In comparison with two years ago, currently more architects are aware of Building information Modeling (BIM). Although slowly, the number of users is also increasing. While in the UK and the Netherlands a significant share of the architects have already certain experience in using BIM, their French, Spanish and Italian colleagues still have to increase their general knowledge about BIM. 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.
Since 2009, Arch-Vision has monitored the penetration of BIM among the European architects. The advantages of BIM are well known and based on this fact, the spread of BIM usage was expected to grow. Especially when principals and investors are searching ways for minimising failure costs, which can help them build better, faster and cheaper. The process of BIM adoption however, goes slowly in most of the Western European countries where the European Architectural Barometer is being conducted. The latest survey shows that most of the European architects are still in a very early stage of getting acquainted with BIM. In countries like France, Spain and Italy there is a vast majority of architects who still have never heard of BIM. And although there are clear improvements in comparison with two years ago, BIM nevertheless has a long way to go in Europe.
An exception from this are the Dutch and the British architects where in two years time (since 2011) the usage of BIM has grown significantly: with 20 percentage points in the UK and with about 10 percentage points in the Netherlands respectively. Those two countries were also the forerunners in 2011, and in 2013, they are still in the lead. With governmental actions, e. g. the Governmental Construction Strategy of 2011 in the UK, which announced the Governments initiative to require collaborative 3D BIM for its projects by 2016, the awareness of BIM in the UK has grown significantly. Architectural companies that would like to remain competitive for governmental projects have started implementing BIM (in 2013, 6% of all British architects pointed out to be using BIM in all their projects, and 17% use it in increasingly more projects). The Dutch Governmental building agency has as well introduced the BIM standard, which is required in first instance for DBFMO projects.
With the countries’ governments understanding the benefits of BIM and requiring it for their projects, the process of BIM adoption will go faster. The savings that can be made during the whole design, building and exploitation of the buildings will become more and more attractive to the investors and principals as well. 24% of the Dutch architects say they already receive requests by investors and clients for projects to be done in BIM. The same refers to 14% of the British architects.
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.