Swiss premiere: BIM model-based public procurement

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has taken hold of the construction industry. In more and more projects, digital building models and databases are being used both in planning and execution. For an end-to-end digital process a key link in the digital chain is missing, however: the invitation to tender, or submission. As part of a BIM pilot project for the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO), Basler & Hofmann has developed a platform for digital model-based procurement.

The project involves the construction of a new cross connection between the two existing tubes of the Schoren car tunnel near St. Gallen. The new cross connection will serve as an additional escape route and is part of the restoration of the St. Gallen urban highway. FEDRO has set an ambitious goal for the BIM pilot project: The escape route is to be the first project by a public developer in Switzerland to be tendered on a model basis.

Service-based versus component-based

Today, most projects are still tendered on the basis of 2D plans. The plans are supplemented with a comprehensive bill of services. In Switzerland, this is based on the Catalogue of Standard Building Descriptions (CSBD). For projects that are planned with BIM, this practice means an enormous amount of extra work: Since the model and the linked database are based on components and not on individual services, the model must be laboriously broken down into individual services for the tender – even if the contractor then once again builds on the basis of the model. This means an enormous additional effort for all involved and breaks the digital chain.

A new platform for digital model-based procurement

For the tender of the cross connection in the Schoren tunnel, the BIM experts and the Basler & Hofmann project team rethought the tendering process, taking into account Swiss public procurement law. The result is a web-based, software-neutral platform where contractors can view and interactively price components based on the 3D model. The advantages are considerable for all involved: A better understanding of the project, higher transparency, increased process efficiency and a continuous flow of data throughout the project.

Next practical test with the canton of Zurich

The first-time use of the platform in St. Gallen proved successful for the client and project team: 80 per cent of the services were tendered and awarded directly from the model database. While the model-based construction work is progressing rapidly in St. Gallen, the next practical test for the Basler & Hofmann platform is already underway: The canton of Zurich is tendering the repair of a roadway in Meilen on a model basis. The two projects show that model-based tendering in public procurement is already possible today.

Your contact

Beat Bircher, Project Manager Tunnel Construction, Geotechnics and Railway Construction, BIM Manager

T +41 44 387 16 56

More information on the topic

ASTRA blog post on the project