Public sector clients in Ireland demanding BIM

21 January 2016 | By Elaine Knutt

Ireland’s public sector client organisations are increasingly requiring the use of BIM on their contracts, creating a form of mandate even in the absence of a central government BIM mandate.

The pattern of public sector clients in Ireland each individually creating their own mandates at sub-government level echoes the experience of Scandinavian countries. There, organisations such as the Swedish health service and the Finnish and Norwegian state property agencies, have promoted the use of BIM in their respective countries.

The Irish organisations making BIM a contractual requirements includes the National Development Finance Agency, which manages PPP projects in the schools, justice and healthcare sectors.

The National Children’s Hospital development Agency, responsible for the BDP-designed €650m National Children’s Hospital,and the Grangegorman Development Agency, an agency of the government of Ireland charged with redevelopment of the former St Brendan’s Hospital grounds in an inner city area on the Northside of Dublin, both also require the use of BIM in there contracts.

A spokesman for the NDFA told BIM+: “The NDFA, in its role as a public sector procuring agency, is actively promoting the adoption of BIM technologies in the Irish construction sector.

“In 2015 it has successfully guided and mandated the application of BIM technologies across all PPP programme projects advanced in phase 1 of the government’s PPP Buildings Infrastructure Stimulus package.

“This initiative is driving significant time and cost efficiencies during the design and construction phases of project delivery and will continue to drive savings during the operational lifecycle of the 33 project facilities being developed under the programme in the education, health and justice sectors.

“The NDFA will continue to promote the use of BIM technologies and adopt best practice methodologies that drive improved value for money in the delivery and operation of public infrastructure.”

Ralph Montague, managing partner at Irish BIM consultancy ArcDox, confirmed to BIM+ that increasingly public clients in Ireland are requiring BIM in their contacts.

“There is no central government mandate as in the UK, but we are seeing BIM becoming a requirement on more public projects,” he says. “Its not being used on all projects, but some public clients, such as the Health Services Executive (HSE), National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), Grange Gorman Development Authority (GGDA), and even some local authorities, like Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council, are making BIM a requirement on some projects.”

Although not centrally mandated Montague believes that the government bodies are driving the use of BIM in the country.

“Enterprise Ireland [the Irish government organisation responsible for developing domestic enterprises in world markets] is doing the most to drive BIM and support the construction community in Ireland, working closely with the Construction IT Alliance (CITA) and the professional institutes, however, you could say that to date, the NDFA is probably the agency that is making most happen, as its BIM requirements on the PPP project bundles have resulted in a good number of real BIM projects being developed.

“Working outside of a central government mandate, I believe clients in Ireland are implementing BIM for the right reasons, to improve the process and standard of design and construction,” he continues.

The increase in publicly procured BIM projects are part of a general trend for clients in Ireland to require the use of BIM says Montague. He is seeing BIM being requested by clients in all sectors from Universities to real estate investment trusts on commercial developments, to technology and pharmaceutical projects.


The NDFA will continue to promote the use of BIM technologies and adopt best practice methodologies that drive improved value for money in the delivery and operation of public infrastructure.– NDFA spokesman