(A.) Policy and legislation
(A.1) Policy objectives
The construction sector is one of the pillars of the EU economy, contributing to 9% of the EU GDP and to 18 million jobs (see the EC construction sector portal). Construction is also a horizontal sector, interconnected with many other industries – the sector is, for instance, a major consumer of intermediate products (raw materials, chemicals, and electric equipment, etc.) and services, including banking (ref. WEF 2016).
While the construction sector is a key driver of the overall economy, it faces numerous challenges relating to, inter alia, competitiveness, labour shortage, resource efficiency and especially productivity. In fact, over the past two decades, the labour productivity has grown at around a quarter of the rate in manufacturing (1.0% vs. 3.6% respectively) making the construction sector the poorest performer in terms of productivity (ref The Economist 2017).
Digitalisation in construction is increasingly recognised as a game changer (see BCG 2016), which could contribute significantly to sustainable development within the European Green Deal and the ”Europe fit for digital age” priorities. According to the latest EC report on Digitalisation in the construction sector,market analysis showed that among data acquisition technologies, sensors are the technology with the highest level of market maturity and technological readiness; however, significant margins of improvement are present when it comes to their integration in existing buildings. 3D scanning is being increasingly used, while IoT is not yet widely adopted, although it is developing rapidly.Automating processes in the construction sector refer to the use of robots, 3D printing and drones to automate specific tasks in the construction sector. These technologies differ significantly in terms of development. Drones are being increasingly used, notably through the development and improvement of the sensors that they are equipped with, while robots and 3D printing are still at the development phase and utilised only for very specific and limited tasks. The low market readiness of automating technologies reflects also the fact that the construction and maintenance phases of the value chain have more limited traction when it comes to digitalisation.Last, the effective use of digital data represents the future of the digitalisation of the construction sector. In fact, data analysis is needed to give a meaning to all the data gathered and deliver tangible improvements and benefits. However, as the technologies and innovations in this category are deeply connected to the maturity of the data acquisition and automation technologies, their status varies significantly from one to the other. Building Information Management (BIM) is more and more utilised in the construction sector; however, it is often limited to the design phase of (large) projects. Virtual and Augmented reality and Artificial Intelligence are still at development stages and cannot yet be considered as market ready. Digital Twins are for the moment limited to a few pilot projects, but the majority of public and private stakeholders consulted agrees that they have high potential for the future.
The introduction of BIM is seen as the main solution to the management of information, especially during the following phases of the asset lifecycle: procurement, design, construction (including assembly), operation and maintenance. The development of BIM is advancing rapidly and requires the application of common standards to ensure interoperability and compatibility. The European BIM market was valued at EUR 1.8 billion in 2016, and is predicted to grow and reach EUR 2.1 billion in 2023, according to Business Wire 2017.In order to improve BIM adoption and allow public procurers to estimate monetary and non-monetary costs and benefits when introducing BIM in public tendering, the EC made available a methodology to conduct analysis and predictions, see EISMEA 2021.
Specifically when it comes to the management of the assets portfolios throughout their lifecycle, digital solutions can ensure that all actors (ex. clients and users) are better informed about the steps taken across the life cycle and take informed decisions, including when assets change owners. In this context, we observe the emergence of Digital Building’s Logbooks and efforts on EU level to consolidate these (EU Framework for Buildings Digital Logbook, EASME 2019).
The European Commission has thus supported, promoted and developed several policies and initiatives aiming to foster the digitalisation in the construction sector. These include inter alia the Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises (COM(2012) 433), the EU BIM Task Group, the upcoming EU Digital Construction platform named as DigiPLACE and on demand support to MS through the EU Structural Reform Support Service. The digitalisation of the construction sector is also integrated in other policy areas such as the EU directive on Public Procurement (Directive 2014/24/EU), which promotes the use of BIM in construction project.
The introduction of common standards and operating methods using BIM would:
- reduce barriers to operation and trade across the European market area and beyond
- reduce both the capital and operating cost of construction assets
- reduce the time wasted because of inefficient breaks between productive construction processes
- improve the reliability of construction output, with better quality and fewer defects
- improve the resource efficiency of construction products and materials, improving both operating and embodied carbon performance
- support improvements in team working and collaboration
- improve the operations processes of construction assets
(A.2) EC perspective and progress report
CEN Technical Committee 442 on Building Information Modelling was officially kicked off in 2015. The aim is to help the construction sector to be more (cost) efficient and sustainable by enabling smooth data exchange and sharing between partners in the value chain.
The objectives of CEN/TC 442 are:
- to deliver a structured set of standards, specifications and reports which specify methodologies to define, describe, exchange, monitor, record and securely handle asset data, semantics and processes with links to geospatial and other external data.
