Finland has been among the earliest adopters of Building Information Modeling (BIM). A startup software company named Tekla Oy was formed in 1966 and got heavily into BIM in the 1970s. Tekla was acquired by Trimble in 2012 for about half a billion dollars and has become the centerpin of Trimble's BIM business since then. The Finnish state property services agency, Senate Properties, has required the use of BIM for its projects since 2007.
At the BIM Worldwide: Solutions for Canada conference in Toronto, Tomi Henttinen, Chair buildingSMART Finland and Founder and Director of R&D at Gravicon Oy, presented a current overview of the status of BIM in Finland.
According to Henttinen BIM in Finland crossed the adoption chasm around 2009/2010 and is currently in the tornado phase (late pragmatists adopt en masses - from Geoffrey Moore's Crossing the Chasm) of the evolution of the Finnish BIM market. BIM has become an everyday tool in projects. Common guidelines have improved the quality of BIM and software tools are getting better all the time. Knowledge and skills are improving rapidly. All big cities and all big construction firms use BIM. The overall market adoption is estimated to be 20-30%, mostly design firms (67%) and construction firms (50%). BIM is used routinely from planning through design to construction for buildings.
Interestingly there is little penetration of BIM in the operations and maintenance (O&M) phase including facilities management (FM). This is surprising. In the U.K. the national government's strategy is based on the expectation that the biggest payoff from BIM adoption is over the full lifecycle of a building, 80-85% of which is O&M.
Unlike some other countries like the U.S., BIM in Finland is based on standards. In Finland BIM is synonymous with the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) standard. According to Henttinen, open standards have accelerated BIM adoption in Finland.
BIM for Infrastructure
According to Henttinen BIM for infrastructure is developing rapidly in Finland. Dozens of pilot projects are underway. BIM for Infrastructure is also intended to be standards-based. Inframodel3 (the Finnish subset of LandXML) has has been required by large clients since May 2014.
Penetration by type of firm
Among architects and engineers BIM knowledge and skills is already good. Companies in this category want to be more competitive in BIM.
Construction companies understand the benefits of BIM and adoption is accelerating. The biggest challenge is project management.
Civil Engineers and city planners are just starting to adopt BIM for infrastructure projects. But there is a limited number of players in this sector so implementation is happening faster than in vertical BIM.
Clients (owners) still remain the weakest link. Only a few understand the potential and are requiring BIM.
Education and training
A major challenge is that in Finland BIM training is not well organized nor certified. There are signs of improvement. Universities are getting more active in teaching BIM.