Monday 6 February 2017

Is Germany ready for Building Information Modeling?

On January 17, 2017 Scott Chatterton, International Building Information Modeling (BIM) Integration Lead and Digital Design Leader for BIM Planning and Quality, HDR, Inc. and Dereje Alemu, BIM Director at HDR TMK in Germany, together played an active part in the advancement of BIM with their presentation at the “Future of Building” at the BAU 2017 in Munich, Germany. The two HDR BIM representatives presented the “Perspective of Global BIM Adoption” to a compelled audience within an extraordinary setting of other well-known BIM experts at the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials and Systems. Focusing on a better understanding of international approaches to BIM and levels of BIM adoption that currently vary widely from continent to continent, they presented crucial driving factors that have influenced BIM adoption in North America, Australasia, Africa, the Middle East,  and especially Germany. How ready is Germany for BIM adoption? The two BIM experts were asked to share some of their personal impressions on BIM adoption in Germany reviewing the event.

What challenges do you see regarding BIM adoption in Germany?

Scott Chatterton: Germany faces a number of unique challenges in the adoption of BIM. The challenge I see especially in Europe is the diversity of BIM applications and software. As the BIM software market develops in Europe the demand for a stable universal platform, such as Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) will develop, currently we are seeing issues collaborating on multiple platforms. This needs to be resolved so as to facilitate collaboration. Cloud collaboration applications may also be a solution to this issue as we are globally seeing an increase in utilizing cloud technology in the collaboration process involving all parties of the project.
©: Messe München GmbH

How can we find solutions for BIM development in Germany?

Chatterton: Germany is in a good position to take advantages of the lessons learned and the processes already developed in countries that have already adopted BIM. Take a close look at how BIM has had an impact on the workflow and the processes that were developed as a result of BIM adoption in other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Companies in Germany can then utilize this information when developing their own BIM workflow. By referring to these proven methods you will be able to develop your own processes faster and implement BIM quicker.

What is your outlook for BIM adoption in Germany? When is Germany ready for “real” BIM?

Chatterton: I personally think Germany is ready for BIM now. “Real” BIM won’t be achievable until more and more companies adopt BIM and are able to collaborate together on a BIM platform, the rate of BIM adoption will increase rapidly as the competitive advantages of BIM are realized. It is never too early to adopt BIM. In fact, adopting BIM early will place your business at a competitive advantage as the markets demand for projects to be completed utilizing BIM increases. Now is the time to develop the BIM skills and processes to position yourself as a leader utilizing BIM technology and process.

BIM project: Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement, RamsteinWeilerbach
Germany © HDR, Inc. and HDR TMK Planungsgesellschaft mbH. 

From your German point of view, Dereje, what is your outlook for BIM adoption in Germany? What is practically needed to push BIM broadly throughout Germany?

Dereje Alemu: Well, I am nearly as optimistic as Scott Chatterton. Nevertheless, we need more obligatory practical and theoretical training on BIM provided and pushed by universities and architectural associations in Germany. Young architects arriving directly from our universities should be used to work with the BIM method. In consequence, this generation would be directly ready for BIM and practical BIM projects. Moreover, this would push the change management in architectural companies, even in smaller ones, to provide essential training for all of their staff bringing them to a suitable level of BIM collaboration. Moreover, in Germany we need to extend our existing structures of interdisciplinary collaboration implementing BIM as this is a known requirement of “real” BIM projects. I personally think universities and architectural associations can play a key role to accelerate this aspect of BIM development, too. Finally, BIM is an investment for architectural companies – but, I strongly believe it pays off. 
©: Messe München GmbH

Finally Scott and Dereje, how did you like the special BIM occasion at on the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture?

Chatterton: I loved it! It was great to see the audience participation and interest in Building Information Modeling.

Alemu: It was a great BIM event and I would love to follow up the discussions with this interested BIM audience as soon as possible.

Thank you both very much for sharing your impressions!

©: Messe München GmbH

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