The DigiPLACE project relied on a unique Construction-wide consortium teamed up to address the critical short and middle-term needs for the Construction and Built environment at large, to adopt, customise and deploy a growing number of information models, digital platforms and digital tools/services (and implement many others in a near future), in a unified framework and as such in a pan-European ambition.

DigiPLACE has in particular established a Reference Architecture Framework (RAF) for digital construction platforms based on an EU-wide consensus involving a large community of stakeholders, eventually providing an evolving structured set of guidelines, recommendations and development/deployment guidance that should be the grounding for generalisation of these future digital platforms as common ecosystems of digital services that will support innovation, public procurements, commerce, etc.

Along with the RAF, DigiPLACE has developed a strategic roadmap for successful implementation of this reference architecture, establishing the scope and targets of future mandatory activities and developments to be undertaken under the 2021-2027 period to make this upscaling of Construction digital platforms and services a reality by the end of this decade – with the ambition to linking EU, National and regional scales to upscale digital platforms and solutions in the European Construction and Built environment sector.


An industry perspective on
Digital platforms for Construction

There is more than one digital platform for construction in Europe and some of these have been developed at national level, for example Kroqi, in France. Some platforms are being created by private companies and this means that there are already - and will be even more – digital platforms for construction in the EU. This could lead to confusion for industry stakeholders. Therefore, the benefit of having a “hub” at EU level, such as DigiPLACE, is that this central platform will connect all other public and private platforms and applications that fulfil any “DigiPLACE compliant” criteria.

Such criteria will include interoperability and the DigiPLACE platform will offer an entry point to others, making it easier for construction stakeholders to access all relevant platforms that will support the digitalisation of the industry.


Barriers & expectations tackled by DigiPLACE

Although the integration of (more) digital technologies in the construction sector holds the promise of important efficiency increases, the review of literature as well as the interviews and EU-wide survey carried out in the DigiPLACE project confirmed a number of barriers & challenges hindering the large uptake of such technologies. They are summarised in the 3 blocks below, together with a series of expectations for future developments. These elements are the basis of the DigiPLACE Reference Architecture Framework and other concepts presented in the following sections.

  • Unique product, process and team – No repetition, moving (production) sites.
  • Collaborative but very scattered process without clear top-down lead, where the general contractor (comparable to the global integrator or “brand” in other sectors) enters the scene late.
  • Non-existing market or technology leaders, and a huge number of very small companies.
  • Largely dominated by manual, lowly skilled work on site and slow changes in core construction and engineering knowledge, with limited investments in continuous learning.
  • Very tight margins and schedules, not allowing much R&D-efforts or experimentation with new technologies.
  • The construction process is in most countries not yet accompanied by an adequate standardisation, which limits some digitalization processes. The ISO/CEN standardisation framework necessary for digital collaboration, is still being developed.
  • A limited to average degree of digitalization: digitalization mainly for communication and file exchange, but no real digital processes (digital offers and calculation, but not for on-site follow-up).
  • Important difference between subsectors (e.g. high uptake for designers vs low uptake for small contractors) and between company sizes (limited adoption of BIM for SME contractors (while BIM is regarded as starting point for a lot of digitalization processes and other technologies).
  • Currently, mainly market parameters are reasons for starting or increasing digitalization: demands from clients, project partners and competition.
  • Although public parameters such as government push/encouragements or public procurement seem to have lower impact on digitalization choices, companies score very high nearly all public or private initiatives that might encourage or support the companies in sharing digital information with construction partners.
  • Arguments withholding companies from increasing digitalization: cost, ICT-knowledge and embedded work culture are the top 3 replies, immediately followed by “lack of knowledge”.
  • Perfect interoperability is a very important enabler for all types of collaborations between construction partners and could strongly increase software development and competition (“the UTOPIA for construction digitalization”).
  • Support and increase the development of standards, this will form the basis for the wanted interoperability. Besides the aspects of the (BIM) process, an important focus is on the standardization of data exchange (information delivery specifications, data dictionaries, IFC-exports, etc.).
  • Facilitate collaboration process on project scale: increase uptake of standards arranging organization and digitization of information (e.g. ISO 19650, IDS …) and their local translations in protocols, software templates, etc.: the whole ecosystem facilitating real on-site use, adapted for SME’s.
  • Standardization of data exchange should facilitate open solutions for integrating BIM/construction data in all building phases and applications and should integrate the technical knowledge of all CEN TC’s. It should lead to increased link (data) with the supply chain of building product/element manufacturers.
  • Platforms can combine functionalities, the integration of construction knowhow, the link with product data from the supply manufacturers industry and connectivity and mitigate in that way several barriers, becoming a key factor for accelerating digitalization in the sector. Digitalization / platforms could help with all kind of compliance issue in the sector (due to technical standards), simplifying this work for construction companies and realizing immediate efficiency (this could generate a pull factor for digital tools).
  • Especially for SMEs, technology and platforms should facilitate digitalization, rather than making it complex. Specific actions are needed to sensibilize SME’s about current (unknown) solutions and to stimulate both supply (more plug&play-tools dedicated to construction SME’s).
  • Create digital platforms that take in account the financial, collaboration and technical possibilities of SMEs and their wishes, taking into account data ownership, data certification (trusted data), and long-term effects for SME’s. Platforms can provide the contact basis for collaboration opportunities for projects.
  • National or regional authorities can really stimulate the BIM and digitalization: on the one hand by allowing all types of digital interactions (computer readable building codes, digital building permits, digital performance checks, etc.…), on the other hand by stimulating in their own developments, or by imposing BIM for a set of actions.
  • Increase digital competences on each level in the sector and attract digitally skilled people to the sector. Integrate life-long learning and retraining as evident (everywhere: in the construction companies, in schools and universities (in all courses, not only one “digitalization course”). Besides conscientizing all actors, this includes as well organizing specific networks, BIM/digital competence levels, Supporting tools & demonstration centers inc.
  • Supporting tools & demonstration centers – focusing on SME’s - together with local, pragmatic work is needed to attain all subsectors. SME’s need simple tools, local training and up-skilling programs based on current good practices. Industry clusters can stimulate BIM, solve problems, inform, network and generate opportunities (protocols, BEP, …).


