BIM in Europe: the transition plan to digital construction (PTNB) promoted by the French government sets ambitious goals to be achieved by 2022 through the KROQI platform

The digital construction transition plan or “Plan Transition Numérique dans le Bâtiment“, promoted by the French government, aims to a complete diffusion of BIM strategies in design/management of public works and large infrastructures by 2022.

The Plan Transition Numérique dans le Bâtiment (PTNB)

The PTNB was introduced by the Council of Ministers in December 2014 and financed for a period of 3 years with 20 million euros taken from the “Fonds de Compensation de lʼAssurance Construction” (FCAC).

The Digital Transition Plan for Build-ings (PTNB) was formally established by the “Ministère de la Cohésion des Territoires”, at the beginning of 2015, in response to the expectations expressed by the construction sector. It consists of a steering committee represented by 14 professional organizations and 4 ministries.

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This steering committee defines the priorities, decides the actions to be taken (tenders, guidelines, pilot projects, etc.), regulates the choices of the operators in the sector and organizes the follow-up of the actions undertaken. The decisions of the steering committee are prepared by a technical secretariat which also coordinates the agreements with the project promoters and the other actors involved in the process.

In January 2015 Bertrand Delcambre after being appointed president of the PTNB by the Ministry set the following objectives:

  • experimenting, capitalizing on and incentivizing actors to work in BIM environments during a buildings’ lifecycle
  • guiding the professional growth of construction engineers with regard to new BIM technologies
  • following the development of tools which are suitable for all sectors, with particular attention to BIM
  • develop a climate of trust towards new digital tools, also encouraging the drafting of new regulations in order to facilitate the “dialogue” between the various software.

The plan includes also the following secondary objectives:

  • supporting the actors of the French digital economy
  • encouraging contracting authorities to use BIM technology in public tender procedures
  • guiding small construction companies in the use of digital technology
  • demonstrating the effectiveness of digital technology in all the phases of the construction process, such as design, construction, maintenance and dismantling phases
  • demonstrating the usefulness of BIM by highlighting the progress achieved in terms of cutting costs and time, higher quality and better productivity
  • promoting the use of digital tools during management and maintenance of buildings
  • promoting the operators’ continuous training in this sector
  • guaranteeing the interoperability of the tools
  • developing pilot projects to be used as reference models
  • respecting the “copyright” and the intellectual property of the projects
  • reducing the problems related to bad communication between the operators
  • participating in guaranteeing the digital law.

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Thirty pilot projects were then gradually planned and developed, according to an operational roadmap.

The first concrete experiences have already been completed but most of these actions are in progress and will be completed by the end of 2018. A report published in March 2017 analyzed the progress of these actions by specifying problems and objectives for each one of them and the status of the works.

In March 2018 during the BIMWORLD, the PTNB has launched a collaborative exchange platform, named KROQI, which has been developed by the CSTB (The Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment) while the previous beta version is dating back to 2017.

The KROQI public platform

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The French state has made the “KROQI” platform available to all the operators in the construction sector. This tool, being free and public, is associated to an ecosystem of services that allow to cooperate around the BIM digital model in all phases of the building’s life cycle.

The platform that was previously named PNB -Plateforme Numérique Bâtiment, aims at:

  • allowing easier access to BIM for small and medium-sized companies
  • working in a reliable digital environment
  • improving planning and resources management
  • increasing reactivity and productivity
  • optimizing costs
  • organizing meetings, videoconferences, chats
  • sharing information and documents in real time
  • assigning and managing activities
  • generating a 3D model starting from 2d drawings
  • verifying the compatibility of digital models, in compliance with BIM Protocols contracted in projects

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KROQI e ACCA software

ACCA software is partner of the KROQI platform, having 2 software solutions already available:

Edificius (the architectural BIM design software) and Edificius LAND (the software for garden and outdoor spaces design).

Shortly, other software solutions will be available within the platform. Specifically:

EdiLus (the software for the structural calculation)
PriMus IFC (the Quantity Take Off software from IFC)
usBIM.browser (the online browser specialized for the navigation of the digital model)

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As a matter of fact, one of the main objectives of the KROQI platform is to allow to all the stakeholders of the construction sector to take part in the BIM process with easy to use applications and open formats: “data must be accessible and editable by everyone”.

The strength of the shared platform is its easiness of use, while allowing companies, even small to medium ones, to quickly acquire working methods.

The perspectives of the French strategy: the objectives for 2022

The statute “Bim objectives 2022”, which promotes the voluntary involvement of all the actors in the construction sector in favor of BIM and, more generally, the digital transition, was signed in 2017 in Paris during the BATIMAT fair.

On 9th November 2017, Jacques Mézard, Minister of Cohesion of Territories, presented this statute for the digital building sector in order to spread the use of BIM in design. It was signed by about fifty industry players that have taken part in supporting the dissemination of these new digital tools. The document is constantly open to new members of both public institutions and private companies.

A document that aims at:

  • highlighting the voluntary commitment of the entire supply chain to the digital transition
  • setting an objective for 2022 for the widespread use of BIM in new buildings

Recently, the Minister of Cohesion of Territories and the Secretary of State said that in 2022 the digital transition will involve the entire construction sector, imagining it as an unprecedented revolution. Their motto is:
Construire plus, mieux et moins cher” – building more and better by spending less.

The numeric transition

Key points according to French professionals

Professional orders encourage and promote the development of digital tools, in order to build in a better way and renovate the urban fabric, faster, at lower costs, thus facilitating the entire building’s life cycle. They feel the need for new and more incisive government initiatives to avoid the gap between the major manufacturers, having more financial and human resources to invest, and the small businesses, which are very numerous but that have more difficulty adapting to this change in the way of building.

The transition to the age of collaborative working is considered an important matter during the digital transition of the construction industry.

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The future of the French digital industry is continuously developing, but in an irregular way. The only certainty is that IT giants are heavily investing in research and development programs, in order to increasingly develop high-performance software and to accelerate the transformation towards the digital construction.

Over the past 20 years computing has gained in performance and reliability, generating incredible productivity gains in all areas of activity, boosted by the incredible success of Internet media, including the building sector where actors are already comfortable with the numeric model.

However, 60% of construction professionals say they are reluctant to use the digital 3D model and not the IT tools. A survey conducted in September 2014, about digitalization, shows that if “digital technologies were fully implemented, they could generate savings of almost 1000 billion euros, in France, by 2025.”

As habitual application users in everyday life, building professionals want to find the same simplicity of use in digital construction, as long as they have the right tools with an undeniable guarantee of reliability.

Some technical professionals stated that: “Nobody doubts the progress made in recent years to guarantee and make the professional uses of digital technology more reliable. However, specific tools will be validly adopted only if they demonstrate their efficiency and ease to use, as during their everyday use “.

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