The Czech Republic is only at the very beginning in terms of the digitization of the building industry. The sector is actually one of the least digitized local industries. At the same time, digitization is one of the key prerequisites for the decarbonization of the building industry.
Without fundamental changes in the sector, achieving the decarbonization goal of making Europe the first zero-emission continent by 2050 is virtually unrealistic.
Printed documents still lead
“Decarbonization can be perceived as a cross-cutting phenomenon based primarily on detailed and correct measurement of the carbon intensity of most areas of human activity and its subsequent management using both behavioural, legislative and, above all, economic tools,” says Simona Kalvoda, Executive Director of the Czech Green Building Council. Digitization in the building industry will save time and costs and lead to better building management. But the main benefit is that it allows making decisions based on data, not impressions. This is the most important thing for setting up decarbonisation measures and financing them.
However, the vast majority of information are still used in printed forms, which are impractical for subsequent use or archiving, and in addition, the individual agendas are still not interconnected and work separately. To achieve an optimal state, it is necessary to interconnect number of agendas and to introduce a unified data platform, which should record all the necessary parameters of existing buildings. The platform should enable digital receipt of data on new construction plans and changes in general and provide a data interface for the needs of financial administration, legislation, social affairs, statistics and modelling in a defined standard.
“Bringing together platforms as part of digitization could lead to a simpler and more accurate calculation of a building carbon footprint and the impact of building renovation and modernization on this carbon footprint. This could create an easy-to-use evaluation parameter for selecting the optimal solution, which could also be used in the procurement of contracts in the form of Performance Design & Build. The procurement process itself would also be helped by a higher level of digitization,” says David Martinek, Public Affairs Manager at ČEZ ESCO.
The absence of a unified platform leads to duplications such as dedicated software for the collection of property tax, the building’s own database of energy labels, the separate development of smart metering solutions, i.e. smart management of the decentralized electricity network or the census of inhabitants, houses and apartments. Another fundamental problem is that existing government systems do not consider the use of state-of-the-art technologies such as decentralized database or artificial intelligence for analysis, management and modelling.
The BIM method has been used in the Czech Republic for several years. It is about transferring all relevant information about the building into the digital environment and sharing it across the entire life cycle of the building and all stakeholders. “The principles of digital modelling and planning are beneficial throughout the entire life cycle of a building. For building owners and operators, the BIM model is or will be used in the future not only for the design and construction of buildings, but also for the efficient operation of buildings, related to the maintenance and service of individual building elements, which will help decarbonization while considering energy efficiency,” says Petra Hajná, Sustainability Officer at CPI.
Unfortunately, the BIM method is not yet a standard in the Czech Republic. “Standardization or even a law that would require BIM or the principles of sustainable design and operation of buildings is noticeably lacking. In France, for example, the RE2020 law is in force, which requires all projects that apply for a building permit to be designed with a carbon footprint in mind. The state creates pressure, and the market is looking for solutions, which serves as an accelerator,” says Jakub Škaloud, Project Manager at VCES. Jakub Benda, spokesman for Saint Gobain, adds: “As far as BIM is concerned, we have been talking for a long time about the need for state involvement, both in the requirements for our own projects and in the form of rules and methodology.”
The Czech Green Building Council is aware of the importance of digitization for successful decarbonization. In connection with the creation of the Zero Carbon Roadmap, which lists the digitization of the building industry as one of the decarbonization measures, the Council is ready to exert pressure at the government level to accelerate its implementation.