- to be the home for European BIM standardisation. CEN/TC 442 will be the central place to go for coordinating European BIM harmonisation.
- to coordinate the work with ISO under the Vienna Agreement, either adopting existing international standards at European level or developing new ones in parallel
- to receive and consider proposals for new deliverables and develop them within the TC structure of working groups for the different scopes
The Committee so far has adopted the most important ISO standards in the field of BIM as European standards:EN ISO 12006-2 - Framework for classification; EN ISO 12006-3 - Framework for object-oriented information; EN ISO 16739 – 1 Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) for data sharing in the construction and facility management industries - Part 1: Data schema; EN ISO 29481-1 – Information Delivery manual – Methodology and format; EN ISO 29481- 2 - Information Delivery manual – Interaction framework
Through the CEN/ISO Vienna Agreement withISO lead (together with ISO/TC 59/SC 13) the following standards have been developed: EN ISO 19650 Information Management using Building Information Modelling together with ISO/TC 59/SC 13. Part 1- Concept and Principles and part 2 – Delivery phase of an asset was published in December 2018. Part 3 Operation phase of an asset and Part 5 – Security Minded approach to information management are expected to be published in 2020. Part 4 – Information exchange is under development.
Through the CEN/ISO Vienna Agreement with CEN lead (together with ISO/TC 59/SC 13) the following standards have been developed: EN ISO 23386 – Methodology to describe, author and maintain properties in interconnected dictionaries; EN ISO 23387 - Data templates for construction objects used in the life cycle of any built asset-Part1 Concepts and Principles. The standards are expected published early in 2020; EN ISO 12006-3 revision - Framework for object-oriented information.
- EC construction sector portal: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/construction_en
- McKinsey (2017). Reinventing construction
- European Construction Sector Observatory - Analytical Report - Digitalisation in the construction sector – April 2021:
- EISMEA 2021: Calculating costs and benefits for the use of Building Information Modeling in public tenders - Methodology handbook
- EASME 2019: Study on the Development of an EU Framework for Buildings’ Digital Logbook.
- COM(2012) 433 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises
- SWD(2012) 236 final Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises
- The EU BIM Task Group, http://www.eubim.eu/
- DigiPLACE, https://www.digiplaceproject.eu/
- EU Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP).
- Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC, especially Art. 22.
- Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC.
- Handbook for the introduction of Building Information Modelling, by the European Public Sector (EU BIM Task Group).
- The European Construction Sector Observatory
(B.) Requested actions
Action 1 CEN/TC442 collaborate with ISO/TC 59/SC 13 (ISO committee responsible for BIM standardisation) to align Business Plans and Work Programme as much as possible. The Business Plan will be updated regularly and based on an ongoing work with a Road Map for BIM. SDOs to develop European standards when necessary (i.e.if functional gaps are found or international standards are not available). Where development of European standards is necessary because European priorities are incompatible with ISO planning (EC market needs, new research trends, etc.), later alignment should be achieved leveraging on Vienna agreement.
Action 2 SDOs to work on information exchange — Enhance and harmonize open data formats, structures and classification systems for model based working in the construction industry. This work is coordinated in CEN/TC 442 in collaboration with ISO/TC 59/SC 13 and buildingSMART and focuses on activities such as:
The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), EN ISO 16739 and its extension within the infrastructure sector. Important developments on a European and International Scale are ongoing for bridge, tunnel, road, rail and harbours with buildingSMART lead. A common neutral IFC based standard for infrastructure related asset management and construction activities supports a common European market and shall enable equal access to European IT companies
Work Items in CEN/TC 442 on providing a framework for common catalogues, templates and exchange structures for harmonized product data including those who following the CPR directive. The work Item for a common structure for Construction Product Data is developed in collaboration with ISO/TC 59/SC 13 with CEN lead
other national, domain specific, open data format for model based working with potential for European wide application. CEN/TC442/WG has a preliminary Work Item to develop a transport data format for Product based in IFC. (IFCxml)
Action 3 SDOs to develop common information requirements for project and information management as part of construction service procurement standards:
- EN 17412 Level of Information. Needs a common European framework to express the requested information to be delivered during the project execution and project hand over as Work Item within CEN/TC 442. To support this standard CEN/TC442 should realise the development of a “guide for application” and a standardised data schema.
