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The new frontiers of BIM in sustainable and digital procurement

BIM redefines procurement with sustainable and digital strategies. Discover how the process of acquiring services and materials is changing

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is revolutionizing the construction industry not only in design and construction, but also in procurement, i.e. in the acquisition of goods and services. With the advent of increasingly sustainability-oriented and digitally efficient strategies, understanding these new frontiers is essential for every industry professional.

Introduction to sustainable procurement in BIM

Sustainable procurement in the context of BIM involves not only the acquisition of eco-friendly materials and services, but also the promotion of ethical and socially responsible practices throughout the value chain. This holistic approach aims to maximize long-term value for all stakeholders, with multiple tangible benefits: it promotes the reduction of environmental impact through the selection of low-energy consumption materials, the optimization of the building’s life cycle, and the reduction of construction waste; it promotes technological innovation and collaboration among stakeholders, encouraging the development and adoption of more efficient and sustainable solutions.

At the same time, sustainable procurement in BIM presents unique challenges, such as the need to accurately identify and evaluate the environmental and social impact of the materials and processes involved in the project.

And thanks to the availability of detailed data and advanced analytical tools offered by BIM, it is possible to effectively address these challenges, making informed and responsible decisions.

The role of BIM in procurement renewal

The role of BIM in procurement renewal is fundamental to radically transform the way materials, services, and resources are acquired in the construction industry. BIM is not just a design and construction tool, but also a catalyst for process optimization and increased efficiency along the entire value chain.

First of all, BIM, thanks to the use of specific BIM management tools, allows for better management and sharing of project-related information, enabling more effective communication among all parties involved in the procurement process. This leads to greater transparency and coordination, reducing the risk of errors and conflicts during the acquisition phase.

Secondly, BIM facilitates in-depth analysis and evaluations of possible sustainable procurement options. Through digital modeling and simulation, it is possible to examine the environmental and social impact of different procurement decisions, allowing stakeholders to make informed and responsible decisions.

Furthermore, BIM promotes the standardization and rationalization of procurement processes, reducing the time and costs associated with the acquisition of materials and services. The creation of digital libraries of standardized components and materials allows for quicker and more accurate selection during the design phase, reducing the need for complex and costly procurement procedures (read also “Asset management: strategies and benefits in construction“).

Finally, BIM supports the implementation of collaborative and results-based procurement practices. The sharing of models and real-time data facilitates collaboration among the different disciplines involved in the project, enabling the building of long-term trust and partnerships between suppliers, subcontractors, and clients.

The influence of digital technologies: the rise of e-procurement

Digital technologies have revolutionized the way we manage procurement in construction: BIM acts as a bridge between design and construction lifecycle management, enabling an integrated and collaborative view of the process.

We have just mentioned the advantages brought by this integration and can be summarized as follows:

  1. improved communication: BIM promotes real-time information sharing among all actors involved in the procurement process, reducing delays and ambiguities;
  2. planning optimization: BIM models provide an accurate digital representation of the project, allowing for more precise planning of the time and resources needed for procurement;
  3. reduction of errors and costs: thanks to the three-dimensional visualization of projects, it is possible to identify and resolve any conflicts or issues before they occur during the construction phase, avoiding costly delays and changes;
  4. traceability and control: the use of BIM in procurement allows for complete traceability of the materials and components used in construction, improving regulatory compliance and risk management.

E-Procurement in a BIM context

E-procurement, or electronic procurement, represents a natural evolution in the realm of BIM. This practice involves the use of digital platforms to manage the procurement process, from request for proposal to supplier selection and contract management. In a BIM context, e-procurement offers a series of specific advantages:

  1. access to a global database of suppliers: e-procurement platforms offer access to a wide network of qualified and certified suppliers, allowing for more accurate and targeted selection;
  2. process automation: the automation of procurement processes reduces dependence on manual procedures, improving efficiency and reducing the risk of human errors;
  3. cost and environmental impact monitoring: e-procurement platforms integrate cost monitoring and environmental impact analysis tools, allowing for more accurate and sustainable resource management;
  4. material traceability: through integration with BIM, e-procurement platforms allow for complete traceability of materials used in construction, improving transparency and regulatory compliance.

Studies and initiatives for a green future

Sustainable procurement is a fundamental component for achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals in the context of construction. Through careful selection of materials and services, the promotion of efficient production processes, and the adoption of ethical practices throughout the supply chain, a significant contribution is made to reducing environmental impact and promoting more balanced social and economic conditions.

The construction industry, supported by BIM, plays a fundamental role in achieving these goals by adopting practices that respect the environment and society.

The importance of BIM in material management

Materials are the backbone of any construction project. Effective management not only reduces waste and improves sustainability but can also significantly influence the economy and society. However, despite the increase in material consumption and the emergence of global policies for sustainable management, many stakeholders in the construction industry remain unaware of the significant impact that effective material management can have on sustainable decisions.

The implementation of BIM offers a unique opportunity to improve material management in sustainable procurement, allowing, as we have seen, for accurate assessment, effective traceability, and optimized management of material resources, thus contributing to the achievement of sustainability goals in construction.


The integration of sustainable and digital practices in procurement through BIM represents a significant turning point for the construction sector. As we approach a future where sustainability is indispensable, understanding and adopting these strategies becomes fundamental. Through BIM, it is possible to build not only buildings but also a greener and more efficient tomorrow.