Architects expect manufacturers of building products to become ready for BIM

While more European architects show involvement with BIM, the need of support from the manufacturers with respect to BIM is also increasing. The first steps of the preparation work the manufacturers should do are clearer. Architects expect the BIM information and 3D objects for the products and assortment to become available and free of charge. These are some of the conclusions of the Q4 2013 European Architectural Barometer report, a quarterly research among 1,600 architects in eight European countries. European architects act as a leading indicator for the construction activities.

With the increasing awareness and usage of BIM among the architectural companies in Europe, the expectations towards the manufacturers of building materials and products become also clearer. BIM should be taken into account by the manufacturers, and especially if they would like their products to be considered in the early stage of the bigger projects where BIM is mostly used at the moment.

The manufacturers who would like to create a competitive advantage and be ahead with BIM will have to think about facilitating the architects and engineering companies in the first place with: technical product information/ specifications for BIM; making the BIM product information available for the open source BIM libraries, and providing 3D BIM object information for their assortment. Those are the three main requirements that come as a result from almost all 8 countries where the European Architectural Barometer project was carried out.

The next step for the manufacturers of becoming BIM ready and providing support to the architects includes also the ability of the manufacturers to engineer in BIM. But this is a requirement coming mainly from the German (32%) and Dutch architects (20%), and to a lesser extent from their Italian (12%) and Belgian colleagues (14%).

It should be noted that at this point the majority of architects using BIM prefer downloading the BIM files from the website of the manufacturer, and only the Belgians would prefer to go to a general platform/ library collecting BIM information from different manufacturers. It can be expected, however, that such platforms will become more commonly used, once being enriched with BIM information by more manufacturers and a bigger variety of products.

These and many other results and trends of the developments of the European construction market can be found in the European Architectural Barometer, an international market research conducted among 1,600 architects in Europe. This study is conducted in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland by Arch-Vision four times a year. Besides indicators to forecast the European building volumes, a specific topic is highlighted each quarter. The topic in Q4 2013 was “Building Information Modelling (BIM)”. Architects can be used not only as a reliable source for future building volumes information, but their role is very important as they have great influence on how projects are built and which materials are used.