BIM in Hong Kong

by Kieran Stapleton | November 20, 2020 |  3 min read

BIM in Hong Kong
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I came to Hong Kong five years ago to support a Major Tier 1 contractor for the BIM management of a high-profile cultural venue on the harbourfront in Kowloon, Hong Kong – and I haven’t left since!

At that time, BIM in Hong Kong was poorly promoted, with only a few industry specialists speaking at conferences. Where practised, it was predominantly delivered through a technocentric approach to 3D modelling, clash detection and as-built models, through third party providers. This was most certainly a fragmented approach.

Fast forward to 2020 and we see a great deal has changed.

At a government level, the Development Bureau has provided major impetus to change. galvanised by the three pillars of the Construction 2.0 initiative: innovation, professionalisation and revitalisation.

Driving innovation

Innovation is at the forefront of the built environment in Hong Kong – not just through the adoption of BIM, but through other initiatives such as modular integrated construction (MiC) and Safety in Design.

BIM has been mandated on projects over HK$30 Million since 1 January 2019, as directed by government in December 2018, whereby digital work supervision systems (DWSS) have been mandated on projects with a tender value above HK$300 million on or after 1 April 2020.

The 2018-19 Budget set aside HK$1 billion for the establishment of the Construction Innovation and Technology Fund (CITF) to boost the capacities of enterprises and practitioners in the construction industry to adopt new technology and support the industry to harness innovative technology – thus lowering the economic barrier to adoption and innovation.

Since November 2017, the Construction Innovation and Technology Application Centre (CITAC) has served as a knowledge hub to showcase local and overseas innovative ideas and construction technologies.

Open-source information sharing has been promoted through the Hong Kong Alliance of Built Asset and Environment Information Management Associations (HKABAEIMA) to lower the barriers of long-term innovation due to technological obsolescence.

Professionalisation in practise

Here in Hong Kong, we are seeing more consultants, contractors and clients building their own internal capability and competence at all levels of their businesses.

Since April 2019, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) have been providing their CIC BIM Manager certifications, with an additional certification provided for CIC BIM Coordinators in March 2020, in order to provide a professional benchmark to industry practitioners and thus assuring prospective clients and employers about employees’ competency.

In addition to this, clients and government departments have adopted the use of New Engineering Contract (NEC) 3 and 4 to break down traditional contractual barriers and promote a more cohesive and transparent approach to collaboration.

Inspired revitalisation

Universities and institutions are now promoting a structured approach to the pedagogy of BIM, which look at integrated project delivery and the culture of BIM, such as the Master of Science in Integrated Project Delivery provided by Hong Kong University.

The CIC is now revisiting the original CIC BIM standards developed in 2013 to align with international standard ISO 19650, and in turn is developing the Hong Kong National Annex to this standard.

BIM Academy is honoured to have been a leading part of this over the last decade – through supporting major contractors for cultural and leisure projects, advising major transport clients on their digital innovative solutions, assisting the hospital authorities on BIM adoption processes, auditing educational institutions cultural building developments and supporting a major energy provider.

Whilst there is still progress to be made, there certainly appears to be a little less conversation and a lot more action than five years ago!