NBC Digital Roadmap 2021: What does it mean for the Irish construction industry?

1st March 2018


In December 2017, the National BIM Council of Ireland produced its Digital Roadmap 2021. This is designed to underpin and support the Irish Government’s implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) throughout the construction industry.
As we know, delivering construction projects is very complex in its very nature, and through the traditional process, requires multidisciplinary teams delivering a range of elements for that project in a coordinated fashion to deliver a quality end result. This can lead to a range of contractual issues, ambiguities, conflicts, etc., and to try and remove these issues in the delivery of projects, the government hopes to underpin the industry as a whole and help bolster it against another boom – bust scenario.
So, what does the digital roadmap mean for the construction industry? Let’s go through the content.
The roadmap is split up into four sections.

  • Pillar 1: Leadership
  • Pillar 2: Standards
  • Pillar 3: Education and Training
  • Pillar 4: Procurement

Pillar 1: Leadership

This pillar is designed to deliver long-term structural governance to the overall plan, and includes:

  • National Supports: Set up a national central resource to support the roll out of digital tools and processes across both public and private client groups, and the supply chain in Ireland.
  • Establish the Executive: This will be either an individual or an executive body to lead the programme itself.
  • Platform for Leadership: Create a platform for leadership to drive a digital transformation programme in the Irish AEC & FM sectors.
  • Commission the Executive: Commission the Implementation Taskgroup
  • Value from Data: Collaborate internationally to enable the use of structured, validated, comparable data sets for improved analysis and decision making across the industry.

The commencement dates for each element of Pillar 1 are:

  • Q1 -2018: National Supports
  • Q1 -2018: Establish the Executive
  • Q2 -2018: Platform for Leadership
  • Q2 -2018: Commission the Executive
  • Q4 -2018: Value from Data

Pillar 2: Standards

  • Open BIM Adoption: This involves consultation with key stakeholder groups to determine the commitment, willingness, or resistance, or to identify the roadblocks to adopting open, internationally recognized information standards. So, it’s a common, consistent approach.
  • Incorporate International Standards: This will support Ireland’s involvement in International and European Standards development. This requires communication around what is happening with regards to adoption of International and European Standards across the industry as a whole.
  • NSAI Certification: This will require both Government & industry support of the NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland), and other recognized Institutes, to develop industry training and certification programmers in relation to standard.
  • Online Tools and Supports: This is to help implement “National Tools” that help drive general conformance with standards, avoid duplication of effort, and avoid exclusion of SME’s (small medium enterprises).
  • Align Planning, Building Control Public Asset Information: This is to ensure public procedures, like mapping, planning, building control, public sector asset management, etc., comply with these standards, and require, or incentivise, submission of information in compliance with standards
  • Pilot Open Format Models for Applications: This is to pilot 3D open format applications for planning and building control submissions.
  • Open Format Incentives Established: This is to incentivise and encourage 3D model applications in open format.
  • Harmonised Asset Data Standards: This is to ensure common coordinated asset information requirements and references across the public sector.

Start dates for Pillar 2: Standards are:

  • Q2 -2018: Open BIM Adoption
  • Q2 -2018: Incorporate International Standards
  • Q3 -2018: NSAI Certification
  • Q1 -2019: Online Tools and Supports
  • Q1 -2019: Align Planning, Building Control Public Asset Information
  • Q2 -2019: Pilot Open Format Models for Applications
  • Q2 -2020: Open Format Incentives Established
  • Q4 -2020: Harmonised Asset Data Standards

Pillar 3: Education and Training

  • National Education Taskforce: This is designed to deliver a broad awareness and upskilling learning framework for both educators and industry through a National Education Taskforce based on core multi-disciplinary digital curriculum, outlining the skills needed to deliver a 21st century workforce for the built environment sector in Ireland.
  • Assessment Diagnostic: Development of an online BIM Level 2 self-assessment tool for the Irish construction industry (that differentiates between the needs of design/contractors/products), to help companies define where the training needs are required.
  • BIM Assessment Tool: To launch a BIM Level 2 self-assessment tool in Ireland.
  • NFQ (National Framework Qualification) Levels: Develop a base level of learning outcomes targeted at alternative NFQ levels.
  • NSAI Certification: Develop a BIM certification programme to be managed by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI).
  • Professional Institutes: Need for the professional institutions to be consistent in specifying BIM competencies when accrediting built environment programmes.
  • Launch Certification Programme: Launch BIM certification programme in Ireland, which will likely be managed by the NSAI.
  • BIM in Schools: Encourage the inclusion of Digital Design and Construction in second-level curriculum.
  • Deliver Curriculum Roadshow: 2nd Level Digital Curriculum Roadshow to promote the curriculum to schools and across the industry.

And the commencement dates for Pillar 3 are:

  • Q1 -2018: National Education Taskforce
  • Q2 -2018: Assessment Diagnostic
  • Q3 -2018: BIM Assessment Tool
  • Q3 -2018: NFQ Levels
  • Q4 -2018: NSAI Certification
  • Q4 -2018: Professional Institutes
  • Q2 -2019: Launch Certification Programme
  • Q2 -2019: BIM in Schools
  • Q1 -2020: Deliver Curriculum Roadshow

Pillar 4: Procurement

  • Client Resources: Develop online supports for public clients to receive, review, manage and assess BIM on their projects. Including a common, independent body to assess performance across a common criteria on those projects.
  • BIM Level Requirements: BIM contract requirements for public sector to be determined.
  • OGP Mandate B5: Government Mandate for BIM on Band 5 Projects, which are more complex projects, e.g. acute hospitals, light rail, engineering type projects.
  • OGP Mandate B3: Government Mandate for BIM on Band 3 Projects, which would be projects of medium complexity, e.g. third level education buildings, high rise apartment complexes, etc.
  • Procurement Contracts: Review suitability and make provision for developing Government construction contracts.

Pillar 4: Procurement start dates are outlined as:

  • Q2 -2018: Client Resources
  • Q4 -2018: BIM Level Requirements
  • Q2 -2019: OGP Mandate Band 5
  • Q2 -2020: OGP Mandate Band 3
  • Q4 -2019: Procurement Contracts

For those companies looking at Band 5 and Band 3 scale projects, if they have a BIM requirement in 2019 / 2020, you need to be implementing BIM in your company now to be in a position to tender for these projects.


So that’s a brief overview of the NCB Digital Roadmap 2021. Ultimately, the Irish Government are trying to reform the Irish construction industry to try to deliver more cost effective, efficient and value for money projects. To do this, they’ve set out a number of targets, including:

  • 20% reduction in capital costs
  • 20% reduction in project timetables
  • 20% increase in construction exports

At Quinn Building Products, we wholly welcome and support this Digital Roadmap. Being a manufacture for both the Irish and UK markets, our company has undergone substantial investment in our own BIM implementation in readiness for the April 2016 UK BIM Mandate.
We have worked closely with NBS National BIM Library to produce our own BIM objects, and they’re available for download here, or from the National BIM Library.
For any BIM related queries, contact our Technical Team on +44 28 67748866 or technical@quinn-buildingproducts.com.