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BIM in Europe: national strategy developments in Spain

BIM in Europe: national strategy developments in Spain

BIM in Europe: developments in the Spanish national strategy and obligations in public procurement from 2019. Here is the latest BIM news

The main objective of BIM development policies in Spain, as well as in the rest of the world, is to increase productivity in the construction sector and in public works.

The direct consequences relating to the adoption of this methodology in the construction industry are evident to the Spanish Government and can be summarized as follows:

  • better adaptation to new international trends
  • increase in terms of quality for projects and public works
  • costs reduction for construction works and infrastructures
  • better management and reduction of time and costs during the construction phase
  • increase in transparency during information exchange
  • greater attention to infrastructure sustainability
  • more dynamic infrastructure market
  • greater companies competitiveness on the international market
  • overall greater development of the country.



In this article we’ll be making an overview of the current situation with regard to the level of maturity of BIM in Spain, also analyzing the latest es.BIM report published by a special BIM commission.

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5 key points of BIM developments in Spain

Before discussing the level of diffusion of these methodologies in the Spanish construction industry in detail, let’s make a summary of the digitalisation development in the country:

  • 2012

The Spanish certification association AENOR is the only Spanish certification body that develops technical standards and protocols that is chosen by the Ministry of Industry to represent Spain in Europe.

In 2012 AENOR contributed to the creation of a subcommittee for drafting AEN / CTN 41 / SC13 standards relating to civil construction works, which was named “Subcomité Organización de modelos de información relativos a la edificación y la obra civil “. Competences regarding BIM methodologies converged to this committee.


  • 2014

The Spanish branch of the international buildingSMART association was officially born, although individual practices of using BIM processes had been undertaken since 2009.

The Ministry of Development created a public-private discussion table for the development of BIM in Spain in relation to European directives n. 24/2014

  • 2015

The EUBIM-Spain congress is held in Barcelona where several Catalan institutions outlined the current situation in terms of initiatives to promote the spread of BIM in the country.

  • 2017

Catalonia adopted IFC standards for spreading BIM processes in all phases of the construction process. “Intentions” card and a program with objectives to be achieved were published.

  • 2018/2019

The Spanish 2018/2019 program is based on three main steps:

  1. 12/03/2018: recommended use of BIM in public works tenders
  2. 12/12/2018: mandatory use of BIM in public works construction tenders
  3. 26/07/2019: mandatory use of BIM in all public works and infrastructures


Public-private synergy

The Spanish strategy key element regarding BIM is the collaboration between the different actors of all the involved sectors while monitoring the process through the Ministry of Development.

Public-private collaboration is at the basis of the BIM methodology and it is divided into two steps:

  • top-down” approach, where the public administration gives indications to follow
  • bottom-up” approach, where the different actors involved make proposals and recommendations to improve processes.

The BIM committee of the Ministero de Fomento established an open methodology with continuous corrections based on reports which were provided by the construction sector professionals. Once the Ministry defines the general guidelines, it is the private sector that directs them to a more detailed level and then institutions incorporate and implement the new ideas into legislation.


The es.BIM project

The Spanish Ministry of Development has promoted the creation of the es.BIM project through the BIM commission to accelerate its spread in Spain.

The es.BIM project is based on several basic points:

  1. BIM spread in the Spanish construction industry, starting from a working group with open participation to both public and private sectors
  2. Encourage the use of BIM throughout the life cycle of an infrastructure
  3. making public administrations aware of the use of BIM protocols in public tenders and calls for tenders
  4. establishing a program to adapt the national legislation to BIM methodologies
  5. developing national protocols that standardize the use of BIM
  6. setting up an academic plan for technical personnel training
  7. promoting digitization in infrastructure planning to make it more sustainable
  8. encouraging the use of “open BIM” and establish security levels for each class of operator
  9. positioning the Spanish construction industry among the best in the world for the use of BIM
  10. supporting Spanish institutions during construction industry-related internazional events.

es.BIM manages through the esbim.es portal a public program based on an open system having as participants:

  • industry experts (companies, professionals, public administrations)
  • a multidisciplinary group divided by themes.

ACCA software is among the companies that collaborate with the es.BIM commission and participating to the working groups:

  • GT3Procesos
  • GT4Tecnología

The 2018 es.BIM report: BIM level in Spain

The es.BIM prepares periodic report on the progress of the BIM strategy in Spain.
The latest report dates back to April 2018 includes these data:

  • 37% of the Spanish companies believe that BIM is not a priority
  • 29% of the operators have only a  minimum training on BIM
  • only 11% have good familiarity with BIM.

According to the es.BIM commission, the implementation of BIM in the Iberian Peninsula is still experiencing slow and limited circulation and adoption due to construction companies and industry professional’s opposition to change.

Public policies are oriented to requesting BIM as an essential requirement for public works tenders in order to increase companies’ familiarity with these new working methods.

A solution could be following the Italian approach, with a progressive introduction of BIM obligation, starting from the most important works and gradually extending the use of BIM to minor works over the years.

BIM level of implementation during the different building lifecycle stages is outlined by:

  • low diffusion during design and project phase
  • a good diffusion during the construction phase
  • almost zero diffusion in the management and maintenance phases.

The 2018 es.BIM report and public tenders

Analyzing the April 2018 es.BIM report statistical data, it can be observed that among the 84 calls for tenders requiring BIM methodology and published between 2017 and 2018:

  • l’ 87% are relating to the public building sector
  • il 13% are relating to infrastructure

The chart below represents how BIM is mainly used during design/ execution phase and only marginally during other phases of the building lifecycle.

BIM application during a building lifecycle

Specifically, BIM methodology has a higher application during design phase with regard to infrastructures, while it finds a larger application both during design and construction phase with regard to public construction.

This widespread diffusion of BIM in the public sector is encouraged by a significant increase in public investment and a general recovery of the Spanish economy. As a matter of fact, public investments for the first quarter of 2018 amounted to 40% of all funds disbursed in 2017.

Some important facts with regard to “BIM oriented” calls shows that:

  • 57% calls are promoted on a regional level
  • 25% calls are promoted on a state level
  • 12% calls are promoted at a municipal level
  • 6 % calls are promoted by other public bodies

The regional administrations are therefore the first to include BIM protocols in calls for tenders, investing 72.6 million euros in new public works only in the first quarter of 2018.

The graph below clearly shows the investments distribution on the Spanish territory outlining the absolute value of the number of public tenders with BIM requirements in each autonomous community.


Specifically, in the following chart, it is clear that the Spanish regions that have invested the most in the sector are:

  • Catalonia with 27.4% of all national investments related to 2018
  • Valencia with 23.8% of all national investments related to 2018
  • Andalusia with 10.7% of all national investments related to 2018


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Click here to download the April 2018 Es.BIM report