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News I published 17 November 2021

Major differences in electrical installers’ awareness and usage of BIM in Europe

Over the past decade or so, BIM has played an increasingly important role in the digitalisation trend in the construction sector. That is why we have continually researched BIM usage among all sorts of construction professionals. We have followed the growing usage of BIM among European architects, for instance, from 10% in 2009 to 44% in 2021. To a lesser extent, BIM usage has also increased significantly among contractors, while HVAC installers still seem to be rather at the start of the BIM adoption curve.

What about electrical installers though? How are they experiencing the slowly but steadily increasing role that BIM plays in construction projects? Are they still rather unfamiliar with BIM, like the HVAC installers, or are they picking up BIM like an increasing share of contractors do, and using it to their advantage? That is what we asked electrical installers from seven European countries for the Q3 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Electrical Installation Monitor, which focuses on BIM in the electrical installation market.

Vast differences in BIM awareness and usage among European installers

Of all interviewed European electrical installers, four out of ten at least know about BIM’s existence and at best work with it. That leaves six out of ten European installers who have never even heard of BIM. Also, only about one out of ten European installers have ever done one or more projects in BIM. It has to be said though that there are substantial differences per company size. Of the largest European installation companies (15+ FTE), about a quarter has already used BIM.

Just like major differences between different sized companies, there are vast differences between the seven countries as well. BIM is least known among electrical installers in Spain, where three-quarters of them has never heard of it. In Germany, that percentage is around 70%, followed by Belgium (63%). In France, Poland and the UK, however, about half of the installers are aware of BIM, and about one out of every eight installers has already worked with BIM.

The Netherlands is a frontrunner in electrical installers’ awareness and usage of BIM 

At the very top of this image, we find the Netherlands. Of all European electrical installers, the Dutch are the most likely to be aware of and use BIM. A whopping 70% is aware of BIM, a world of difference when compared to Spain where only 24% of installers know BIM. In the Netherlands, BIM is already being used by 24% of electrical installers, a percentage that rises to 41% among the large installation companies.

In a way, this is not very surprising, as digitalisation in construction and trends related to BIM, like prefab usage, have a strong presence in the Dutch construction sector. But a strong presence does not mean knowledge and usage of BIM is shared in the same way by all installers. Also in the Netherlands, BIM is not known or used much by the small (1-4 FTE) installation companies, of which only about half know BIM and one out of ten uses it.

All this shows that merely knowing the differences in installers’ BIM awareness and usage per country is not adequate to know how manufacturers of installation products can increase their brand image by fulfilling the BIM needs of installers. For that, more detailed splits per country and additional answers about their application of BIM are necessary, for which we refer you to the Q3 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Electrical Installation Monitor.

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