Home Contributors Mohamad Kassem: “Strategy for the diffusion of BIM in Brazil”

Mohamad Kassem: “Strategy for the diffusion of BIM in Brazil”

The construction industry plays a primary role in national economies in both developed and developing countries as a major contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment and consumer of intermediate products (raw materials, chemicals, electrical and electronic equipment, etc.) and related services.

About this report

In the allocation of the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management, under the sponsorship of the European Union-Brazil Sectoral Dialogues, the EU named BIM consultant (Dr. Mohamad Kassem) and the local consultant (Prof. Amorim) carried out a structured analysis in the EU and Brazil, which were presented in two final products.

Deconcic created specifically task group to address BIM. Photo by: Helcio Nagamine/Fiesp

In this report , the two consultants used the product 2 results and proposals, discussed jointly with the Brazilian political agents at the meeting of the DECONCIC of August 1st 2014, at FIESP in Sao Paulo, to produce a set of conclusions and recommendations for the dissemination of BIM in Brazil. The references are at the end of the article.

1. Introduction

 The construction industry around the world has been universally criticised for its limited capacity for innovation, its saturated productivity and sustainability performance.
Following a steady evolution of both the concept and technologies of Building Information Modelling (BIM) over the last decade, BIM is now perceived as an enabler for enhanced integration of project processes and stakeholders, improved project performance (e.g. cost, time and environmental performance) and outcome predictability. This is inferred by the several commercial, academic and industry reports documenting BIM diffusion rates and BIM case studies and more importantly, by the dramatic increase of public clients (e.g. government bodies, department and organisations) and industry bodies mandating BIM and developing strategies for its implementation in recent years.
The mapping of BIM policies from six countries, including Brazil, in ‘Product 2’ revealed that there are eight common components making up the BIM implementation policies (Figure 1) of the selected countries.
In this report, we first briefly compare the status of these eight components between the selected EU countries and Brazil and then, we make a list of recommendations about each of the components for the BIM implementation policy in Brazil. It is suggested that this report is used as a draft roadmap for further consultation with industry stakeholders and experts in each of the eight components of BIM policy.


Figure 1: Macro Maturity Components (Succar and Kassem, 2016)

Succar, B., & Kassem, M. (2015). Automation in Construction. Macro-BIM adoption : Conceptual structures. Automation in Construction, 57, 64–79. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2015.04.018 

2. BIM in EU and in BRAZIL: a comparison

The comparison of the common eight components of BIM policy, across the five EU countries and Brazil, is illustrated in Table 1 using four colour codes that represent the current status of each component. Table 1 shows that each of the eight components of BIM policy was encountered at least in three different countries.
All six countries have either finalised or started the development of their BIM strategy and vision. BIM objectives are either part of a wider government construction strategy, such as in the UK and France, or standalone objectives set by major government-owned organisations such as in Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.
BIM standards and protocols are nearly completed in all countries except in France and in Brazil, where they were either announced or started recently. It is important to highlight the different approaches to organising the protocols between these countries. In the UK, they are lifecycle-oriented (from initial brief to post-occupancy and use), split into protocols for capital delivery (PAS 1192-2:2013) and protocols for delivering information to operational phase (PAS 1192-3:2013 and BS 1192 – 4), and they are mainly principles of information management that apply to all assets (building and infrastructure) on both new builds and renovations. In Finland, protocols are organised by BIM use (e.g. energy analysis, MEP design, structural design, visualisation, quality assurance, etc.) and they included in their latest version the use of BIM in facility management in general terms. In Norway, protocols are organised by discipline through domain specific requirements (Architectural, Mechanical, Electrical and Telecommunication, Structural, Landscape, etc.). In the Netherlands, protocols are tailored to long term contracts; they focus on improving maintenance and operation efficiencies and they include requirement and specifications of BIM deliverables or extracts.
Established networks of BIM drivers and champions are already available in the countries where there is a mandate for using BIM (i.e. UK, FI and NO) and they started to form in other countries (France) where the intention of mandating BIM was announced. In larger countries, such as the UK, the structure of drivers and champions is more sophisticated and layered than in smaller countries such Finland, Norway and the Netherlands where there is almost a single but very large government-owned organisation sponsoring BIM.
Standardised deliverables such as BIM digital library, established according to standard systems of classification and/or digital data specification, are in advanced status in the UK and Norway only. In the UK, these were developed in initiatives by private sectors (e.g. NBS, BIMstore) and in Norway by buildingSMART Nordic Chapter (see Product 2 for details).
Changes to the regulatory framework that are introduced specifically for BIM are not fully completed in none of the countries and are most progressed in the UK. Indeed, in all four countries (UK, NE, FI and NO), where BIM is mandated and BIM strategies has been in place for a number of years, terms of reference are still those of pre-existing project delivery systems, available within each country. This is often the case especially, in public procurement, where there are partnering contracts that are compatible with BIM collaborative working, such as JCT Constructing Excellence, NEC3 and PPC2000 in the UK and DBFMO and DBM in the Netherlands. Results from pilot case studies suggest that such forms of contracts will require no changes and will also be facilitated by BIM – e.g. early creation of integrated design team. In traditional forms of contracts, BIM requirements, included in the BIM protocols in each country, are tailored to project circumstances and made part of the contractual documents of that project. In some cases (i.e. BIM Execution Plan in the UK) they are even used at the pre-contract award to assess the supply chain’s proposed approach, capability, capacity and competence to meet the client requirements (i.e. Employer Information Requirements).
The measurement of BIM performance at individual, organisation and project level is still incomplete in all countries with some initial effort in the UK, the Netherlands and Norway. In the UK, there is an initial learning outcome framework, published by the UK BIM task group, which outlines three sets of competencies: strategic, management and technical. In the Netherlands, there is a tool for assessing and benchmarking the BIM performance of organizations (i.e. BIM QuickScan) developed in a private initiative. In Norway, buildingSMART Norway is developing a certification system to certify professionals for working in open BIM environment and a certification framework for project quality assurance.
Education sectors in all selected countries have initiated to incorporate BIM into their curricula. However, only in the UK there is a national framework, developed by the BIM Academic Forum (BAF) and is integrated with the government early learning outcome framework, and used as a starting point for embedding BIM into the curriculum. Otherwise, in all the selected countries BIM education is currently left to self-initiatives undertaken by either individual faculties or academics and is included mostly in post graduate studies. In all counties, vocational training is available and is delivered by private suppliers (research organisations, training organisations, software vendors) and professional bodies.

