Romania is lagging behind European states in digitizing its construction sector

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It is a known fact that Romania is lagging behind European states in many regards, and the construction sector is definitely a place where it can grow. Despite the cost savings and time reductions that the Building Information Modeling (BIM) concept can offer to a project, less than 5% of the active construction projects are using it, and the number of licensed BIM Managers is even smaller.

Some of the projects using BIM are the refurbishment of Bucur Obor shopping center, the future Tarnaveni bridge in Mures Country, and the smart home pilot project created by EFdeN. Although the need for standardisation and digitization within constructions is high, Romania only has 191 BIM Managers at the moment, and if we take a look at the European Union, we will find a number much larger of 34,301 BIM specialists, according to Autodesk’s LinkedIn information. We also need to consider that Romanian state institutions are not technologically inclined, very few of them accepting digital documents, even the simple PDF format is shunned, and this puts Romania at the back of the European ladder of digital technology adoption.

Here are the main conclusions of the BIMcon National Conference, event recently organized in Bucharest by BIMTECH – the Association for the Research, Development, and Implementation of Building Technologies.

These days, a growing number of architects, engineers and contractors are using BIM. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an intelligent method of designing, building and operating of the built environment that involves generating and managing virtual digital representations of the physical and functional properties of a building. Using BIM brings significant savings in construction costs and time, a field which accounts for 35% of the resulting waste and 40% of the global energy consumption. Currently, 85 of the world’s 100 largest architecture offices use BIM in their projects.

“BIMcon, an event at its first edition this year, intends to attract the attention of state institutions and market actors on BIM. We want Romania to benefit from the wide adoption of the BIM concept, which benefits sustainability, increased efficiency, reduced time and cost of design and execution. The positive impact  of BIM over the life-cycle of a building is huge”, said Stefan Constantinescu, president, and co-founder of BIMTECH.

“We also believe that by adopting the BIM standard in Romania, the relationship between design, architecture and construction companies with state representatives would be much better than it is today,” added BIMTECH President.

For example, in Finland, institutional digitization in construction has led to the emergence of virtual cities. More specifically, through the Sova3D project, developed by Petri Kokko for Finnish institutions and presented at BIMcon, designers and owners can submit and review their projects online. This is possible by using the digital model of the Finnish city, where the digital model of the future construction is inserted. Citizens can comment and give feedback directly on  the web application hosted by the municipality’s site. Moreover, the City Hall (in relation to the other institutions) can approve permits for the project online based on the BIM digital model. Finland is one of the countries leading the wave of digitization at the institutional level in the field of construction.

Another road-opening country in applying the BIM concept is the Netherlands. At BIMcon, Lex Ransijn, and Jasper De Mink presented the Pontsteiger Project, finalized in 2018 in Amsterdam and awarded by BSI with BuildingSMART International Awards 2018 – Construction. The project represents a perfect example of how all involved in a project can collaborate, using BIM and current international standards. The project was based on no less than 325 .ifc models, and was 80% prefabricated due to site requirments, as it was built mostly over water.

In Romania, among the projects using BIMis the EfdeN Signature House, which has recently received fourth place at the international competition of sustainable houses Solar Decathlon Middle East in Dubai. It is an innovative project with a special “shell”, that ensures both an optimal luminosity in the house and outdoor bioclimate and relaxation space. EFdeN Signature is an intelligent solar house, the electrical and mechanical systems being controlled by an automated solution. Residents of the house can remotely control, through an application, the lighting, temperature, the door opening system and some of the appliances.

BIMTECH also presented at BIMcon the pilot project for the modernization of a landmark building in Romania, one of the first commercial spaces built in our country. It is the Bucur Obor Commercial Center, built in 1975. The BIMTECH project for the new Bucur Obor Commercial Center has assumed that the complexity of the works, especially the MEP systems, will require prior digitization. The solutions have been corroborated with information dating back over 40 years and with the modern surveys techniques including laser-scanning. Based on the BIM model, the necessary permits were obtained, and the project is now in the construction phase.

Another project presented was the future Tarnaveni bridge in Mures County, built by Strabag. The Austrian company has begun to use the BIM standard globally after finding that in the international construction market, in about 60% of the projects, the costs incurred do not correspond to those planned, and 30% of the construction costs come from repairs and additional works and materials used. Currently, Strabag uses drones to scan the land the company is about to carry out road and bridge construction work.

“Globally, there is already a tendency for BIM to become an international standard, and we believe that for Romania the adoption of the BIM is an opportunity to create standards for the digitization of construction before the European institutions impose this,” explained Constantin Vinau, vice president and co-founder of BIMTECH.

According to Autodesk data presented at BIMcon’s first edition, by 2050 about 10 billion people will live on Earth, and 68% of them will live in cities, which means that about 3,600 buildings will be built every day. Thus, construction will account for about 30% of global waste. In this context, it is necessary to implement BIM to minimize the errors and materials left behind by the sites. According to Autodesk, Romania is lagging behind with technology used in the construction field somewhere around years 1990-2000.

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