Blog / BIM & Construction Management

State of BIM adoption across Europe (Maps)

Here is shot at illustrating the degree of state of BIM maturity across European countries.state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat

A simple question. A tough answer.

Answering the question “What does the European BIM landscape look like?” ought to be simple. But it isn’t - primarily due to the lack of comparable data. Consequently, the question of BIM adoption fuels long discussions – for many reasons. Here are the top 3 reasons from our perspective; 1. BIM has no clear definition 2. BIM is a buzzword that any stakeholder in the construction industry must consider strategically 3. Many people with different perspectives are very passionate about BIM Being as curious as our customers and peers, we resorted to analysing search engine behaviour which we believe offers the best availability of comparable data across countries. Fully aware of the limitations of this approach. We could have asked e.g. software distributors – but would the answers be reliable, consistent and comparable (if we get an answer at all)? Our analytical approach does not provide definite answers and is associated with uncertainty. But it does provide indications. We don’t claim that the conclusions to be scientific – please consider this when reading.  

State of BIM: adoption map

With those comments in mind, the map above is our shot at illustrating the degree of BIM maturity across European countries. Not surprisingly, western/northern countries appear to be BIM leaders, while the southern and eastern countries (except for the outliers Russia and Turkey) are adopting BIM at a slower rate. Looking at the relative strength of CAD/2D or BIM in each country draws a similar picture to the previous map. In fact, combining the two maps may provide a very good picture of the European BIM map. state of BIM adoption Master ZiguratIn this context, CAD/2D domination doesn’t mean no use of BIM in the construction industry (and the other way around). All countries use CAD/2D and BIM, the map indicates whether CAD/2D has greater or less focus compared to BIM.  

Government initiatives driving BIM adoption

What causes the differences in BIM adoption? One would expect government initiatives to be a key driver in a country’s BIM adoption. But our analysis doesn’t indicate a clear cause-and-effect relationship although some of the most state of BIM mature countries have proactive government initiatives in place.state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat Is that due to public construction being a minor share of total construction, or lengthy implementation of government initiatives? Maybe industry factors (e.g. cost and availability of labour) are part of the explanation? We do not aim at answering those questions in this article.  

From the perspective of manufacturers of construction materials

A country’s BIM maturity is interesting to the manufacturer of construction materials but the use of different BIM softwares are of greater importance when making strategic choices. “What does the European BIM software map look like?” is therefore a relevant question that we are asked frequently when working as BIM advisor and BIM content provider for manufacturers of construction materials. Revit and ArchiCAD pop up in most minds when asking that question. But what about alternatives like Vectorworks, Allplan and MagicCAD? Not to mention Tekla Structures, AECOsim and Plancal Nova. Not supporting the right BIM software may undermine the otherwise good marketing intentions of the manufacturers of construction materials.

BIM software adoption across European countries

We know that different countries have different BIM software preferences. And we know that architects and construction engineers are different when it comes to BIM software. Again, search engine behaviour provides indicative answers to the question. While Revit appears to be the dominant software among construction engineers in all European countries from our analysis, the map for architect BIM software is more of a patchwork. As a rough conclusion, Revit dominates in western Europe, while AutoCAD dominates in eastern Europe. state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat   Going through the different BIM softwares one by one, the European BIM software landscape is illustrated on the maps below.  

Architect BIM software

For architects, Revit, ArchiCAD, Vectorworks, AECOsim and Allplan are included in the analysis. state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat

Construction engineer BIM software

For construction engineers the analysis includes Revit, MagiCAD, Tekla Structures, AECOsim and Plancal nova. state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat

Methodology and limitations

Adoption of BIM: Based on development in search engine behaviour (Google Trends) for the terms “BIM” and “Building information modeling” in the period 01/2012-05/2017. As a single indicator of BIM adoption, the results are associated with some uncertainty. Degree of 2D/3D orientation: Based on search engine behaviour (Google Trends) with “ArchiCAD” as 2D indicator and “Autodesk Revit” as 3D indicator. Because ArchiCAD is also used in nonconstruction industries, heavily industrialised countries may be biased towards 2D in the analysis. Government initiatives for BIM: Based on publicly available articles and reports distributed in 2016-2018. The analysis does not distinguish between different levels of government initiatives, and not all countries on the map have been researched. Software maps: The results may be skewed in favour of Autodesk Revit, which is used by both architects and construction engineers. The analysis is not based on number of software users or licenses, which would be a more accurate measure but hard to obtain comparable data for. Instead, the analysis is based on development in search engine behaviour (Google Trends) in the period 01/2012-05/2017. BIM software for architects: Based on search engine behaviour for BIM software used by architects, i.e. relative dominance among the terms “Autodesk Revit”, “ArchiCAD”, “Vectorworks”, “AECOsim” and “Allplan”. BIM software for construction engineers: Based on search engine behaviour for BIM software used by construction engineers, i.e. relative dominance among the terms “Autodesk Revit”, “MagiCAD”, “Tekla Structures”, “AECOsim” and “Plancal nova”.   Text by Dominique Jacobs - [email protected] state of BIM adoption Master Zigurat


Zigurat Global Institute of Technology