Table 1. Comparison of the status of BIM policy components across the six countries

The technology infrastructure is considered at an early stage in all the studied countries except in Brazil, where it is well development, and in the UK, where it is under development. In Brazil, the DOM – Diretoria de Obras Militares (Directorate of Military works), developed a BIM-based project management system called OPUS. OPUS is an integrated system for the management of project delivery phases (e.g. procurement, design construction, demolition) that includes information about over 16.000 buildings making up the asset portfolio managed the Brazilian Army. OPUS is also a web-based system in which 2D and 3D models, from several sources and in several formats, can be overlaid on a Google map using a system of coordinates. Over the web, the system allows the switching over several levels of model details (3D, 2D, etc.) or by project delivery phase (e.g. construction, demolition, etc.). In the UK, the technology infrastructure, called ‘digital plan of work’ (dPOW), is being developed by a consortium that includes NBS, Laing O’Rourke, Microsoft, among others, and will be free-to-use digital BIM tool that can capture, validate and store information based on the publicly available Level 2 BIM standards. The tool development is expected to be completed by March 2015. In Norway, the project for developing an online collaboration platform for the entire Norwegian Industry (i.e. ByggNett) started, in 2013, a survey of solutions and issues relevant to the development of their IT infrastructure, which was recently published (Hole Consulting, 2014).
Leaving aside the discussion about the quality of the implementation of these components, together Table 1 and the above analysis about the progress status and attributes of each component, suggest that there is a large gap between BIM policies in Brazil and in France and those of Finland, Norway and the United Kingdom in the areas of strategy and vision; standards; protocols and guides, and BIM drivers and champions. The gap between Brazil and other countries (the UK apart) is smaller in other areas, such as standardised deliverables, regulatory framework and education and learning. Finally, the availability of an IT Infrastructure in Brazil, represented by the “OPUS” system, which is used to procure and manage BIM projects for the Brazilian army across the whole country, is considered as a remarkable progress in Brazil compared to the other countries.

3. Recommendations for BIM diffusion in BRAZIL

The suggested recommendations for the diffusion of BIM in Brazil are based on: the knowledge gained from the structured mapping of BIM implementation policies across the six countries and their comparison, the discussions with stakeholders in the DECONCIC meeting on August 1st at FIESP in São Paulo, and the direct input of key stakeholders to some of the policy items included in this report.
It is suggested that this report is used as a draft roadmap for further consultation with industry stakeholders and experts in each of the eight components of BIM policy.

3.1 Strategies, Objectives and Stages

Before suggesting strategies, objectives and stages for BIM implementation in Brazil, it is important to evoke the key distinguishing patterns that underpinned the development of BIM strategies in the five EU countries.
All the studied countries, in which BIM is mandated and in particular Finland and Norway, have preceded the mandate by years of piloting and testing BIM technologies in projects. These were often conducted in joint public-private initiatives. In addition, variables, such as the relatively small size of such countries; the historical investment in construction IT research since decades; and the construction procurement retained by a very small number of government-owned organisations, have led to increase the readiness of public bodies and, in part, of the private sector, who acquitted the necessary capabilities to procure construction projects using BIM and open standards. This justifies the timing of their BIM mandate in Finland and Norway, which is one of the earliest BIM mandates worldwide. Finally, their BIM objectives were extended in their latest updates to also include the use of BIM in the operation and maintenance phase of building.
The circumstances in Brazil, France and the UK are different from those in the Nordic countries. The size of the Brazilian, French and UK construction industry is respectively 2%, 3% and 2% of the global industry. The three countries are much more widespread geographically and public procurement is retained by numerous government bodies, department and organisations, distributed centrally and regionally. Hence, the challenges of achieving readiness across such large public sectors are bigger and require a diffusion strategy that “educate” and “engage / incentivise” both clients and supply chains. The other distinguishing features identified in the BIM strategies of France and the UK is that their BIM objectives are part of wider and national construction strategies and their approach consists of a ‘staged approach’ in terms of both the timing of the mandate and the level of BIM use (this latter is still to be announced in France). In both countries a top-down mandate (coercive pressure) from central government was deemed necessary to trigger and accelerate BIM diffusion in respective countries. While details about the objectives and stages of BIM in France are still not available (at the date of this report), in the UK the objectives include the mandate of level 2 BIM (file-based collaboration) on all centrally-procured projects and its implementation on all phases from early brief through design and construction to operation and post occupancy. In Brazil, although BIM is not mandated at any level, industry reports such as “The Business Value of BIM for Construction in Major Global Markets” (McGraw Gill Construction, 2013), and the study conducted by the local BIM consultant (Product 2: BIM in Brazil), show that BIM adoption is very advanced among contractors in Brazil (34 or 85% of the respondents from a of 40 contractors). The same industry report shows that the use of BIM in Brazil is focussed more on cost control at the construction phase rather than on the collaboration with owners. This represents a reversed BIM usage pattern to the one witnessed in other countries (UK, France, US, Germany, etc.) where BIM entailed more collaboration with owners and other project stakeholders. This use of BIM and the maturity level of contractors in Brazil could trigger a middle-out type of implementation pressure across the supply chain. However, this effect could be limited or slow. Indeed, seminal research on innovation diffusion in construction industry demonstrated that coercive forces are more significant in influencing the extent of BIM adoption especially if they are mediated by the client or owner (Dimaggio and Powell, 1983; Mitropoulos and Tatum, 2000, and Cao et al., 2014)
Based on the above analysis, we recommend the following strategic actions for the BIM diffusion in Brazil:
• To include BIM objectives as part of a national and official ‘construction strategy’ or ‘vision’. National construction strategies and visions represent always a key source or reference to all industry players. BIM objectives, explicitly embedded into the national construction strategy or vision, are usually communicated and received more effectively than standalone BIM objectives. However, if the structure of the ministries in the Brazilian Cabinet, in which the responsibilities for the construction industry are split between the Ministério do Desenvolvimento, Indústria e Comércio Exterior (MDIC), the Ministério das Cidades, and the Ministério do Planejamento, Orçamento, e Gestão (MPOG), represent a challenge for the formulation of a construction strategy, a joint statement about BIM objectives, jointly signed by the three ministries, can be a significant and effective approach;
• To mandate BIM as part of a “staged” approach on federally procured projects. The staged approach concerns four dimensions: time of mandate, project value, project phase, and project type (Table 2).

