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French real estate and building industry makes its way to the digital age

Housing Minister Sylvia Pinel launches creative efforts to encourage French landowners to develop or sell their property, and to promote digital innovation in new construction.

A September 10th press release from the Housing Ministry introduced a newly-formed committee in charge of boosting new building construction in France. The committee is charged with documenting prices of local land markets, establishing consistency in how land and building projects are evaluated by professional and public institutions (such as France Domaine, a government agency which manages state-owned real estate), and exploring the effectiveness of legal, regulatory and fiscal rules governing private land.

The national committee is comprised of parliamentarians, local elected officials, community services and public and private professionals. Its findings will be collected in a report to be released in March 2016. Dominique Figeat, president of the Regional Observatory of land in Île-de-France, will head the group.

The committee is part of the Government’s efforts to free up undeveloped private and public land, to increase the supply of affordable housing and firmly revive the construction sector.

In a separate effort to boost construction, the Housing Ministry organized the “BIM Maquette numérique,” or Digital Model Symposium and Competition. The event was intended to demonstrate how digital construction models reduce costs, improve the quality of buildings, and facilitate exchanges between various stakeholders.

On September 10th, Pinel awarded contracts to 34 construction projects that took part in the competition, particularly to those whose proposals excelled in their digital innovation. “To improve its competitiveness, the sector needs to modernize through the use of digital technology,”Pinel explained. She sees this “technological revolution” not only as a source of innovation but also of “gains in quality and cost reduction.”

These measures are both part of the digital transition plan that Pinel launched in January this year. In her view, bringing the housing industry into the digital age is “an essential condition to build more, better and cheaper – a requirement for a sustainable recovery of the construction sector.”

The Housing Ministry estimates that the digital transition plan will help bring construction costs down by about 35 euros per square meter.

Photo credit: Flickr / Gavin Schaefer

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