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Centre for Digital Built Britain

 

In the second of our CDBB Week 2019 International blog series telling the in-country experience of partner countries, Carolina Soto, Executive Director of Planbim Corfo reflects on the digital transformation journey to date in Chile.

In 2015, the State of Chile began encouraging the adoption of BIM by its public institutions, creating PlanBIM, an initiative that is part of Corfo and its Digital Transformation Committee, under the Ministry of Economy. By using the State's purchasing power as the main engine, PlanBIM is driving the process of implementing BIM in public institutions.

When this process began in 2016, the PlanBIM team had the support of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office through the Prosperity Fund, and the collaboration of representatives from the UK BIM Task Group, who supported the methodological transfer to Chile of the implementation of UK BIM in public projects. This work, which was formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the UK (BEIS) and Chile (Corfo and Ministry of Public Works), and the UK support provided Chile with lessons learned, helping to develop a national vision and, from this, build a national plan that was adapted to the needs of the Chilean construction sector.

PlanBIM then developed a local strategy focused on the incorporation of BIM in the processes of public institutions, in the training of its teams, and in the generation of standardised requirements for building and public infrastructure projects.

The challenges

The BIM implementation process in Chile has faced several challenges including: a lack of awareness in the Chilean construction sector about the methodology and technologies associated with BIM and its benefits; the all-too-common practice of fragmented work due to low levels of planning, rare use of standards related to information flows by the construction industry; and the lack of professionals and technicians trained in BIM, among others.

That said, we have made important progress in addressing these challenges. Improving the lack of training, PlanBIM developed a BIM Roles Matrix in 2017 in which five roles were defined along with the BIM capabilities required for them to be performed. From this Matrix, PlanBIM has developed workshops with academic institutions to encourage the incorporation of BIM in their curricula. Based on this work, and other developments – both public and private – at the level of university education, for example, the teaching of BIM has started to become more widespread, and the percentage of careers on AEC, which include BIM content, has increased to 84 per cent.

The poor use of standards was addressed in 2018, through multisectoral work featuring standards such as the ISO 19650, based on the UK’s PAS1192 information management standard enabling PlanBIM to develop the BIM Standard for Public Projects. This first BIM standard in Chile defines and guides the process of exchanging information between public institutions and private companies that participate in work tenders. The Spanish version of this document was published in June 2019 and the English version will be available in October 2019 at www.planbim.cl

In 2018, PlanBIM began the formation of a BIM Network of Latin American Governments with the aim of building a shared vision for the government programmes that promote BIM in the region. This enables countries to exchange information, experiences and explore potential common goals and collaborative efforts between them. The first meeting of this network had the participation of CDBB (under our MoU) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). This Network today is made up of eight countries and has support and funding of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Additionally, with the help of CDBB, we are looking to establish connections to other regional networks, such as the EU BIM Task Group.

Benefits of collaboration

The collaboration of the UK BIM Task Group and working with CDBB helped us to:

  • develop and implement a structured strategy and a roadmap for the implementation of BIM for public projects that has been well received and understood by the main public institutions that develop infrastructure
  • develop a BIM standard for public projects that is aligned with international standards, including ISO 19650 based on the UK’s PAS1192
  • create standardised methodologies, focused on the processes, to implement BIM in public projects, following the example of the UK
  • raise awareness in the sector about the need to implement BIM, its benefits, and also the gaps in our industry.

The collaboration between PlanBIM, CDBB and the UK BIM Task Group has enabled us to understand that, on the one hand, it was vital that the Chilean BIM implementation strategy should be aligned with international strategies, but that in turn, given the specific cultural, economic and legal conditions of our country, it was not possible to make a literal adoption of the British strategy. Therefore, the lessons learned from the British experience, and its methodological base focused on the processes, were collected and adapted to the context of our industry. This allows us to ensure that Chile has a plan that responds to its specific needs and at the same time is aligned to the international view – rather than a ‘copy and paste’ strategy, it was a ‘copy and adapt’ model.

Challenges now tend to be related, mainly, to the lack of a culture of using standards for the transfer of information, the low adoption of methodology and technologies in general, and the gaps regarding BIM competencies of the actors that are part of the sector.

Strategic and shared values

We want to continue working together with CDBB, highlighting the strategic value of promoting activities that align the respective national BIM strategies. We believe that the progress in terms of BIM Level 3 and the digital transformation of the construction sector in the UK is very necessary for Chile. We hope that the collaboration will strengthen the digital transformation of the industry and the opportunities for trade and development at the bilateral level between the United Kingdom and Chile and at the regional level in Latin America.. The future is to grow trade opportunities – based on our common definitions and understanding of BIM.

PlanBIM has set the goal to incorporate BIM into public projects by 2020. The incorporation of these requirements will be gradual and to achieve it we are working with the main public infrastructure clients that develop buildings and infrastructure incorporating BIM requirements based on the public standard. And, at the same time, we are building capability and capacity within their teams.

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