Table 2. Staged approach for making BIM mandatory on federally-funded programs in Brazil

The above recommendations are original in the way they merge together the diffusion strategies of BIM innovation in Nordic countries (i.e. staged approach in terms of asset type and coverage of building lifecycle) and those of the UK and France (i.e. staged approach in terms of mandate timeline and BIM use stage). These recommendations also recognise the needs, and allow for the time required, for building readiness and capabilities in other BIM policy components such as standards, guide and protocols (i.e. updating pre-BIM standards and developing BIM standards and protocols), BIM drivers and champions, regulatory framework, etc. Alongside mandating the use of BIM, the guiding principles of the recommendations made about the remaining policy components aim to deliver a strategy that educate, prescribe, engage and incentivise. The responsibilities and roles for helping the industry meet this mandate are explained in section 3.3 (Drivers and Champions).

3.2 Protocols and Guides

BIM protocols and guides comprise specification, workflows, requirements and standards that are necessary to enable and organise BIM working processes and produce BIM deliverables. The review of BIM protocols and guides in five EU countries in “Product 2”, also recalled earlier in section 2, revealed that there are different approaches to their development and structuring (e.g. by macro project phase – i.e. capital and operational delivery macro phases in the UK, by BIM use – i.e. visualisation, energy simulation, etc. in Finland, or by discipline – architectural, Mechanical, etc. in Norway). While there are no criteria to judge which approach is best, the different approaches are probably the result of disparate pre-BIM standards and protocols available in each country. For example, in Finland they referred to the Finnish pre-existing “standard TALO2000” that breaks down the structure of a model into its elements and then, they specified the BIM “Architecture Model Content Requirements” for the different elements at various phases of the project. In the UK, they referred to pre-existing British Standards “BS 1192-2007: Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information” to develop the equivalent BIM specification for information management using BIM (i.e. PAS 1192-2: 2013). Also to define the role and responsibilities within a BIM workflow, they referred to the CIC Scope of Services – a document that includes an integrated and detailed scope of services from inception to post completion for the complete definition of the project to be constructed and the task for each project team. The conclusion is that BIM protocols and guides should be built on relevant and proven pre-existing standards, if these are available. In all the reviewed countries, the BIM protocols and guides were developed by working groups and steering committee comprising leading industry experts from the public sector (e.g. cabinet office), the construction supply chain (e.g. architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers, project managers, etc.), legal, technology and software companies.

In Brazil, pre-BIM standards and protocols that are relevant to BIM include: 1. Secretaria de Estado de Administração Pública (at Federal level), published by Decree No. 2296 on July 23rd 1997, to describe the methods for design, budgeting and control of construction projects and construction services, and 2. The “Manuais de Escopo”, which describes the architecture and project management services and their respective products. These pre-existing standards might require updates before there are adapted and used as a reference for developing BIM protocols and standards.
We recommend the setting of a “technical steering committee” of industry experts (from all industry segments mentioned earlier) that will be responsible for developing the BIM standards and protocols required to deliver the mandate for 2017 and 2018. This technical steering committee should be ideally chaired by an expert from either the Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas CEE-134 working commission, the “Diretoria de Obras Militares”, or an industry representative body. It should include representatives from the entire supply chain as well as from legal, technology and software companies. This technical steering committee should report to the head of an established “GTBIM Brasil” (see section 3.3 for more information), jointly appointed by the “Ministério do Planejamento, Orçamento e Gestão”, the “Ministério do Desenvolvimento, Indústria e Comércio Exterior”, the “Ministério das Cidades” and “Caixa Econômica Federal”, with the overall responsibility of developing and implementing the federal BIM objectives (Figure 2). More information about such a structure is included in section 3.3 (drivers and champions). The head of the “GTBIM Brasil” can be a leading expert from any of the organisation included in Figure 2.
With regards to the different types of organisations and structuring of BIM protocols and guides, discussed earlier, we suggest the development of integrated protocols organised by BIM use at different project phases, which is a similar approach to the one adopted in Finland, but without splitting the protocols in as many volumes or parts as the BIM uses. The organisation of protocols by BIM use is compatible with the current methodology being utilised in Brazil to develop the BIM digital library. These BIM protocols should refer to pre-BIM standards available in Brazil, such as those discussed earlier, following their review and potential update, and they should address the level of information development (i.e. graphical – 3D model – and non-graphical data) required at each project phase. A description of key concepts and a shared taxonomy or glossary of terms in the protocols is also important for the consistent understanding and communication of the protocols across the industry. We also recommend the inclusion of “BIM execution protocols” (BEP) template in the protocols, similar to those available in the UK, that can be adapted on a project basis. In an addendum to the protocols, we recommend the collation of BIM case studies to showcase success stories from the implementation of the BIM protocols and workflows on public sector projects. Finally, we recommend the definition of a professional role (e.g. similar to the role of Information Manager created in the UK), who is responsible, on client’s behalf, for the management of information in a BIM project.

3.3 Drivers and Champions

Every country, where BIM is mandated on public sector projects, has seen the establishment of numerous BIM drivers and champions. From the five studied countries, BIM drivers and champions were found to have the following attributes:
• In-charge BIM drivers and champions who are part of strategy delivery plans and are formally tasked with specific actions (e.g. industry engagement) within the BIM policy. These are either ad-hoc established groups for the delivery of the BIM policy (e.g. BIM Task Group and regional BIM Hubs in the UK) or pre-existing professional and industry bodies representing a wide range of construction professional (e.g. Construction Industry Council in the UK). These groups include members who are capable of developing and implementing the BIM strategy at regional and national levels;
• Voluntary interest groups, who are affected by the BIM mandate, and aim to promote BIM knowledge to their members in their respective areas and to ensure that their requirements are taken into consideration by policy makers. They often represent the user side who champion the use of BIM in specific disciplines;
• The structure of such champions and drivers is more complex and layered in large countries (i.e. UK and France) compared to smaller countries (i.e. Finland, The Netherlands, and Norway) where procurement is retained by a single or a small number of government-owned organisations.
Institutional studies on innovation diffusion has long provided empirical evidence of the positive impact of drivers and champions the innovation adoption at both organization and country level, provided there are the necessary active interactions within and among these groups or networks. For example, Product 2 (BIM in Brazil) included a Brazilian example of a designed interaction or mission between a large Brazilian construction company (i.e. SINCO) and an academic institution (i.e. Carnegie Mellon), which have led to BIM adoption within SINCO.
Taking into consideration the above analysis, we recommend the setting of a network of BIM drivers and champions to:
• Objective 1: develop and promote BIM protocols, guidance and other technical standards that are required to achieve the BIM mandate;
• Objective 2: ensure industry engagement with the BIM policy at federal and state levels;
• Objective 3: manage the sourcing of an adequate technology infrastructure for procuring BIM projects with the support of technology and research organisations;
• Objective 4: define the requirements and objectives of BIM learning and training for its delivery in tertiary higher education and in specialist vocational or technical training;

• Objective 5: provide research funding for BIM research and development projects;
• Objective 6: influence the setting of incentives, through suitable tax breaks or reductions, for the implementation of BIM technologies in organisations and the acquisition of BIM capabilities by individuals (training).
A structure for such a network of drivers and champions for the delivery of these objectives is reported in Figure 2 as an example that can be emulated.
The key BIM champion will be the “GT BIM Brazil”, who is formally charged to deliver the federal BIM strategy.
The GT BIM Brazil should be chaired by a senior industry and BIM expert who will lead and coordinate the different steering committees that are in charge to deliver the BIM policy on the behalf of the “Ministério do Desenvolvimento, Indústria e Comércio Exterior”, the “Ministério do Planejamento, Orçamento e Gestão”, the “Ministério das Cidades” and “Caixa Economica Federal”.
Three steering committees within the GT BIM Brazil (i.e. Technical Steering Committee, Education & Training Steering Committee and Engagement Steering Committee) should include representatives from all sectors and organisation types listed in Figure 2.
Each steering committee is responsible for delivering one or more of the aforementioned objectives (i.e. Objectives 1 to 6). For example, the “Education and Training Steering Committee” should include representatives from academia, professional syndicates and industry to define the learning and training outcomes required for BIM incorporation into higher education and vocational training (Objective 4). The “Technical Steering Committee” should include members from all of the outlined stakeholders in Figure 2, and in particular from the “Diretoria de Obras Militares”, “Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas” (ABNT), industry bodies (large contractors), research & academia and technology companies and should be responsible for delivering objective 1 and 3 and contributing to the other objectives.
All entities that are represented in the “GT BIM Brazil” are already existent, except the “States’ BIM Centres”, “BIM Interest Groups” and the “buildingSMART Brazilian Chapter” (depicted with dashed lines).
States’ BIM Centres should be established to ensure engagement and promote BIM knowledge sharing at state level and should act as the link between federal and states’ BIM discussions.
As the BIM policy is planned and implemented, BIM interest groups will be established through self-initiatives of professionals, who are interested in exploiting BIM for a particular application or discipline. Although such interest groups are voluntary, their involvement could be important especially in the area of disseminating knowledge and ensuring industry engagement.
The “GT BIM Brazil” with the collaboration of large contractors and key federal and state construction clients should sponsor the case studies of several BIM-based projects and publish their outcomes and lessons learned, in the form of “success stories”, in media (e.g. news, web, etc.) and other dissemination channels (e.g. conferences, workshops, etc.).
Based on suggestions with experts in Brazil, it is also recommended to establish a buildingSMART Brazilian chapter to provide and build expertise in open standards, which is currently lacking in the country.


