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Local Matters / Changing Landscape

French Government ushers the building industry into the digital age

House Model

In order to encourage the construction of homes in France, the Housing Ministry has initiated a mission to mobilize private land in areas where demand has outgrown offer. In an effort to modernize the sector, a digital construction competition was organized by the Ministry.

A September 10th press release from the Housing Ministry introduces a newly-formed committee in charge of boosting new construction — bringing together parliamentarians, local elected officials, community services and public and private professionals.

Its mission centers on documenting prices of local land markets, exploring practices for establishing consistency in assessment practices by professional and public institutions (France Domaine, for instance, a government agency which manages state-owned real estate) and exploring the effectiveness of legal, regulatory and fiscal tools concerning private land.

The committee’s findings will be collected in a report to be submitted to the Housing Ministry in March 2016. Dominique Figeat, president of the Regional Observatory of land in Île-de-France, will head the group.

According to the release, the measure fits into the Government’s efforts to liberate private land — alongside utilizing public land — in order to develop the supply of land in conjunction with producing affordable housing, to permanently revive the construction sector.

In another practice to boost construction, the Housing Ministry organized the “BIM Maquette numérique”, or Digital Model symposium and competition. On 10th September, Sylvia Pinel rewarded 34 construction projects taking part in the competition, with results primarily based on the criteria of digital innovation.

The event’s aim was to demonstrate how digital construction models could reduce costs, improve the quality of buildings, and facilitate exchanges between various stakeholders. Pinel explains that “to improve its competitiveness, the sector needs to become modernized and rely increasingly of the use of digital technology.” She sees this “technological revolution” not only as a source of innovation but also of “gains in quality and cost reduction.”

These measures follow Pinel’s digital transition plan launched in January this year, whose objective is to increase the use of digital tools in planning and construction and bring the housing industry into the digital age. This is in her words: “an essential condition to build more, better and cheaper” and a “requirement for a sustainable recovery of the construction sector.” It is hoped that the digital transition plan will help bring construction costs down by 35 euros per square meter.

Photo credit: Flickr / Gavin Schaefer

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