The Refererence Architecture Framework provides a set of common guidelines for building and deploying interoperable digital platforms for the construction sector across Europe.

A first ambition is to improve the common understanding of the ongoing evolutions related to digital platforms, by identifying the relevant references and putting into a structured vision.

Beyond this, the framework identifies the gaps in this current landscape, and the actions to be carried out to fill them in order to support the objectives identified by stakeholders, with a particular focus on the required public initiatives and platforms.


  • Life cycle assessment, convergence between BIM and environmental impact assessment
  • Support the widespread use of LEVEL(s) framework
  • Circular economy
  • Sharing of best practices and of environnemental performance data
  • Improve EU-wide access to public construction-related data
  • Create the conditions and governance for large scale sharing of private data
  • Leverage existing or developing frameworks (e.g. LEVEL(s), building logbooks)
  • Link with European Common Data Spaces and the GAIA-X initiative
  • Digital supply chain, construction 4.0
  • Leverage interoperability for improved collaboration
  • Fair competition, level playing field for both construction stakeholders and digital services providers
  • Contracts and faith
  • Digitalization of SMEs, skills
  • Make the use of BIM easier for all, through collaboration templates based on agreed use cases
  • Access to rules and digitalization of rules
  • Digitalized public services
  • Public data platforms
  • Public procurement
  • Other public or public-private digital platforms

Soon to be published



Semantic interoperability, Data dictionaries
Data models and formats
Standards for data exchange & access
Collaboration, Common Data Environments
Data management along the lifecycle, digital twin
Data formats, models and semantics, use of open standards
Data security
Data sovereignty
European Common Data Spaces
GDPR compliance
Data ownership in business relations
Transparency on the use of data
Data certification
Data with contractual or regulatory value
FAIR data principles
Data sustainability


Access to BIM and collaboration services
  • Enable collaboration, multi-scale and cross-lifecycle integration, independently from the proprietary tools used
  • Adapt to each stakeholder, esp. SMEs
  • Create a level playing field for both construction stakeholders and tools/services providers
  • Reinforce the ecosystem of European digital AEC services
Access to digitalized public services
  • Examples: building permit, regulatory procedures, building logbook services…
  • Connexion with public procurement platforms, progressive harmonisation and digitalisation of procurement
Access to data and knowledge : repository of EU digital commons
  • Share best practices and innovation in the field of digitalisation
  • Territorial data and territorial digital twins, other public data, environmental performance data…
  • Easy digital access across Europe, and progressive harmonisation
  • Make BIM collaboration simple and accessible to all, based on agreed use cases
  • Towards European data dictionaries and ontologies
  • Easy access to standards and frameworks, engage with the community to govern them



to empower /ɪmˈpaʊə,ɛmˈpaʊə/

give (someone) the authority or power to do something make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

by Oxford Languages
Engineering software developers and services providers
With an infrastructure where their products can be developed with a marketplace where their solutions can be lugged in and offered to end users
Content creators
With a platform where intellectual property such as BIM components can be created and monetized thus enabling re-use and specializaitin across projects
Innovators in AECO solutions
With an ecosystem where innovation can happen collaboratively, building on top of the platform features and collaborating with each other
Project managers
With a place where project collaborations can take place, going beyond the current CDE paradigm
Project participants
With a uniform infrastructure where all their collaborations take place, flattening the learning cure and improving productivity
With a working environment and collaboration infrastructure so far only available to large enterprises
Public and government institutions
With a place where transparent procurement of construction and design servicers can take place with a platform where open public data can be made available for the benefit of the community
Owners and investors
With a transparent marketplace of all AECO services
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those that empower others.”
- Bill Gates

Foresight and next steps

The Strategic Roadmap is based on 4 pillars of actions to promote and nurture the DigiPLACE RAF:

Promote and Network, following the idea of creating a long-lasting stakeholders ecosystem to promote, support and refine DigiPLACE RAF;
Develop and Deploy, with the overall idea of integrating, stimulating, experimenting (large-scale pilots), assessing the use and monitoring the impact of platforms and associated services leveraging on DigiPLACE RAF;
Foster and Secure, contributing notably to RAF-based digitalisation of European and national regulations;
Capitalise and Train, contributing to training/digital skills development in construction while developing a cartography of emerging or future initiatives and alliances dedicated to (RAF-compliant) digital platforms, apps, services etc.
The Strategic Roadmap
Click on the circles to find more information
The Strategic Roadmap
This Strategic Roadmap also identifies several scenarios in terms of shape, management, contents or data source for the implementation of different types of digital platforms and/or tools. Based on a stakeholders consultation, a selection of such scenarios most expected by the construction sector to be integrated as long-term actions in the roadmap is:

• Self-supporting platforms for digital services
• Top-down approach in the development of national platforms
• Development of European platforms
• Development under the authority of government policy
• Integration by design or Integration at need
• Connection provided from platform to source or from source to platform