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BIM around the world: Scandinavia boasts a consolidated practice in the construction industry

BIM around the world: Scandinavia boasts a consolidated practice in the construction industry

BIM around the world: the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden) are among the earliest BIM adopters, having implemented public standards and requirements already for some time

Differently from many other countries in the world, Scandinavian countries are coordinating to develop common organizations and platforms.
buildingSMART Nordic is an example of non-profit common organization and member of buildingSMART International, including the representations of:

  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Norway

Norway is, however, an independent member of buildingSMART International and, for this reason, the buildingSMART Norway Chapter covers rather an “observer” function within buildingSMART Nordic.



buildingSMART Nordic

The mission of buildingSMART Nordic is to contribute to building a sustainable built environment through a smarter information sharing and communication. Further, by using open international standards within the building and construction sector, both private and public while pursuing the following objectives:

  • develop and maintain open international standards (Open BIM)
  • accelerate BIM assimilation into the construction market through sustainable and successful pilot projects
  • provide networking opportunities, specifications and written indications
  • solve high cost problems in the AEC industry
  • extend buildingSMART processes and technology to the entire built environment, to its life cycle and including leadership, production, facility management and engineering maintenance.



Consequently, benefits for the Scandinavian industries are:

  • implementing both public and private increasingly sustainable programs
  • having better buildings faster and cheaper (value for money)
  • obtaining more predictable results (reduced risk)
  • having high-performing and energy efficient buildings (with a better environment at lower costs)
  • creating new business opportunities
  • Finland

In Finland, the use of BIM is now consolidated, the experimental phase has already passed for some time. In fact, the Finnish state property services agency,  Senate Properties, has required the use of BIM for its projects since 2001.

Thanks to the results achieved by these pilot projects, the Finnish government has understood that BIM technologies and methodologies were ready for a wider diffusion in public construction and becoming an everyday tool in projects.


Easton Commercial Center Helsinki

In 2007 , the confederation of Finnish construction industry started to require that all the design software packages had IFC certification. It should be highlighted that IFC is a neutral file format that allows to share and work on models independently from the use of any specific software (open BIM).

In terms of BIM implementation levels, this is the most advanced country in the world. As a matter of fact, in 2007, 93% of architectural firms, and 60% of engineering firms, were using BIM routinely.

  • Sweden

The Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) has published a series of guides with the aim of promoting BIM in the country since 1991, while starting from 2014 the BIM Alliance Sweden has brought together the main public and private stakeholders, to find more resources and support construction innovation.



New Karolinska Solna hospital project (NKS)

The level of adoption of BIM in Sweden is so high that best practices have developed even in the absence of clear guidelines from the government. The country is only behind the United States in the publication of academic papers focusing on BIM. The government is also taking initiatives to facilitate the implementation of BIM for public organizations, in fact state organizations like the Swedish Transport Administration has made the use of BIM mandatory from 2015.

  • Denmark

The use of BIM has had great results since 2000. In fact, already in 2006, 50% of architects had used BIM at least for a project. In 2007 the use of BIM was mandatory for all public projects and in 2011 this requirement was extended to all regional and local institutions.


University Hospital Aalborg, Denmark

Denmark has mandated its state institutions, including the Palaces and Properties Agency, the Danish University Property Agency and the Defense Construction Service, to adopt increasingly advanced BIM practices, while other private organizations and universities support them through research and development work in BIM.

  • Norway

The Norwegian Homebuilders Association has actively promoted the use of BIM together with the Norwegian directorate of Public Construction and Property (Statsbygg), a public administration body responsible for organizing and planning public assets projects in Norway.

Also, thanks to these associations, since 2010, all projects have been using IFC and BIM file formats for the entire lifecycle of their buildings. A leading organization named SINTEF is also conducting research in the BIM as part of the national research and development program focusing on sustainable tools to improve buildings construction and management.


Statoil Project – Norway


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