3.4 Standardised Deliverables / Digital Object Libraries

BIM standardised deliverables include elements such as web-based digital libraries of data-rich objects, compliant with established classification systems (e.g. Omniclass, Uniclass, etc.) and international or country-specific digital data specification (e.g. COBie as international data specification, BS 1192-4 in the UK, etc.). These digital libraries can be used to enable e-specification, selection or procurement and to facilitate design, model-based simulation, costing and analysis.
These standardised BIM deliverables are now considered key components in the delivery of BIM policies in countries. This is evidenced by both the several on-going project developing digital libraries of BIM objects around the world: e.g. BIMobject in Finland; NBS and BIMStore in the UK, CB-NL in the Netherlands, AFNOR and AIMCC initiative in France, and bSDD by Norway (reviewed as part of product 2) and by industry surveys. A survey of AEC professionals in Western Europe (McGraw Hill Construction, 2010) identified that incorporating detailed manufacturer-specific building product data in BIM allows users to better convey design ideas in the early conceptual stages, form more accurate energy analyses and facilitate earlier cost estimations.
In all completed and on-going BIM digital library projects across the EU, there is a unanimous agreement that such libraries can revolutionise specification and procurement, provided that the data included in the BIM digital libraries can be trusted. To achieve this trust, all digital library projects agree upon the need for the following:
• Standards defining the level and type of digital data including graphical 3D representation and non-graphical data
• Systems of classifications (e.g. Uniclass, Omniclass, etc.) to identifies objects and assemblies within the libraries
• Quality assurance procedures in place to ensure the created and hosted digital objects meet the industry standards
In terms of business mode, all digital library projects in Europe share the same patterns. Access to digital library objects is free for all stakeholders (e.g. specifiers such as Architects and Engineers). Manufacturers pay a fee for hosting their objects on the platforms and for authoring their 3D BIM objects, if they do not have in-house skills, which is often the case.
A main challenge, facing the adoption of digital libraries, is the limited awareness of manufacturers of BIM in general and hosting digital objects in a web based environment, in particular. However, as the case with any innovation, there are some early adopters, who already embarked on this journey and many will be following. This is also evidenced by the leading role, being undertaken by the association of manufacturers, in some countries (e.g. AFNOR and AIMCC initiative in France) in the definition and development of such digital libraries.
In Brazil, there are no BIM digital libraries yet. In 2013, in an effort to overcome this gap, the Federal government established a project to develop a public digital system of BIM objects. This project is hosted by IBICT (Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia) but it is currently delayed due to some administrative matters. However, in Brazil, there are a number of completed and on-going standard efforts, undertaken by the commission “ABNT/CEE-134” since 2010, and are fundamental to the development of the digital libraries. The first completed standard is the “ABNT NBR ISO 12006-2:2010”, which presents a common framework and definitions for the development of classification systems at regional or national level. The second standard, currently under development, is the “ABNT NBR 15965 Sistema de classificação da informação da construção” (Construction Classification System), which defines in its first part (i.e. 15965-1:2011) the terminology and principles of classification systems for planning, design, management, labour, operation and maintenance of construction projects. This first part was completed and published in 2011. The second part of this standard (i.e. 15965-2:2012) presents the terminology, classification system and classification groups for construction objects and it covers the planning, design, construction and operation. The whole “ABNT NBR 15965” is planned to have seven parts and is an adaptation of the OmniClass to the Brazilian context through: 1. The addition of materials and products that are used in Brazil but are not used the U.S., and 2. The exclusion of materials and products used in the U.S. but are not used in Brazil.
Based on the above analysis and on the common attributes identified in the review of BIM digital libraries across the EU (as part of Product 2), we recommend the following within the context of a publicly-driven or owned BIM digital library:
• The completion of the classification standards (i.e. ABNT NBR 15965 – part 3 to 7) which are currently at an advanced stage and are necessary for the classification and identification of object within BIM library;
• The development of standards for graphical and non-graphical content which have to be agreed upon with both manufacturers and specifiers. The consultation with manufacturers and specifiers in this process is very important given their influence on the adoption of such standards. In Brazil, there is already a technical committee (i.e. ABNT/CEE-1341) working on such standards and an initial technical report is expected to be released later on this year. Also in this area, tailoring international data specification and standards (e.g. the newly launched BS 1192-4 in the UK or the Construction-Operations Building information exchange – COBie – from the U.S.) should be considered, and adapted if possible, to save development effort;
• The development of a business model to ensure the BIM digital library is self-sufficient once the federal government support and financing ends. The business model must also ensure the adoption of the digital library by the supply chain and, in particular, by specifiers (i.e. architects and Engineers) and manufacturers. To achieve these objectives, the trust and affordability are two key critical success factors. To achieve the trust factor, a qualified and expert quality assurance process is necessary. However, this process will require resources (e.g. wages for individuals conducting the quality assurance process) that need to be self-generated by the library. This could be achieved by setting a low hosting fee, which is affordable to most manufacturers. This fee will then be used to fund not only the quality assurance process but also all other aspects (e.g. maintenance, update, promotion, etc.) of other aspects. As the library becomes widely adopted over time, the fee paid by manufacturers might be decreased, or completely replaced, with income generated from advertisement fee. Without this mechanism that achieves trust and affordability, the virtuous circle, described in Figure 3, might transform into a vicious circle that undermines the success of the library. A complementary approach, which is technologically challenging, is to embed intelligent quality assurance rules within the design of the BIM digital library which could decrease, but will not completely eliminate, the human intervention.


3.5 Regulatory Framework

A regulatory framework for BIM projects is a set of rules, within which each party, involved in a project, is subject to and includes obligations, intellectual property rights, liabilities and professional indemnity insurance, among others. The comparison between the five EU countries and Brazil revealed that this component is just initiated in all countries except in the case in the UK, where there are some general terms about intellectual property, indemnity insurance and liability (see product 2 for more information). The reason for the slow progress with this component is that for the current level of BIM implementation (file-based collaboration), pre-BIM regulatory frameworks require little or no changes, especially when collaborative and partnering type contracts are used. However, there are some industry stakeholders who can still have concerns about intellectual property rights and liability, when working in BIM environment.
For this stage of BIM policy development in Brazil, it is recommended that a general document, which includes general terms of reference regarding liabilities and intellectual property rights, is developed. Terms such as those developed in the UK can be adapted for the Brazilian context. This should be developed only after the objectives, strategies and stages are defined and can be part of the BIM protocols and guides (component 2 – see 3.2), which are usually included in the appendix of calls for tenders in countries, where BIM is mandated.
In traditional forms of contracts, BIM protocols (see Section 3.2) should be part of the contractual documents and they include client requirements and the proposed project delivery approach, by the supply chain, to meet the client requirements.
It is also recommended to formally specify a new professional role to be dubbed as “BIM delivery manager” or “information manager”, responsible for managing information on projects. This should not be confused with the role of BIM coordinator who usually comes from the design or contractor organisation with tasks such as design coordination that remain under his/her responsibility. “BIM delivery manager” or “information manager” represents the clients on projects and should be appointed on all projects.

3.6 Measurements and Optimisation

The establishment of a system for measuring BIM performance, whether it is for individual (BIM competencies) or organisations (capability and maturity) is the first step towards developing a certification or auditing system in future. In all the studied countries in Product 2, no well-established schemes for BIM performance measurements and optimisation could be found for both individuals and organisations. However, in some countries, there are already some certification schemes for:
• Individuals in the UK: proposed by professional bodies (i.e. RICS – Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) and large research organisations (i.e. BRE – Building Research Establishment Ltd); • Organisations in the Netherlands: developed by “the Dutch research institute for applied sciences” (TNO) to assess and benchmark BIM performance of organisations based on quantitative and qualitative data obtained from a multiple choice questions embedded in an online system.
The above systems are still not widely recognised and BIM measurement and optimisation is still under development in all countries and, in particular, the UK and Norway (see Section 1.7 and 5.6 in Product 2).
BIM measurement is related to the country specific BIM policy as the assessment refers to e.g. the BIM uses required by the client or part of the country BIM protocols; the applicable and available standards; the terminology or taxonomy used in the country in the BIM policy documents such as protocols and guidelines, etc. However, the methodology for measuring BIM performance (e.g. BIM competency definition and their measurement system) can be taken form a third country and transposed to a country’s specific policy context.
Based on the above, we recommend the following:
• To monitor the on-going development in this area especially, in the UK and Norway;
• To develop BIM measurement for two specific contexts:
o Project’s supply chain capability: It is important to measure the capability of the supply chain to deliver the project and client requirements using BIM processes and technologies. A BIM measurement approach for this purpose should be researched and developed. This measurement is project specific and should not have a certification purpose. This item is being development in the UK, where the supply chain capability to deliver a project is assessed through their BEP (BIM execution plan) at the pre-contract stage;
o Individuals and organisations: This measurement can occur at any time. It concerns the measurement of competency of individuals and the capability of organisations and may lead to their certification. For certification purpose, a robust and recognized measurement system should be in place. The “Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial” (SENAI) is considering the development of such a competency framework based on a proven methodology (i.e. competency unit based) already in use. Therefore, they could lead the delivery of this BIM component.
While the methodology and set of competencies for BIM measurement, used for the above two purposes, can be transposed from other countries, these will need to be adapted to the Brazilian context after the key policy items (vision, guides, protocols and standards) have been developed.

3.7 Education and Training

The comparison of this component across the five EU countries and Brazil revealed that BIM education and training is still in its infancy in all these countries. There are still no national frameworks, or guidelines by professional syndicates or bodies, for incorporating BIM in higher education. Only in the UK, there is a preliminary framework, developed by the union of academics (i.e. BAF – BIM Academic framework), to guide BIM incorporation in the UK higher education. Generally the review revealed that BIM education is left to self-engaged academic or individual faculties. Mostly BIM is incorporated at post graduate (Masters). In all these countries, the challenges for BIM in higher education are similar. First and utmost, existing academic staff involved in the delivery of built environment and construction-related subjects lack the knowledge and skills to deliver BIM teaching. At post-graduate levels, where BIM is taught for a specific purpose (e.g. architectural or construction management), the current delivery often involve industry practitioners hired on part-time basis. Second, the teaching of multidisciplinary collaboration aspects of BIM is challenging to embed in the traditional silo structure of current curricula. Current remedies used for this latter challenge are either to introduce the principles of multidisciplinary collaboration in existing curricula or to set interdisciplinary projects in which students from different disciplines and backgrounds participate. A detailed analysis of BIM in education is included in Product 2.
In Brazil, BIM teaching in higher education is still limited. “Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial” (SENAI) RJ, SP, and PR started a BIM course in 2014, which is aimed to mid-level technicians/technologists and complementary professional training. However, BIM research is considered very active. There is a network of BIM researchers “rede BIM Brasil” (www.redebimbrasil.org.br) including members from: Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR); Universidade de São Paulo (USP); Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF); Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA); Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP); Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV); Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS); Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (UPM), and Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC).
In all studied countries, BIM vocational training is delivered by either software vendors or private providers, and in some countries such as the UK, by professional bodies (Royal Institute of British Architects, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, etc.) and large research institutes. Also for BIM vocational training, there are still no guidelines except a preliminary framework, developed by the UK BIM task group, that define the learning outcomes for BIM training and learning at strategic, managerial and technical levels.
In terms of BIM learning and training, the challenges associated with the delivery of the proposed BIM policy for Brazil are:
• The need to educate future construction professionals who are currently pursuing their higher education;

