Image: CityLife Milano, by Deerns
Levels of BIM adoption vary across the world. However, no country remains unaffected by the new way of working. Italy is no different. In fact, according to the latest figures
the value of BIM projects in the public sector reached over 2,6 billion in 2016, with a 30% increase in comparison to the year before. Kim Smit, business development specialist at MEPcontent, talks about the latest BIM developments in Italy and gives an insight into the changing industry.
How does Italy compare to other countries when it comes to BIM?
Although Italy has not been at the forefront of BIM adoption in Europe, we have seen a very significant growth in 2018. Italian manufacturers who recently started with the BIM implementation in their organization have learned from the challenges of (competing) early adopters and are using this to their advantage. Now it’s the right time for manufacturers in Italy to get BIM ready. More importantly, manufacturers can profit now from the latest, most innovative BIM solutions available on the market, which go far beyond the - let’s say – traditional content creation. Engineers will of course benefit from these solutions in their daily workflows and manufacturers are increasingly considering this when it comes to their BIM strategy. See what your country is doing in terms of BIM adoption.
So, BIM adoption seems to be increasing, right?
If we look at the the number of Italian users of our platform we see a significant growth of 48.5% in 2018, bringing Italy to the top 10 of both number of visitors and of downloads of the MEPcontent platform. We also see leading Italian engineering firms that are willing to test our apps for Revit. So BIM is definitely gaining ground in Italy.
Additionally, BIM maturity varies a lot across regions. Especially in cities in the northern regions of Italy, like Milano, Bergamo and Brescia, firms are already operating at a high BIM maturity level similar to advanced BIM countries. We’ll see that first large and international projects are being realized with BIM, and later the smaller projects will follow.
What challenges are there when it comes to BIM adoption?
First, the Italian MEP landscape is quite dispersed: there are many small engineering firms scattered widely across the country. It will take some time for everyone to invest in the knowledge and education and the software required for BIM. Also, software incompatibility and bureaucracy can be issues to get started with BIM. These are a few things that slow the adoption of BIM down, but there’s no doubt BIM is the future, also in Italy.
What is the government’s approach to BIM?
The government is
definitely supporting the development of BIM. A decree has been issued with a multi-year plan stating that all public projects have to be realized with BIM in 2022. From January 2019 this will be a requirement for all projects worth more than 100 million euros; in 2021 for the more complex projects, and in 2022 for all public projects. This will give the smaller firms some time to prepare themselves for BIM. Additionally, an Italian norm is being developed: the UNI 11337 (Normativa UNI 11337). Different parts of this standard have already been published, providing guidelines and a framework for managing digital information processes.
Are there other ways to accelerate the BIM adoption?
What will help is the drive of manufacturers to keep a competitive position. Increasingly, MEP engineering firms are taking the quality of BIM objects into consideration when selecting a manufacturer. Therefore internationally oriented Italian manufacturers have been working with BIM for quite some time as part of their strategy. Manufacturers that are in business with countries like the Netherlands, the United Kingdom or Australia, have already embraced BIM to meet the demand for BIM content. Who wants to be part of big international projects, can’t stay behind. Furthermore, we see that these manufacturers are also investing time in educating MEP engineers on working with Revit and BIM, which helps the BIM adoption increase.
What can other countries learn from the Italians when it comes to BIM?
In Italy, quality is not just a word. In my experience, everything is done with passion and with eye for detail and quality. On the one hand, this can delay processes. On the other hand, it also ensures the quality that Italian products are known for across the world. Therefore Italians typically will take more time, evaluate potential issues and all options before making a decision. However, this also means that the results are likely to be impressive too. This becomes clear when looking at the remarkable BIM projects that have already been realized in Italy, such as the Brennero Tunnel
, the Scala theater
and the Citylife Building
The pursuit of quality is also reflected in the interest in the Extended MEP Content Standard, which is matched to multiple international standards. When we talk to Italian manufacturers we hear that they are looking for a BIM standard that guarantees the quality of the content in Italy as well as on a more global scale.
We also get positive feedback from Italian engineers who use the BIM objects from MEPcontent, as they have experienced the quality of the content guaranteed from the EMCS.
Any final tips for starting with BIM?
Content is very important to the quality of your BIM project. So if you’re an engineer; make sure you work with high quality content. If you are a manufacturer, keep in mind that the BIM solution(s) you offer are primarily for the benefit of the engineer.
Also, it’s easy to find a software supplier able to create BIM models, but it’s more important to find an innovative, MEP specialized BIM partner who knows what manufacturers and engineers need; now and in the future.