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Global BIM Standards: Is Your Country Next?

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is quickly becoming the standard amongst major countries. In fact, many now have BIM standards mandating that certain BIM levels are achieved on projects. Read on to see if your country is listed, and if so, what they are doing in terms of BIM adoption.


What is BIM?

Although definitions vary, Building Information Modeling, or BIM, can be described as an intelligent, collaborative process used in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) industry that involves collaboration within a 3D model. BIM allows AEC firms to collaborate in order to design and analyze building systems quickly and efficiently, reduce cost, and add value to their projects. In addition, teams can use 3D virtual models to manage and collect data on buildings and structures.


What are BIM levels?

BIM levels refer to levels of BIM maturity, which range from Level 0 to Level 3 and beyond. Level 0 refers to no collaboration being done, where 2D CAD is utilized instead of 3D. Level 1 BIM is the most common level at which organizations are operating, which usually consists of 3D CAD for concepting, 2D for drafting of approval documentation, and shared data in a CDE (Common Data Environment) managed by the contractor.

Level 2 BIM is slightly more advanced, where each party in a team uses their own 3D CAD model but may not collaborate in a single, shared model. According to the NBS, the collaboration in Level 2 comes in the form of how information is exchanged between different parties.

Level 3 BIM can be defined as full team collaboration amongst all parties and disciplines using a single, shared project model. In Level 3, each party can access and modify the shared model. Also referred to as “Open BIM,” Level 3 reduces the risk of conflicting information across groups.

When it comes to government BIM standards, some countries apply these levels to their regulations based on project type. For instance, countries could mandate that all government and/or public projects use BIM Level 2, and so on.

The list below isn’t exhaustive, but take a look and see if your country is mentioned. If so, review how they are using BIM, or learn whether or not you’ll have a mandate for BIM adoption in the near future.


How are countries using BIM?

The United Kingdom

The UK will likely become a leader in BIM over the next few years, although Scandinavian countries have had BIM regulations in place for almost a decade. BIM Level 2 is mandated across all centrally-procured construction projects. In April of 2016, the UK’s construction strategy declared that it would reach 20% savings on procurement costs, which accelerated BIM adoption across the entire country. Any government projects in the UK must have BIM level 2 as part of their process. Although some firms had to quickly learn the process to adhere to the standards, many firms that had already adopted BIM were positioned far above their competition.



In 2014, France declared a development project that would build 500,000 houses using BIM by 2017 and added a 20 million dollar budget to go digital. As of 2017, BIM was mandated for France. The official French standardization roadmap was made public in April 2017 as part of the French strategy for “digitizing” the construction industry. Some of the objectives include improving the quality of exchanged data, improving deadlines, more effective data sharing processes, reducing errors/conflicts, and a reduction of overall project costs. It is expected that BIM in France will continue to improve the economy, and add value benefits such as environmental/social, improve sustainability, and protect small and medium enterprises.


The United States

Although BIM isn’t mandated across all US states just yet, it is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. In fact, states have already put mandates in place. In 2010, Wisconsin was the first US state to require BIM on all public projects with a total budget of $5 million or more and on all new construction within a budget of $2.5 million or more. According to the Market Watch Report on construction productivity, planned adoption of digital technologies are expected to reach 70% in the next three years. The report claims that the US is the second-least digitized sector, after agriculture.



Although 90% of project owners in Germany reported needing BIM in their projects, the German construction industry has been slower to adopt BIM than other countries. In 2015, a BIM task group called Digital Building Platform was created in order to develop a national BIM strategy. BIM will be mandatory for all transportation projects in Germany by the end of 2020. Since Germany has a federal system with 16 autonomous/semi-autonomous states and local authorities, the national BIM mandate could prove difficult.



In an interview with BIM expert Mark Baldwin, Baldwin states that Switzerland is a late adopter of BIM compared to other countries. However, he claims that the country is on the right track and has developed strongly over the last 18 months. He claims that much more is being done rather than talked about now, although there is still no BIM regulation to date.


Scandinavian Countries (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway)

Public standards are currently in place in Scandinavian countries. In 2007, Finland mandated that any design software needed to pass Industry Foundation Class (IFC) Certification. IFC is a file format that can be used across softwares, allowing teams to share models and collaborate while still working independently.

BIM adoption in Sweden is high, and many “best practice” guides have already been published, despite few government-led standards. In Denmark, universities are leading the charge by teaching the process to students, while state clients already have BIM mandates.

Norway has been using IFC file formats and BIM in their projects since 2010 (perhaps even earlier). In fact, a civil state client called Statsbygg has spent years actively promoting the use of BIM for the entire lifecycle of building projects. These countries have been leading the charge in BIM for years now!



India has arguably one of the fastest growing construction industries in the world. With mega-projects in Mumbai and upscale roadway projects on the horizon, BIM in India is looking promising. According to a study by RICS India, some sixty-eight percent of nation-state BIM usage is from residential projects, with the lowest adopting sector being infrastructure. The report adds a predicted demand-supply gap of 44 million construction professionals in India by 2020. Because of India’s growing population and economy, BIM adoption will become more important in the coming years.


Although this list doesn’t include every country’s BIM activities, the information above should give you a good idea of what’s to come in global BIM standards. Was your country listed? How does your firm match up with your country’s BIM mandates? Comment below and let us know!