Digital maturity and adoption across New Zealand

by Simoné Roux, Digital Engineering Lead, WSP and Regional Lead for Auckland, Women in BIM

Clients surveyed in the BIM in New Zealand 2018 survey described focusing on the design phase when integrating digital spatial and/or asset information. In 2020, the same survey reported that only 47% of clients used digital spatial and/or asset information integration during the design phase. The focus now is on the operational phase of an asset’s life.

Figure 1: Client integrating digital spatial and/or asset information graph (extract from pg. 27 of the 2020 BIM in New Zealand — an industry-wide view survey)

Pinpointing New Zealand’s maturity and level of BIM adoption can be challenging, as it differs significantly between projects and disciplines, even when it is the same consultancy delivering. The BIM in New Zealand 2020 survey shows a strong uptake in actual industry projects that use BIM from 34% in 2014 to 68% in 2020. We are starting to see an uptake in clients mandating ISO 19650 accredited individuals and BIM deliverables. The government has also noticed the benefits of adopting BIM with their goal not being maximum profit, as the private sector, but rather to deliver a service to current and future users. 

With local government councils working from the stance that the operational phase of an asset’s lifecycle accounts for 80% of an asset’s cost, there is an incredible potential for asset management and Digital Twin adoption. The New Zealand industry used BIM in operational planning on only 25% of the projects and subcontractors on 20%. However, clients reported using either integrated digital spatial, asset information or both 53% of the time in 2020.  There is a vast opportunity for BIM when it comes to Asset Management and Digital Twins. For this to be successful, the industry needs to consider the quality of asset data, the accessibility thereof, analytic functions and a visualised management interface. The better the data, the more accurate forecasting of OPEX & CAPEX, energy use and building performance, and decision-making can become.

Two primary drivers for adopting BIM in New Zealand are the BIM Acceleration Committee (BAC), which Melanie Tristram, featured in podcast 8 is a part of, and the Committee for Digital Engineering in New Zealand (CoDENZ). While BAC focuses on promoting the application of BIM and being the link between industry and Government, CoDENZ focuses on persuading New Zealand Government agencies to mandate digital deliverables on all public projects.

When leveraging the data we already have from existing assets, we as an industry can assist our clients in making informed decisions about their investment/asset. There are currently numerous Digital Twin initiatives in New Zealand. As a collective, if we invest in Digital Twins, we can design to optimal requirements, both for the end-user and environmentally. The more accurate and well-structured quality data we have access to, the better its influence on future urban planning and infrastructure asset requirements.  

The trend seems to have been reinventing the wheel 10 (ten) times over, rather than sharing knowledge and lessons learnt and speeding up BIM maturity and adoption rates in New Zealand. Only 38% of survey participants reported ‘always or often’ sharing BIM models with other professions involved on a project inside the same business. This siloed approach does not end there, and continues into innovation and lessons learnt. Challenging this mindset is initiatives such as the Digital Twin Challenge. This group of Digital Twin leaders, consisting of consultancies, government councils and agencies, is authoring blueprints, templates, knowledge resources on the implementation of Digital Twins under creative licence for industry benefit as a whole.

One of the main barriers to BIM uptake in New Zealand is that there isn’t an across-the-board alignment between all project stakeholders. Technology interoperability issues, lack of training and experienced users (across-the-board) seem to be another recurring theme, not just across New Zealand but globally. Hopefully, initiatives such as the Digital Twin Challenge will help overcome this barrier. We can expect a more significant uptake from the industry, subcontractors and clients in the years to come.


BIMinNZ. (2020). BIM in New Zealand – an industry-wide view. New Zeland: BIMinNZ. Retrieved from

Digital Twins in Aotearoa Why and How You Should Invest. (28/09/2021). Retrieved from

Simoné Roux
Simoné Roux

I am passionate about progressing my BIM capabilities. I enjoy collaborating and networking with like-minded individuals.