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BIM technology to challenge for the construction and infrastructure sector in Colombia

BIM technology to challenge for the construction and infrastructure sector in Colombia

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By 2023, 35% to 50% of public construction projects in Colombia will require the use of BIM, and this percentage will reach 100% by 2026, according to the National BIM Strategy.

Innovation and new technologies have become necessary for all companies worldwide and the construction sector is no different.

According to the Colombian Chamber of Construction (CAMACOL, in Spanish), digitalization of the civil construction area may represent an improvement in the productivity of companies and the competitiveness of the sector in the country.

However, implementing technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) or Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) has presented a series of challenges for the different actors in the sector.

Julián Palacios, BIM Engineer, Pavco Wavin, said: “One of the challenges we find is that there is little knowledge about the methodology because, although there are some experts, generally they do not know how to use the software or how to manage it, and that is why these knowledge spaces are so important.”

According to BuildingSMART, BIM technology is a collaborative working methodology for construction planning and management, where geometric, time, cost, environmental impact and maintenance information is centralized in a digital model. 

Phil Bernstein, Honorary Member, American Institute of Architects, added: “In other words, BIM works to aid decision-making in design, the creation of high-quality construction documents, performance prediction, costing and construction planning.”

Challenges and prospects for its use in the sector

In 2020, Colombia joined the National BIM Strategy, a plan for massive adoption of the methodology by 2026. It establishes a progressive transition for national projects, expecting that by 2023, 35% to 50% of public construction projects will require the use of BIM. By 2026, 100% of public projects will use this technology.

It is important to note that different sectors are concerned because, although it is a technology that has been on the market for a few years, there is a substantial lack of knowledge about it, especially regarding infrastructure projects.

“Almost 90% of the BIM implementation has been in real estate and 10% related to infrastructure. It is curious because the first to be regulated are public projects, most of which are infrastructure and this is where we have made less progress. In the public sector, the agreed transition of the National BIM Strategy is underway, increasingly requiring the use of this technology in tenders, and there is still a long way to go,” added Palacios.

Companies like Oracle, which has offered tools for implementing BIM, express that this technology is fundamental in infrastructure projects because it affects many people, and it is important to anticipate as many errors and risks as possible.

Natalia Magatti, Regional Lead for Women in BIM, Oracle Latin America, said: “Today there is a great advance in terms of BIM technology in the infrastructure sector because before it was only related to architecture and design, and today, thanks to national regulations, its use in infrastructure has been encouraged.”

The forum also mentioned that most contractors and builders had not seen the full potential of BIM to make projects more effective and efficient.

“We need to discuss the infrastructure issue. Now the challenge is in coordination, and we are at the right time because there is not much expertise yet for these types of projects, and it is necessary to use working groups to share experiences,” Palacios said.

As the industry’s digital challenges continue, companies like Pavco Wavin have understood the need to start on the path toward this transformation to increase project productivity and efficiency.

For this reason, the company has created services such as Pavco Wavin BIM Libraries that provide automatically updated bills of materials, ensuring that their use in digital models is the same as on the building site to optimize resources and reduce errors in material counting.

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