Luxembourg: Building Information Modeling And The Internet Of Things In The Commercial Real Estate Market

Last Updated: 31 July 2019
Article by Olivier Reisch and David Alexandre

The commercial real estate market is constantly evolving, and the emergence of new technology tools has brought radical change to the sector. At the forefront of such tools, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are most likely to leave a significant imprint on the market in the coming years.

According to the International Telecommunication Union, the IoT is "a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies."

Through the use of identification, data capture, processing and communication capabilities, the IoT makes full use of objects to offer a wide array of services and applications, while ensuring that security and privacy requirements are fulfilled.

Major players in the construction sector have already begun taking advantage of the IoT and, above all, of IoT-generated data, to offer construction professionals better tools, but also new services with high added value. Introduced in the 1990s to collect telemetry information, sensors, for example, are now part of the basic equipment of new construction machines. Nowadays, data flows in real time over mobile networks, before being stored in remote databases and processed by advanced analytical tools, allowing live enhancement of construction processes and ensuring unprecedented responsiveness to specific construction needs.

A great number of contractors are already benefiting from the IoT without actual knowledge of it: IoT can be as simple as a light on a construction machine blinking, signalling that one of its parts needs changing. Only a few users of such machines will know that to achieve this result a connected sensor detected some kind of abnormality, collected the relevant data and sent it to be analyzed, which eventually enabled the machine to signal accordingly.

This data collection process for the purpose of analyzing a situation in order to achieve added value for an object is already undergoing fast-paced growth in the commercial real estate market, changing the deal for stakeholders, especially with regard to management, space usage and energy efficiency. For instance, sensors placed in a building can detect sudden change in energy consumption, enabling building managers to alleviate the costs at a very early stage. Another example would be sensors placed in the parking lot of a building to detect how many parking spots are actually used throughout the day. This data can then be used for future projects, and increase cost efficiency.

BIM, the other game changer, mainly consists in providing relevant actors with efficient tools to share reliable paperless information throughout the life of a building or infrastructure, from design to demolition.

BIM achieves such purposes through the use of specific working methods and a 3D parametric digital model, which is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of the building that contains intelligent and structured data.

BIM is often reduced to a mere software or technology, while it is actually much more than that. BIM is in fact a series of processes or work methods used throughout the design, construction and use of a building. It defines who does what, how and when.

The 3D model is first created in the hands of the architect, and is then made available to the various design offices in order to be completed or even technically modified. The model will most often be replicated into several distinct, activity-specific models. For instance, the architect will keep their model, while the general contractor will work on their own model reflecting their own specific needs, the same being applicable to the electrical engineer, the heating engineer, the plumber, the mason, and all others involved in the construction process. All these models are merged into one master model to detect and resolve any conflicts between them. The reconciled master model is then used to produce the execution plans that will be distributed at the construction site.

Construction companies also use the model to carry out their measurements, planning or phasing. During the work, the model is kept up to date by the designers and builders so that at the end of the work, the model is exactly in accordance with the structure as it was built.

This model, delivered to the project manager with the keys to the property, gives them the capability to manage the building electronically, in order to carry out subsequent work, manage the assets, integrate home automation systems or carry out various simulations.

BIM is therefore a transposition into the world of commercial real estate of construction processes that already existed in other industrial sectors such as aeronautics or the automotive industry.

Combining both BIM and the IoT could bring even more changes to the commercial real estate market.

Currently, BIM allows contractors to communicate with architects and project managers. They have a digital avatar of the building that allows them to manage their assets collaboratively. Combined with the IoT, such parties would be able to inject further elements into the BIM-created model of the building, for example, energy consumption or more advanced data. It will become possible to integrate information on the equipment that has been installed in the building into the BIM-created model, and regulate the properties of each object in a building through a simple click, from a partition, a window, a boiler, or a component of the air conditioning system.

Some contractors have already implemented this type of integration, which means they can now monitor the energy consumption of all their buildings, with an instant view of consumption. While it is possible to integrate IoT-collected global energy consumption data into BIM, it is also possible to take a granular approach, and integrate data generated by multiple temperature sensors, presence of people, lighting information, etc. The possibilities are endless.

When considering the average operating life of a commercial building (usually 30+ years), the savings that can be expected from such an approach are potentially much greater than those that can already be achieved during the design/construction phases. There is therefore a great potential for gains by using BIM combined with the IoT for any building.

While it appears clear that BIM will make life easier for architects, engineers and contractors, allowing them to work on a common project and to profit from cost savings, the technology behind BIM could also have advantages from a legal point of view.

Indeed, it seems reasonable to imagine that the use of such technology could be extended to answer all the legal obligations that arise during the building construction and operation process. As an example, BIM could be used to make certification reports automatic. Competent authorities would be able to allocate all required certifications via BIM based on the data collected and injected into the model, which would save time and money for all parties involved. BIM technology could also be used to ensure that all applicable legal standards are complied with at each stage of the construction, as the building process goes. The same could apply to energy efficiency certification for instance.

Some countries have already taken a step further, by making it a legal requirement to use BIM in certain construction projects. In 2016, the UK became the leader in legally requiring all publicly funded projects to use BIM. Other countries soon followed, such as Germany, which will require the use of BIM in all transportation projects as of 2020.

BIM combined with the IoT will have a game-changing impact on the commercial real estate market at large, allowing stakeholders - as well as legal and compliance professionals advising them - to design and manage buildings in a drastically more efficient fashion, leaving them time to focus on value-added tasks.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions