Recently, our team at Arcas & Callisto Consulting (A&C) organised for two representatives from BIMBox to meet with construction industry leaders in Beijing, as well as to present with us at the China International Supply Chain Expo (CISCE), further strengthening and advancing cooperation and knowledge-sharing between Europe and China.
Vitalij Tetervov, R&D Manager, and Robert Hempel, Director, spent a week in the capital, sharing invaluable knowledge and experience with our partners and learning about China's construction sector's impressive scale, integration and innovation. The journey also involved engaging with key players in China’s BIM landscape as part of the RECONMATIC project.
We first visited RECONMATIC Chinese partners, which helped form a deeper understanding of the landscape of BIM use in China.
The lead of RECONMATIC‘s Chinese team is the China Association of Circular Economy (CACE). CACE, as an industrial association and advisory board, provides recommendations on circular economy practices, BIM standards, and waste reduction in construction and demolition.
China’s BIM landscape reflects a top-down approach from the government. China’s commitment to BIM is promoted through its government bodies, namely the Center of Science and Technology and Industrialization Development under the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. The Centre is responsible for developing technological and economic policies and development plans, carrying out standardisation work, and accelerating the promotion of new technology in building energy conservation and green low-carbon development.
As a RECONMATIC partner, the Centre has also led the development of the National Construction Product and Material Database, which will provide valuable experience for the development of the database in RECONMATIC. BIMSOP, as a main contractor for developing the National Construction Product and Material Database, is also part of the RECONMATIC China team.
Innovation in BIM in China is largely driven by research institutions, another Chinese partner, China Academy of Building Research (CABR) has contributed a significant portion of research and development. CABR collaborates with the government to develop and write BIM standards, maintaining a similar trajectory to the global norm, particularly ISO 19650. Their research also revealed a growing integration of BIM with various technologies, including GIS, 3D laser scanning, and VR. This multifaceted approach showcases China’s commitment to enhancing BIM applications through technological integration.
CABR backs CABRTech, a building solutions provider, who aims to accelerate the adoption of building information modelling (BIM) for use with the domestic built environment with its PKPM-BIM software, which is used by 95 percent of the design industry in China. It is a leader in the provision of a common data environment to facilitate in building “smart cities” using Chinese-standard BIM data.
BIMBox participated in multiple rounds of presentations and discussions with CABR and CABRTech, in particular diving into the possible areas for cooperation in China’s still-rapidly developing construction scene. One particular aspect they found impressive was the impressive breadth and depth of data collected and standardised in China’s built environment, and the government’s proactive plans for its further integration in construction and smart city management.
Apart from RECONMATIC partners, A&C also arranged BIMBox to meet with The Guangyuan Institute
The Beijing Guangyuan Engineering Design and Research Institute’s (Guangyuan Institute) main business includes industrial and civil architectural design and rail transit projects across China and has established project management departments in more than 20 cities. Their impressive portfolio includes participation in a total of 33 urban rail transit systems, 68 individual lines, and more than 1,000 stations.
The Guangyuan Institute were particularly interested in the people-focused and software-agnostic approach that BIMBox employs and found their presentations eye-opening in terms of potential applications to their already impressive scope of projects.
As well as meeting with individual partners, A&C also planned for BIMBox to attend and present at CISCE, the world’s first international supply chain expo, with a theme of “Connecting the World for a Shared Future”. Different to traditional expos, it is an open international platform which integrates sectors, connects differently-sized enterprises and facilitates interactions between Chinese and foreign enterprises.
Hosted by CABR at their beautifully-designed and sustainable stand, constructed from bamboo, BIMBox delivered their presentation to an audience in person as well as live-streamed. The audience included key personnel in the building industry, including manufacturers, contractors, researchers, and real estate companies. The presentation focused on the life-cycle perspective of the RECONMATIC project and the integration of BIM technologies. The topic has brought great interest from the audience and many discussions.
They then took the opportunity, after watching and learning from the other industry leaders’ talks, to explore CISCEs hundreds of stalls, marvelling at the sheer range of China’s technical advancements on display, including EVs, drones, and hydrogen-powered aircraft.
Currently, China’s BIM landscape primarily revolves around 3D modelling and clash detection. However, a noteworthy aspect is the retrospective nature of these activities. Most projects are still designed in 2D initially, with 3D modelling and clash detection applied later in the process. This is due to available resource pools and skill shortages in BIM-associated training.
Therefore, the collaboration between China and Europe in RECONMATIC has been proven to be very important, as this collaboration will help bridge the gap between different standards and practices and facilitate the global deployment of digital tools in the building life cycle, which is crucial to advancing the utilisation of construction and demolition wastes. Despite the geographic distance, the teams will work closely to collaborate on this important task to help our planet become greener and more sustainable.
A&C and our Chinese partners also welcome BIMBox to come back to China, to continue our mission to bridge the gap between Europe and China. We hope that BIMBox found the trip both eye-opening and valuable, and wish them good luck in furthering the opportunities that they discovered during their stay.