Creating a Better Built Environment

The National BIM Initiative (NBI)

The Australian economy could be better off by as much as $7.6 billion over the next decade by adopting the NBI recommendations. Can we afford not to take action?

The National Building Information Modelling Initiative (NBI) Report was commissioned by BEIIC (the Built Environment Industry Innovation Council) and authored by buildingSMART Australasia in 2012.


Download the NBI Report

The report, which was co-funded by the Commonwealth Government, specifies a “strategy for the focussed adoption of building information modelling, and related digital technologies and processes, for the Australian built environment sector”

One of the NBI authors, Wayne Eastley, from the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), states that Government Clients, such as the DHHS, “see a strategic opportunity to use BIM to drive greater cost efficiencies and intelligent whole-of-life asset management practices required for a low carbon future”.

The National BIM Initiative Report comprises 2 volumes. Volume 1: Strategy (what needs to be done) and Volume 2: Implementation Plan (how it should be done, with detailed costings and timeframes included). (Updated 24 Aug)

buildingSMART Chair, John Mitchell, states that “our national competitiveness is at stake if nothing is done to address the issues that are the focus of the strategy outlined in the NBI”.  He continues: “Building information modelling is a set of processes and technologies that, after 25 years’ gestation, is being adopted by all of the leading international construction economies. The pace of this adoption is gaining great momentum, and it is important that Australia does not get left behind in this. It is essential that Australia takes a proactive role in contributing to this work to derive a truly national economic benefit. Our studies show that the Australian economy could be better off by as much as $7.6 billion over the next decade.

Key Points:

  • The Construction Industry makes up around 6-8% of GDP but has been suffering from a decline in productivity over the past 30 years.
  • The Allen Consulting Report Productivity in the Buildings Network, commissioned by BEIIC in 2010, estimated that “accelerated widespread adoption of BIM technology would…have a significant expansionary effect on the Australian economy”, and in just over a decade this would equate to an increase in GDP of between $4.8 billion and  $7.6 billion.
  • Many barriers were identified that are preventing the industry from achieving this boost in productivity.
  • buildingSMART held a series of MESH conferences and workshops in all the Australian states between 2011 and 2012, with stakeholders from government, industry and academia, to identify key targets for improvement

The 6 key targets were:

  • Procurement (new collaborative contracts and how to manage risk)
  • BIM Guidelines (clear standards for Australian BIM users)
  • Education (a new multi-disciplinary approach to educating building professionals is required)
  • Product Data and BIM Libraries (the building supply chain needs to get involved and start digitising their components for inclusion in intelligent building models)
  • Process and Data Exchange (there are insufficient accepted universal standards in place for exchange of BIM data for collaboration)
  • Regulatory Framework (planners, local government and other regulatory bodies need guidance on assessing and approving BIM-based projects)

The combined feedback from these conferences and workshops was collated as part of a huge team effort and submitted to DIISRTE in June 2012, in the form of the National BIM Initiative (NBI) Report.