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BIM – a mystery to most installers

39543717_sNETHERLANDS: Governments may see BIM as the next big thing in building design, but a new report suggests it is a mystery to most hvac installers.

According to Dutch consultancy USP in its latest report of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor, only the Netherlands is using BIM – Building Information Modelling – to any appreciable extent and by far the largest majority of installers have never even heard of it.

Although tipped as a ‘next generation’ way of designing, engineering, sharing and making use of information in the building process, this latest survey amongst 1,200 hvac installation companies in six European countries (UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Poland) suggests the message is not being heard.

Building Information Modelling is a process of generating and managing data throughout the life cycle of a building – typically using three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic modelling software – with a view to increasing productivity in building design and construction.


Among the six investigated countries the Dutch seem to be leading in the area of BIM. Most of the HVAC installers in the Netherlands have heard of BIM, with 20% already claiming to be using it. Despite that, 39% claim to not be aware of BIM.

The UK, where the government is planning for BIM to be a requirement in all government contracts by 2016, is also showing higher awareness of BIM than the rest of the countries,. However, only 6% of hvac installers are claiming to be using it already and nearly two-thirds (64%) claim to be completely unaware of it.

In Poland and Belgium four out of five are unaware of BIM, but the lowest awareness can be found in France and Germany, where 89% and 87%, respectively, have never heard of it and only 1-2% are actually using it.

According to the results of its survey, compiler USP says that knowledge of BIM seems to be far greater amongst the larger companies. In that respect, based on further information supplied by the report compilers, the UK may have done better as a greater proportion of UK survey responders were small companies. 

A breakdown of the survey responders by number of employees

Client demands will undoubtedly play an important part in BIM adoption, but it is only in the Netherlands where any degree of requests for using BIM can be seen. According to the report, four out of five Dutch installers do not receive such requests, but among the share that does receive these most installers notice a growing demand.

The report suggests that the outlook for the usage of BIM by the HVAC companies is still unknown. In the UK, Germany and Belgium only one out of twenty installers are said to have plans to start working in BIM. In France 98% is not planning on using BIM. Although the Dutch installers are relatively early adopters, still 82% of the ones who do not use BIM yet has no plans to start working with BIM.

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