The European construction sector is at the centre of a tough but also promising set of economic, environmental and societal challenges. The sector represents 9% of EU GDP and employs 18 million people. It is a driver for economic growth and home to 3 million enterprises, most of which are SMEs.
Climate change, resource efficiency, greater demands on social care, urbanisation and immigration, an ageing infrastructure, the need to stimulate economic growth, as well as constrained budgets: These are challenges faced by governments, public infrastructure owners and our society as a whole. An innovative, competitive and growing construction sector is a crucial component for tackling these challenges.
Similar to other sectors, construction is now seeing its own “digital Revolution”, having previously benefitted from only modest productivity improvements. Building Information Modelling (“BIM”) is being adopted rapidly by different parts of the value chain as a strategic tool to deliver cost savings, productivity and operations efficiencies, improved infrastructure quality and better environmental performance.
The future is here, and the moment has now come to build a common European approach for this sector. Both public procurement – which is accountable for a major share of construction expenditure – and policy makers can play a pivotal role to encourage the wider use of BIM in support of innovation and sustainable growth, while actively including our SMEs – and generating better value for money for the European taxpayer.
The EU BIM Task Group, which is supported by the European Commission, was recently conferred the first ever European BIM Summit Award for its pioneering work on a common framework for the wider introduction to and provision of a common definition of BIM for the public sector in Europe.
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