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BIM must be SME-friendly if it is to trigger deep innovation in construction


27 Jun 2016


Innovation & Enterprise

Brussels, 27th June 2016 – Last Friday representatives from European construction SMEs gathered in Brussels at the EBC Annual Congress to discuss how to adapt Building Information Modelling (BIM) to construction SMEs’ needs. BIM appears as the ultimate innovative process in the sector. Its potential is huge as regards cutting cost of construction works, energy efficiency, reduction of construction and demolition waste, only to mention a few areas. But if this revolution is to take place, small and medium-sized construction companies, which make up 99.9% of the sector, have to take part in it.

Patrick Liébus, President of EBC, said “BIM has to be adapted to the specific nature of small and medium companies, who are the ones carrying out the construction projects. Only this will ensure construction reaps the benefits of this innovative process. It is also essential to raise awareness among small construction companies. This is what EBC and its members are aiming at. Yet the support of European Governments is fundamental.”

Patrick Liébus continued “The digital model tools are often too complex. A successful spreading of their use is strictly connected to simplification of existing tools and training of final users. BIM training programmes should not be only limited to the use of specific software.

The use of digital models is usually associated to construction works of exceptional nature. However, it is by developing the use of these tools for smaller projects and renovation works that SMEs will get an interest and start to concretely embrace this innovative process.”

Patrick Liébus concluded “Finally, we believe the transition in public procurement from traditional methods to BIM-based ones should be seamless. SMEs are already penalised in public procurement. BIM should not be a further cause of exclusion.

We are aware of the challenge and at the same time of the opportunity that BIM provides for small construction entrepreneurs. This is why we ask for construction SMEs to be carefully considered at the moment of developing standards and legislation concerning BIM.”

The Congress provided a unique opportunity for more than 80 participants from all around Europe to discuss and learn about BIM with experts, government representatives, industrial players and the European Commission.



Read EBC’s position paper on BIM

Watch an explanatory video about BIM

Have a look at the programme of the conference and the EBC Annual Congress webpage


Note to editors

Established in 1990, the European Builders Confederation - EBC - is a European professional organisation representing national associations of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises working in the construction sector. EBC is a member of UEAPME (the European association of micro-enterprises and SMEs), on behalf of which it chairs the UEAPME Construction Forum.

The construction sector is of vital importance to the European economy. With 3 million enterprises, an annual turnover of around € 1600 billion and a total direct workforce of 13 million, the construction sector contributes at around 10% to the GDP of the European Union.

99.9% of the European construction sector is composed of small and medium-sized companies, which produce 80% of the construction industry's output. Small enterprises (less than 50 employees) are responsible for 60% of the production and employ 70% of the sector's working population.


Press contacts

Riccardo Viaggi, EBC Secretary General:; +32 (0)2 2801650; +32 (0)495 123 577

Valeria Mazzagatti, Press and communications officer:; +32 (0)2 514 2323


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