Milan Design Week and Fuorisalone 2018: the BIM approach for design and manufacturing SMEs

The “digitisation of everything” is already happening. The enhancement of more flexible design and production processes to be adapted to the changes in the value chain are in the spotlight all over Europe (and worldwide). This year, the Italian Confederation of Crafts and Small and Medium Enterprises (CNA) has put the digital transformation of design and manufacturing SMEs at the center of a week of events in the framework of the Milan Design Week and Fuorisalone 2018.

The [Re]Design conference, co-organised on 21 April with the European DIGITAL SME Alliance, concluded the activities by gathering a wide audience to discuss how Italian manufacturing companies are renewing and trying to rethink their way of designing, also in light of the entering into force of a national decree which will make Building Information Modeling (BIM) mandatory for large works exceeding the value of 100 million € as of 2019.

Fabio Massimo, Vice President of Small Business Standards and DIGITAL SME, pointed out the need to develop a successful strategy of involvement of SME associations at European, national and local level to guarantee the uptake and diffusion of the BIM culture.

One of the main outcomes of the discussion was the need of European standards for the development and widespread adoption of digital technologies. Looking at the BIM case, whose success is strictly linked to the capacity of different construction actors to collaborate in an efficient way, DIGITAL SME project manager Guido Sabatini, presented standardisation as the most effective tool to achieve BIM interoperability, i.e. the ability to communicate between people and between different software. “We must avoid ending up in a Tower of Babel situation – he said – where people fail ambitious construction works due to lack of understanding”. In this sense, the upcoming publication of BIM standards by CEN TC 442 (expected for 2019) will be crucial to instruct manufacturers on how to structure their product data and make them available for use all along the construction value chain.

Among the other speakers, Francesca Lotta (Sales Manager at BIMobject Italia) presented solution for the digitisation of construction products data (e.g. 2D technical details, 3D model, technical and performance characteristics, etc.);  Francesca Hugony (researcher at ENEA) presented the Net-UBIEP project which aims at increasing energy performance of buildings by spreading BIM during the life cycle of the building. Maria Grazia Marchi (Krea) gave concrete examples for the adoption of personalised digital tools by architectural studios; while Anty Pansera, design historian and president of the DcomeDesign association, presented how the collaboration between design and craftsmanship is changing due to digital transformation.