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2019 and the digitization of the construction world: will Italy’s future really be digital?

Riccardo Pagani
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The phenomenon of industry 4.0. and the changes that have affected the technological and productive sector are currently at the center of the economic-political, social and cultural debate in Italy and in the rest of Europe. We are witnessing a revolutionary change without comparisons, where each country through a specific action plan, is trying to adapt to the changes taking place, acquiring new qualifications in the digital and technological fields. European countries, now more than ever, need to allow the dissemination and use of ICT technologies, developing guidelines and procedures for interoperability between systems and overcoming the limits of data and information fragmentation.

Although the process has been underway for some years now, most of the sectors involved in the supply chain are finding their own dimension, settling on new digital paradigms and opening up to new market and business scenarios. Among these, the construction sector is taking giant steps, preparing for a deep and radical transformation of its internal processes and forecasting new growth rates for the years to come.

Italy and digitization

So set these premises, it is important, especially for us young professionals involved in the process of transformation, deepen the discussion on the issue at a national level, through a small focus on the state of digital maturation of Italy.

In fact, it is now known that in a few weeks, and more precisely from 1 January 2019, new methods and electronic building modeling tools, such as BIM, will be compulsorily introduced for complex works, with tender amounts equal to or higher than € 100 million. In the next 6 years, we will therefore see a radical change, especially for the competition, where the Employer Information Requirements (E.I.R.) and the definition of a shared data environment will be the starting points for a transparent, efficient and always updated management of data and information within the individual job orders.

But the question that arises is: the professionals and the P.A. are they really ready to face all these changes?

The event of Digital & BIM Italia 2018, held a couple of months ago at the SAIE in Bologna, highlighted the main problems related to the digitalization of Italian construction processes, highlighting a complex and rather inhomogeneous panorama.

On the one hand, in fact, the BIM decree, in force from next January, and its direct consequences on the construction market will run quickly, overwhelming all the building sectors involved, on the other there will be stalls or any temporary impediments connected in different aspects. First of all the resistance to change, typical of a country with its now rooted customs, combined with a clear delay in the adoption of a specific training plan; the lack of programming, based today on chaotic spending mechanisms, which is associated with a largely absent or fragmented organization, results in insufficient management of both the procedures and the methodologies used; and finally the question related to technical standards, always slower than the changes taking place and without a real univocal reference to which to refer to the digitalization of processes.

The landscape therefore does not seem rosy, but in any case it seems that the institutions are moving to avoid slowdowns or abrupt braking. The formation of P.A., the simplification of legislation and the promotion of incentives for those who adopt digital methodologies seem to be a first step towards the imminent change. Alignment with the main European member countries, with the sharing of a common strategy for the digitization of companies, also demonstrates a concrete need on the part of Italy to relaunch the economy and the main sectors connected to it.

What we can say about BIMon, which we have already begun some years ago, is that professionals, especially the younger ones, must be reactive and ready towards change, because no one more than them is part of this radical revolution. It is therefore necessary that they adapt immediately to the new paradigms of Industry 4.0., Preparing for the new challenges of the future!

In the meantime, we hope that this digital growth will be exponential! We’ll see.

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Co-Founder and project manager at BIMon, deals mainly with BIM implementation processes and interference management in multidisciplinary models.

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