How Your BIM Software Must Comply with Regulatory BIM Guidelines

Thu Jan 03, 2019

Building Information Modeling (BIM) adoption in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) is certainly growing, and that too in multiple key regions.

The graph below (about the use of BIM for transportation infrastructure) also illustrates the rapid growth of BIM since 2015, especially in 2017 when BIM took over the majority of projects.

BIM software must comply with BIM guidelines

Source: Deloitte

This adoption growth is being driven by BIM’s potential for near and long-term cost savings in building construction, maintenance and energy usage. In addition, BIM is equipping AEC firms to digitally collaborate and, in turn, share models and plans to coordinate seamlessly.

We shouldn’t underplay these advantages.

Right from the design phase, BIM equips architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) companies to build digital mockups of their projects. These mockups can even run different simulations of the building to determine its viability, e.g. assessing structural integrity and energy consumption.

In addition, BIM can also be used to manage the building after it’s built by supporting renovation and maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) projects. Be it design, construction or support, the idea behind BIM is to acquire actionable insights without committing to physical work in order to get those critical lessons. In other words, save costs at every step of the process.

However, one significant reason for BIM adoption has been a combination of the industry taking it as a best practice as well as a growing number of governments mandating it.

For example in 2016, the UK government greenlit “BIM Level 2” compliance regulations. These require construction firms interested in building public infrastructure to adhere to BIM Level 2.

Germany is working to make BIM mandatory in all infrastructure projects by 2020 (it’s currently at 71% adoption), while Denmark, Spain and Italy reached 100%, 93% and 82% respectively.

BIM adoption is also growing in Asia, e.g., Singapore has a BIM adoption rate of 65%, while efforts are underway in Malaysia and India to raise awareness about BIM.


Below, you will find an overview of BIM regulatory adoption in key construction markets.

Overview: The Regulatory Landscape of BIM

BIM UK Standards

In the UK, all bids for public infrastructure construction projects must use BIM Level 2.

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy states that BIM Level 2 “requires all project and asset information, documentation and data to be electronic, which supports efficient delivery and the design and construction phases of the project.”

According to the UK government, the majority of its departments have aligned with BIM Level 2.


In 2007, the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries took BIM as an industry standard practice. Moreover, the Confederation requires that all BIM software secure Industry Foundation Class (IFC) certification. IFC is a vendor-neutral format meant to facilitate interoperability.


The Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property (Statsbygg) has been using BIM for all of its projects since 2010. Like Finland, IFC adoption is a must (and must in place through the entire lifecycle of the construction project, including MRO).


Denmark requires each of its state agencies -- e.g., Palaces and Properties Agency, the Danish University Property Agency and Defence Construction Service -- to work with BIM.


Various state departments (e.g., the Swedish Transport Administration) had begun requiring BIM since 2015, but local entities had been using BIM as a best practice long before then.


BIM has been mandatory in France since 2017.

United States

Since 2006, the General Services Administration (GSA) began requiring that all new federal building bids (submitted to the Public Buildings Service) use BIM. Today, the GSA’s BIM rules are governed under its National 3D-4D-BIM Program.

In 2010, Wisconsin became the first US State to require BIM for all public infrastructure projects valued at over $5 million. Moreover, new projects worth $2.5 billion or more are also required to follow BIM. The private sector is embracing BIM to control costs and increase revenue.


As part of its 12th Five-Year Plan, China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) began advising construction firms to adopt BIM. This was upgraded into an actual requirement as part of MOHURD’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).

How are BIM Applications Relevant?

Be it through government regulations or industry best practices, it’s evident that BIM adoption is growing, especially in key markets such as the European Union and Asia.

To capture market-share in this market, you must solve a pressing need: interoperability.

There are numerous software suites being used for BIM and, as a result, collaborating teams might be working in different formats and workflows. Likewise, some markets (such as Finland) are requiring that BIM be readable in vendor-neutral formats, such as IFC.

However, achieving interoperability across different CAD (Computer Aided Design) and BIM suites through isn’t inherently easy.

Developers struggle with the costs involved in managing different software builds (e.g., from Autodesk, 3DEXPERIENCE and others) and updates. Moreover, writing and maintaining code for each software silo is a time-consuming process.

Finally, many variables are also in play: Will your BIM reader provide geometric kernel support for 3D models? Will it be able to read and write file formats in IFC, STEP and DGN? Does your company have the resources to handle technical difficulties and still make it to market on time?

How Spatial’s SDK is Key to Your Software Development Efforts


Spatial’s software development kits (SDK) let you overcome these issues.

For example, our BIM suite equips applications to read industry-leading formats (e.g. Revit, Bentley MicroStation and others) as well as vendor-neutral, government-mandated ones like IFC.

We maintain the code you need in order to read and write different formats, while you focus on your competitive edge -- i.e., improving the user experience and reducing time to market.

Today, Spatial supports over 3 million end-users through a range of applications developed by independent software vendors (ISV) such as yours. Contact us today to see how you can join those ISVs with competitive software solutions for BIM.

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