• The need to educate and train current key individuals from every Government department, who will be responsible for procuring (e.g. defining requirements, assessing proposals, monitoring projects) BIM projects;
• The need to skill up current backlog of construction practitioners who are not BIM aware or are not users;
• To need to skill up current academics, involved in the delivery of Built Environment courses across the Brazilian higher education system.
Taking into consideration the above analysis and challenges, we recommend:
• To assign the responsibility of developing guidelines for BIM learning in higher education at federal level to the existing network “rede BIM Brasil” or to develop an ad-hoc working group for this purpose. Representatives from the different professional syndicates should be involved in this network which should progressively embed BIM, following the developed guidelines, throughout the higher education degree levels or years;
• To establish and deliver two key up-skilling projects at federal level:
o One targeted to train current academics involved in the delivery of built environment courses throughout Brazil. This programme can be designed after the above guidelines have been developed;
o One targeted to train government department’s individuals who will be involved in BIM-project procurement and management. BIM early adopters from the Brazilian public sector such as the “Directorate of Military Works” (DOM) and the private sector can take the lead on training government departments.
• For the training of the current backlog of construction practitioners, tax breaks, as explained in 3.9, can provide a significant drive. However, the organisation of this sector, currently dominated by software vendors and private providers, in terms of standardising and accrediting course content for different BIM roles in Brazil, can be beneficial to increase the credibility of such training.

3.8 Technology Infrastructure

The technology infrastructure required for BIM adoption includes the network, hardware and software available in the country.
Some issues affecting the availability of hardware and software in Brazil (i.e. tax burden on imported hardware and on software purchasing) are addressed in Section 3.9.
A key infrastructure element, for the procurement of BIM projects in public sector at a large scale, is the IT system or collaboration platform that enables the delivery of BIM-based projects (e.g. submission, collation and coordination of information for the procurement, design, construction and operation of buildings) in the country. The brief comparison conducted for such a system in Section 2 and the detailed analysis in Product 2, demonstrated that it is still at an early stage in all EU countries except in Brazil, where the OPUS system, developed by the “Diretoria de Obras Militares” (DOM) – Directorate of Military works, is considered well-developed.
OPUS has been developed as an integrated web-based system for the management of project delivery phases (e.g. procurement, design construction, demolition) of DOM projects. OPUS was built to enable the DOM-specific and matured project delivery processes.
In principle, the approach and expertise involved in the development and use of the OPUS system can be utilised for the development of the IT system for the wider procurement of BIM projects in Brazil. The starting point should include a gap analysis between the current status of the OPUS system and the requirements of the IT system for the procurement of BIM public projects in Brazil.
The gap analysis must occur once the standards and protocols (Section 3.2) for BIM projects have been developed and agreed upon. Indeed, all the studied EU countries have started the feasibility studies of their IT systems for public procurement of BIM projects only after the BIM protocols, standards and guidance have been completed and tested. For example, it was not until 2013 that the Norwegian Building Authority (DIBK) commissioned a study for the survey of solutions and issues relevant to the development of “BygNett” – the online collaboration platform for the Norwegian AEC sector. This came years after the development and use of BIM protocols and standards in the country. Similarly in the UK, it was not until 2014 that the BIM Task Group commissioned, to a consortium of organisations, the feasibility study of the ‘digital Plan of Work’ (dPOW) – a free to use on-line tool that can capture, validate and store information for BIM projects according to the Level 2 BIM standards mandated in the UK. This occurred following an extensive effort devoted to develop the BIM standards and protocols between 2011 and 2014.
Based on the above analysis, we recommend:
• To commission a feasibility study to produce a technical specification for an on-line system for BIM collaboration in Brazil, which is based on the BIM standards and protocols (Section 3.2), developed for the BIM objectives outlined in Section 3.1;
• To utilise the technical specification of the on-line tool to conduct a gap analysis with the OPUS system. Based on the gap analysis, a decision can be made whether to extend and adapt the OPUS system to the entire Brazilian construction industry or to develop a new system;
• In either cases (i.e. adapting OPUS or developing a new system), the parameters listed in Table 3 must be considered as part of the solution.

Table 3. Technical parameters for the development an on-line BIM collaboration system

3.9 Affordability and Research Capability Building Initiatives

Affordability is considered one of the key factors in adopting BIM technology in both developing and developed countries. This evidenced in seminal research on IT innovation adoption and in the numerous BIM surveys conducted around the world in recent years. This factor was also mentioned several times in the DECONCIC meeting with Brazilian policy makers on August 1st, 2014 at FIESP1 in São Paulo.
Building research capabilities through Research and Development (R&D) project support has also proven to have a direct influence on the capabilities of the supported organisations and also on the international competitiveness of countries.
Together the affordability and research capability are important to the adoption of new technology especially, in the IT field where the acquisition or deployment (procurement, implementation and use) depend largely on the availability of appropriate skills, access to information, and availability of financing mechanisms.
Although these two items (i.e. affordability and research capability) were not part of the review conducted in product 2, the initiatives to address them are part of the general economic policies of the studied countries.

