EU goes full „BIM-SPEED“ ahead

Making BIM ready for renovation

There are many paths toward sustainable development, but the best way to start is by looking at what is already around. Realizing the importance of existing buildings, the EU has found a way to invest in technology and processes that will contribute to more effective renovations for modern structures. Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 scheme, BIM-SPEED, or Harmonized Building Information Speedway for Energy-Efficient Renovation is a multi-year project with many collaborators from various building and technology sectors. The goals? To create a cloud-based BIM platform focussing on renovation and aggregate inter-operable BIM tools that make access to information and methods easier, affordable, and user-friendly.

Building renovation for impact

As the current building stock ages, it’s imperative that we renovate efficiently for the benefit of people, the environment, and the economy. The renovation opportunity is not to be missed, particularly as the population grows and the need for housing increases.

BIM-SPEED consortium members include research institutes, consultancies, construction and engineering firms, and development corporations. Many have tested some of their ideas and technologies in the housing market across Europe already. Projects in Spain, Germany, France, and Poland have set the stage for BIM-SPEED’s successful proliferation across the continent.

The ambitious four-year project seeks to overcome existing economic and bureaucratic difficulties that typically stifle technological collaboration. It will focus on acquiring data on existing buildings as well as the design, construction, and performance evaluation of renovation projects. It also specifically seeks to tackle HVAC technologies and processes integral to any building update or modernization.

As one of the collaborators on BIM-SPEED, METABUILD will contribute by creating detailed and web-accessible building energy models and simulations and performing optimizations for cost and energy consumption. The efforts of METABUILD will lead to faster and more detailed modeling and deeper understanding of building performance. As BIM-SPEED progresses, the use of METABUILD’s multi-objective optimization algorithms will allow for quick identification of optimal renovation measures and plans.

Advancements in other innovative technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are part of the BIM-SPEED plan as well. While the use of AR and VR has started to spread in the design professions, applying them to renovations is a relatively new approach. It will change perspectives on constructing within existing buildings and help support detailed HVAC integration. BIM-SPEED collaborators aspire to integrate AR and VR tools with the cloud-based BIM platforms they develop, which could influence massive changes in the building industries.

Not losing sight of the human element is central to BIM-SPEED. Its sheer nature of collaboration and its embracing of multiple stakeholders and viewpoints will all but guarantee project decisions are not made in a vacuum. On the output side, generative rules and validators for renovation design developed throughout the course of the project will consider codes and regulations and verify compliant design choices, ensuring that future renovations are safe and livable for inhabitants.

As we experience massive environmental, economic, and technological shifts, it’s more critical than ever to work across boundaries in the European building renovation sector. At METABUILD, we’re thrilled to play a part in this important work and contribute a more collaborative future in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries.