil concern the lack of knowledge and qualification of professionals for its use.  Qualification problems involve the inclusion of BIM in undergraduate curricula and postgraduate courses, the creation of BIM laboratories and the training of public servants.  We need to drive dissemination of BIM usage for both the private and public sectors as well as to promote training programmes and academic studies. That said, there is a lack of virtual libraries to obtain ready-made items for BIM, so this challenge must be addressed.

The Brazilian BIM strategy makes BIM mandatory for contracting with the federal government, creating a major driver for BIM in construction and infrastructure projects. The Strategy proposes the use and requirement of BIM in three phases. The first one, which will start in January 2021, is focused on architectural and engineering projects for new constructions, extensions or rehabilitations. In this phase, the requirement of BIM will be proposed in the elaboration of architectural and engineering models related to the structure, hydraulics, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and electrical disciplines, crash detection and in the architecture and engineering model revision, quantitative extraction and the generation of graphical documentation from these models.

The second phase, from January 2024 onwards, should include the application of BIM in the direct or indirect execution of architectural and engineering projects and also works, relating to new constructions, renovations, extensions or rehabilitations. This phase will also cover the budgeting and planning of the execution of works and the model updating and its information as built.

The third phase, starting in January 2028, should include the application of BIM to architectural and engineering projects and works related to new constructions, renovations, extensions and rehabilitations. In addition to the uses provided for in the previous phases, this phase will cover the management and maintenance services of the project after its construction, whose architectural and engineering projects and works have been carried out or executed with the application of BIM.