The Horizon 2020 research  project, funded by the EU , brings together in a consortium 23 partners (see the  partners)– organizations interested in Building Information Modeling (BIM) as the leader of the French Research and Technology Center  Nobatek/INEF4. The project aims to develop user-friendly building modeling tools and services (BIM) in the field of renovation of existing buildings. The value of the Horizon 2020 program is about € 7,000,000 over a 4-year period. The project kicked off from 24-25 October 2018 in Bordeaux in a conference “Digital Conference 2018 – Digitalization or Death: New Tools for the Construction Sector” by attracting 80 people : BIM experts and renovation practitioners to discuss the need for a system digital revolution of the construction sector to improve collaboration, productivity and quality.

Digital transformation is happening at a slow pace in the European construction industry. This means a huge gap between the theoretical digital opportunities and construction on-site realities. More energy efficient buildings require innovative or adapted methods and tools for construction professionals, especially construction SMEs, and efficient and collaborative processes along the whole construction value chain. The project “BIM based tools & technologies towards a fast and efficient RENovation of residential buildings – BIM4REN” aims at introducing state-of-the-art and easy-to-use BIM tools for collaborative construction energy renovation processes to face these issues, building in particular on the results of three pilot sites (Paris, San Sebastian and Venice) providing solid elements to evaluate the performance of the BIM4REN innovations. BIM is often perceived as a collection of complex tools and working methods that require several weeks of intense training, often inaccessible to small companies from a financial and practical point of view. The BIM4REN partnership aims to make full use of BIM technology to improve energy efficiency in the renovation of existing buildings, paying special attention to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in construction. The top research institutes (Nobatek, CSTB, Tecnalia, TNO and Fraunhofer ISE) will work together with key industry actors (EDF, CMB Carpi and ATI Project), R & D (R2M Solution, COMET and Ekodenge), technology providers (IES, EnerBIM, WiseBIM, VRM and AEC3), contractors: SMEs (Kursaal and Termoline), social housing organizations (Logirep), European organizations representing micro, small and medium enterprises (Green Building Council – Italy and the European Builders Confederation EBC).

•   Termoline as a contractor undertaking renovation works (eg the renovation of the old Patria Oradea cinema building transformed into a commercial center) will provide information on the renovation process from the “why renovation” phase to the concept phase, technical project and execution, so that these processes can be retrieved as algorithms in ILM;
•   as a result of the experience gained in the field of heat pumps, in collaboration with the Fraunhoffer ISE German Research Institute, Termoline will provide information on the feasibility of implementing heat pumps to renovate buildings so that they can be retrieved in the BIM;
•   The CSTB (French Research Technological Organization) develops a catalog of BIM objects, including HVAC; Termoline will define the HVAC elements and their technical specifications;
•   will ensure final product testing in its own renovation projects.

BIM4REN aims to develop a collaborative service platform that involves all stakeholders to drive workflows to digitization. To this end, the consortium brings together a large community of construction stakeholders interested in the results of digitization in renovation. The digital transformation brings results in terms of productivity and energy consumption, especially by bringing the real consumption of the building closer to the expected consumption“, adds Thomas Messervey, CEO of R2M Solutions; who warns that within 5 or 10 years, the transformation lead by digital technology will be even more radical: “In addition to collaborative platforms and digital models, we will have to learn to work with artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, stand-alone bulldozers, digital twins, cloud and edge computing, and many more digital and intelligent tools.  BIM should not only be regarded as a tool for creating and managing high quality construction projects in a faster and cheaper way, but also as a significant opportunity that could reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases emissions, and as the ultimate trigger for a better collaboration along the whole construction value chain. Given the gap between how the use of BIM is designed and the reality of its use by micro, small and medium-sized companies, we must develop powerful tools to attract and involve construction professionals in the deployment of BIM, concludes Antoine Dugué, the coordinator of BIM4REN.