Sweden Speaks for New Standards in Construction
Sweden's top 5 general contractors leverage guidelines to create construction standards
The need for consistent standards in construction may no longer be an elusive concept for the industry at large. The use of PDF as a platform has gained momentum within the US over the past decade, and technology continues to push that platform as the ideal standard for documenting build information. The US-based Construction Progress Coalition (CPC) has played a significant role in that step forward, presenting guidelines that provide a clearer path towards document standardization.
Taking their cue, Sweden’s top five general contractors (GCs) met with co-founder and advisor to the CPC, Sasha Reed, to put together a plan for the country to become global leaders in construction standardization.
Improving the Standards
The Sweden BIM Alliance is challenging the construction industry to define their own standards and place addendums on existing standards while the industry itself is taking on the challenge to revolutionize the way Sweden approaches standards for construction. The industry is on a mission to present as many projects as possible for standardization considerations, taking cues from the CPC’s layout.
The standout comment from Reed’s meeting with the Swedish group came from Jimmy Forsberg, a member of the Construction CAD/BIM Technical group at Skanska AB. “Going into the discussion, I didn’t think the US and Sweden would have a lot in common,” he admitted. “But in the end, I was shocked at just how similar the challenges were, and how much progress the US has made in organizing a guideline they could begin using immediately.”
“This type of cross-cultural solution sharing is powerful, especially at a time when technology is bridging the gap between old ways and new,” said Reed.
“Sharing best practices becomes all the more important. These top five GCs have recognized that their competitive edge isn’t based in these processes, but rather in how they drive outcomes as a result of standardizing on these basic project functions.” — Sasha Reed
The System for Standardization in Sweden
Currently, Sweden has a system for implementing national standards across all businesses and industries. For construction, all GCs in the country donate monies to a fund for a project to be considered by the Svenska Byggbranschens Utvecklingsfond (SBUF). If the project is approved by SBUF, professionals are hired to carry out and fulfill projects. SBUF then works closely with the BIM Alliance to determine which projects should be submitted to Byggbranschens Elektroniska Affärsstandard, or BEAst, who uphold national standards for business efficiency. If accepted by BEAst, the work is officially adopted into national Swedish standards.
“We really look forward to standardizing the construction industry in Sweden, so it was very good to exchange experiences from both sides. I have taken the initiative to start two construction industry projects through the BEAst association in Sweden, which I believe will provide great value when standardized for everyone in the construction industry.”
– Ulf Larsson, Chairman of the Board for BEAst and project manager at NCC Building Sweden
Plans in Motion
As of March 2017, two standardization concepts are already underway, and both have received funding from SBUF:
- Color-coding: The GCs wanted to standardize color-coding on construction documents using the color red for changes, yellow for questions and green for comments.
- Metadata: Whenever a file is created, five metadata fields will be required to be filled out for better organization.
Solutions for the Plans
These two concepts were agreed upon as necessary standards by the GCs after a two-hour presentation that convinced SBUF to approve of them. From there, they will be pushed to BEAst for final standardization across Sweden. The adoption and publishing of the CPC’s guidelines is helping to keep the momentum going for the passage of other pertinent standards, even though in many cases, the BIM world has been resistant to PDF, seeing it simply as digital paper; but through these Swedish advancements in standardization, they might see the efficiencies gained as BIM-worthy results. If anything, construction now has a collective voice speaking about concepts that can be organized through shared perspectives in order to directly influence change and standardization within the Swedish construction industry.