- Work Item to develop Guidelines on how to understand and utilise EN ISO 29481 in a European context
- EN ISO 19650 require use of a Common Data Environment – CDE. CDE is the BIM synonym for Information platforms that enable and enforce collaborative Information Exchange across all stakeholders and participants in the value chain of operation, planning and construction of built assets. CEN TC/442 should develop guidance and standard to support implementation of CDE in the European marked:
- Guidance, Framework and Implementation of Common Data Environment (CDE) Workflow and Solution in accordance with EN ISO 19650
- Common Data Environments (CDE) for BIM projects – Open data exchange between platforms of different vendors via an open CDE API
Action 4 SDOs to support data dictionaries -Develop European standards for exchange of data on construction products, to ensure quality in data to support Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 CPR and trade of construction products in the European market. In specific,provide digital tools to support the collaborative development and European wide harmonization of terms and corresponding semantics for:
- written language in standards,
- names, classifications and properties of entities in object oriented data models,
Tools providing a mapping between national/European terms and their corresponding semantics are the basis for the development of a framework for harmonized European vocabulary for digital construction and its European and national implementation.
In the current dynamic development phase with many groups working in parallel there is a great risk that without such tools divergent definitions will be established permanently.
Action 5 SDOs to create NWI to develop a technical report needed for standards to support BIM for infrastructure in the European market.
Action 6 Develop a framework for how CEN/TC442 can support the use of BIM in other relevant TC’s in CEN (e.g. construction products, energy analyses, acoustics)
Other national, domain specific, open data format for model based working with potential for an European wide application. CEN/TC442 has a preliminary Work Item to develop a transport data format for Product based in IFC (IFCxml).
Action 7 SDOs to consider the environmental aspects and, in particular, support circularity in development of BIM standards; see also the Circular Economy chapter in this document.
Action 8 SDOs to support and, when possible, undertake open source initiatives to support the adoption of BIM standards.
(C.) Activities and additional information
(C.1) Related standardisation activities
CEN/TC 442 “Building Information Modelling (BIM)” is about standardisation in the field of structured semantic life-cycle information for the built environment.
CEN/TR 17439 - Guidance on how to implement EN ISO 19650-1 and -2 in Europe (note: this is referenced as “prEN 17439 Guidance on how to implement EN ISO 19650-1 and -2 in Europe” in the RP 2020)
CLC/TC 205 ‘Home and Building Electronic Systems (HBES) is exploring the need for standardising BIM attributes within its scope and in coordination with CEN/TC 442 (which has a coordinating role for BIM), CEN/TC 247 ‘Building automation, controls and building management’, and CEN/TC 169 ‘Light and Lighting’
ISO ISO/TC 59/SC 13 “Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling (BIM)” is charged by TC 59 “Buildings and civil engineering works” to focus on international standardisation of information through the whole life cycle of buildings and infrastructure across the built environment to enable interoperability of information, to deliver a structured set of standards, specifications and reports to define, describe, exchange, monitor, record and securely handle information, semantics and processes, with links to geospatial and other related built environment information andto enable object-related digital information exchange.
ITU-T SG20 is currently working on “Requirements and functional architecture for smart construction site services” (Y.IoT-SCS).
More info: https://itu.int/go/tsg20
The oneM2M standard supports a multi domains/solutions integration that supports the integration of the construction supporting systems and the building systems within the surrounding digital environment (e. g. the smart cities systems, infrastructure context, construction site, etc.). This includes both the construction of buildings and infrastructures (roads, dams, ports, industry plants, etc.) and the operational and management support of the built facilities). oneM2M Specifications are available at Specifications (onem2m.org).
Furthermore, the SAREF ontology makes use of oneM2M as communication framework and data collection for Building and Transport systems see ETSI TS 103 264 (Reference Ontology and oneM2M Mapping) and includes a specific extension for buildings ITS (ETSI TS 103 410-2). ETSI standards are available at https://www.etsi.org/standards-search.
(C.2) Other activities related to standardisation
DigiPLACE (Digital PLAtform for Construction in Europe). Call: H2020-DT-2018-2020 “Digitising and transforming European industry and services: digital innovation hubs and platform” - Topic: DT-ICT-13-2019 “Digital Platform/Pilots Horizontal Activities”
Proposing future pilots in Standardisation::
- COMMON LANGUAGE: Semantic web and linked data. Definition of construction domains, ontology, class, lexicon, taxonomy, etc.
- DIGITAL CONTRUCTION STANDARD: Technical standard. Definition of digital common structure of technical standard and EU Standard DB
- DIGITAL LAW STANDARD: Law standard. Definition of digital common structure of construction laws and EU Law DB
BIM4EEB (BIM based fast toolkit for Efficient rEnovation of residential Building). Call: H2020-EU.188.8.131.52. “Technologies enabling energy-efficient systems and energy-efficient buildings with a low environmental impact” – Topic: “LC-EEB-02-2018 - Building information modelling adapted to efficient renovation (RIA)”
Focus on Semantic web and Linked Data in AECO domain, Renovation. Contribution in CEN standard: CT442 - (WI=00442021) Modelling and linking between semantic ontologies.