2018 is a key year for implementing BIM in Spain

On 9th March the new Public Service Contract Law came into force which transposes European Directive 24/2014. The law allows Public Administrations to demand the use of the BIM methodology and the submission of a BIM model in contracts for construction projects and works.

Additionally, 31st December is the date set by the Ministry of Public Works to begin the so-called BIM Mandate for building projects, which is when the use of BIM will become mandatory for the Ministry’s building projects and those of its associate companies (ADIF, AENA, RENFE, etc.) whenever they exceed a certain Real Execution Budget value which is yet to be established. This minimum Real Execution Budget value will decrease over the next few years until 2025, when all the work of the Ministry of Public Works will be done via BIM methodologies.

Are we ready for the BIM Mandate?

Since its founding, building SMART Spanish Chapter (bSSCH) has promoted the use of BIM through different initiatives. Of particular note was the publication in 2014 of the first guides about BIM in Spanish, the UBIM guides[1], which have a set of 13 documents that test the use of BIM in different fields: architecture, structures, facilities, project management, construction work, etc.

That is why at bSSCH it was thought that the digitalisation process of the sector in Spain, as with other countries, like the UK, France or Germany, could not solely depend on bottom-up strategies, and they put forward the need to lead this process to the Ministry of Public Works.

A short time later, on 14th July 2015, the national esBIM commission was established[2], governed by the Public Works Minister Ms. Ana Pastor, and coordinated by Jorge Torrico, from the public engineering company INECO, with the participation of 50 public and private organisations such as SEOPAN, CEPCO, TECHNIBERIA, bSSCH and the Professional Association of Architects or Engineers.

Since its creation, the es.BIM commission presented December 2018 as the start date for the BIM Mandate and it is launching a series of actions that will help the sector to adapt to a new reality, whilst other Regional Public Adminstrations are deciding to demand the use of BIM in their projects before this BIM Mandate comes into force. Amongst them is the Catalonian firm infraestructures.cat, which has completed around 100 BIM pilot projects and has recently published a BIM Guide about how their projects should be performed.

This use of BIM in public projects is being compiled by the es.BIM observatory[3], where they look at how it is steadily increasing, reaching 84 projects with BIM requirements between January 2017 and March 2018.

Furthermore, the availability of training in BIM has increased considerably since the Ministry’s announcement, both at universities and professional associations.

As a result, we find that:

  • Around 25% of construction firms have already started to use BIM.
  • More than 90% of professionals have heard about BIM and
  • 35% of professionals that take part in design stages use BIM. EsBIM Survey 2017.

Next steps. Creating the BIM environment and preparing the way for BIM infrastructure

Taking into account the high number of companies and professionals from the construction industry in Spain, it is vitally important to hold fairs such as BIMEXPO and informative conferences where the most advanced companies can act as leaders for the rest.

But, as we know, transforming companies or people isn’t enough; we also need to create the right environment for BIM use.

Therefore, at both the es.BIM commission and bSSCH, as well as in other companies, a series of initiatives are being implemented that will help clients and the sector to deal with BIM projects in a coordinated way:

  • By establishing recommendations that will enable BIM to be a part of public tenders.
  • By creating a BIM Performance Plan workforce that will help companies and their clients to define BIM’s reach in their projects.
  • By promoting the use of related open standards like IFC for communicating between agents, GUBIMCLASS for classifying information, and eCOB for creating BIM objects.

BIM Mandate, a milestone in the digitalisation process

The BIM Mandate launch date does not mean the end of the traditional sector, but a milestone in a process of transformation and digitalisation in the construction industry, with other related milestones regarding the use of BIM in infrastructure to follow.

In relation to the use of BIM in infrastructure, the Ministry of Public Works has launched the  2018-2020 Transport and Infrastructure Innovation Plan, which analyses the use of BIM in airports, train stations, ports and linear infrastructure and includes a series of pilot projects.

It is therefore a heads-up that reality is changing and companies will need to adapt if they don’t want to be left behind in a sector that is becoming ever more competitive and digital.


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