To help organisations with the affordability of innovation adoption, most governments in the European Union provide tax deduction, relief, break, allowance or incentives on both hardware and software purchase.
For example in the UK there is a tax relief schemes for both capital and intangible assets. Capital assets are any asset or equipment that can be classified under “plant and machinery” such as vans, tools, furniture, computers, office equipment, machines, etc. and they are all eligible for “tax allowances” or “capital allowances”. Expenditures on these assets can be deducted from the tax bill (up to a certain maximum threshold called “Annual Investment Allowance” that can be changed over time– e.g. can be significantly raised for specific time intervals). In most cases, intangible assets such as computer software (BIM software) can also be treated from a tax perspective in the same way as tangible asset (i.e. under capital allowances).
An example of how this tax allowance system works is:
• An architect’s taxable profit for the year is $100,000;
• The architect invest in purchasing BIM software the sum of $ 10,000;
• The architect has to pay tax on $ 90,000 ($100,000 – $ 10,000).
Many organisations, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), when are faced with the decision to deploy (procure, implement and use) a new multifaceted technology, such as BIM, tend to minimise the risk by under-investing in its adoption. SMEs can seek consultancy to aid them in this process. Consultancy fee, in many EU countries are considered as allowable professional expense that can be deducted from the taxable profit.
In terms of research and development, there are several opportunities at three levels: European, country and organisation.
At European level, the EC has the Horizon 20201 programme, which is a substantial EU research and innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). It is a competitive co-financing programme in which consortiums, involving members (private, public, academia, etc.) from several EU countries, compete to secure research grants in the indicated priority areas. The Information & Communication Technologies, which include construction and building-related research (e.g. BIM), consistently receive a wealthy share of the total yearly funding.
At country level, many EU countries especially in Western Europe, have own research councils that fund research projects within each country. From example in the UK, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) (now called Innovate UK) co-finances a significant number of projects under specific topics. This type of grants is usually available for consortium of organisations and it co-finances innovative ideas that could lead to new and exploitable products. A BIM specific call in 2014, called “digitising the construction industry”, provided a total of £ 12M for successful proposals in the area of Digital Construction and BIM. For example, the IT infrastructure required for projects in UK public procurement (see item 1.9 in Product 2) is financed by the TSB and is expected to be delivered within 2015.
At firm level, organisations are assisted in two ways. First, R&D tax relief (or tax credit) that either reduce the organisation’s tax bill for SMEs or provide a cash sum, is available in several EU countries. Second, some research councils provide co-financing for individual organisation’s R&D projects. For example, in the UK under a scheme called “Knowledge Transfer Partnership1” (KTP), several research councils, co-finance projects for individual organisations. In such projects, a company teams up with a university to resolve some key challenges affecting the future of the company business. A proposal including a detailed plan of work and a summary of the challenges and opportunities are developed prior to the approval of the proposal. A graduate (called KTP associate) is hired by the university but is based within the company for more than 90% of the project time. The academics visit every week the associate in the company to provide support for half a day. Projects last typically two years but they can vary anything between one and three years. Academics’ time and travelling expenses are fully paid by the grant. The graduate salary and his training are co-financed by the grant (usually at rate of 65% – 68%). The remaining part (35% – 32%), paid by the organisation, is also eligible for tax allowance or incentives.
Based on the above initiatives, the role of affordability and R&D in influencing innovation adoption (e.g. BIM), and the stakeholders’ requirements, discussed in the DECONCIC meeting on August 1st at FIESP2 in São Paulo, we recommend the setting of:
• Financial incentives that contribute to the SMEs’ cost of:
o Purchasing BIM software and required hardware;
o Training staff;
o Consultancy for the implementation of BIM.
Such financial incentives could be delivered in two ways:
• Provide tax relief or break that covers up to a defined maximum threshold the above three costs in the form of tax deduction;
• Establish ad-hoc digital construction fund to provide direct financial support (i.e. cash) towards all or some of the above costs (e.g. BIM software).
The selection of the measure to adopt will require a detailed feasibility study. In principle, an ad-hoc fund will require less changes to current legislations compared to the tax relief; will be quicker to establish and implement, and is flexible in terms of setting and varying the available budget. However, it might be a less democratic option than the tax relief as funding might not be sufficient to cover all requests.

To boost innovation in digital construction at country level and increase the international competitiveness, we recommend the issue of co-financed research funding competitions to be opened to joint proposals by business and academic organisations.
Finally, within on-going initiatives such as the “Ciência sem Fronteiras” (Science without Borders), by which the Brazilian Government aims to send 101,000 students for undergraduate and PhD courses to study STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and creative industries, we recommend that a share of scholarships is reserved to the area of digital construction and BIM.


Succar, B., & Kassem, M. (2015). Macro-BIM adoption : Conceptual structures. Automation in Construction, 57, 64–79. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2015.04.018

Kassem, M. & Amorin, S. (2015). BIM. Building Information Modeling no Brasil e na União Europeia. Brasília, 2015.
Available at < http://sectordialogues.org/sites/default/files/acoes/documentos/bim.pdf>, access in  7/9/2016

BIO: Dr. Mohamad Kassem is Associate Professor in Mechanical and Construction Engineering at Northumbria University. Dr. Kassem’s expertise ranges from strategic Building Information Modelling (BIM) policy development to technical BIM solution scoping and implementation. He is supporting several committees and policy makers around the world, including an official role as an adviser/consultant – appointed after a competitive shortlisting and selection process at EU level – to the Brazilian Government with responsibility for developing a BIM adoption roadmap for Brazil. He is a recognised expert researcher in Building Information Modelling (BIM) and has published more than 50 articles on BIM policies, processes and technologies in international journals and conferences. Dr. Kassem holds, in collaboration with a team within Teesside University, several research and enterprise grants (total value more than $2m) from British and international funding bodies. Dr. Kassem delivered several public presentations in Belgium, Brazil, the Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Spain and the United Kingdom.

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