Digitisation in construction

Accelerating existing digital developments and starting up new digital developments. These are just some of the ambitions of TNOs Buildings, Infrastructure & Maritime business unit. To this end, TNO is developing smart software concepts, tools, methodologies and guidelines. We also ensure a transfer of knowledge to companies and public authorities and connect parties, perform critical evaluations and provide strategic recommendations. 


Would you like to know more about TNO’s developments in the construction and infrastructure sectors? Take a look at the examples on this page or get in touch with Rob Roef


Digitisation plays an ever-more prominent role in the construction industry. An increasing amount of digital information is available, computer power is growing exponentially and advanced digitisation technologies are emerging. These are also important developments for TNO. New and improved technologies enable us to design processes, services, products and business models for our customers in a fundamentally different manner. 


The development of new technologies comes at the right time. For instance, we are currently faced with the enormous societal challenge of building 75 thousand homes a year while making 30 to 50 thousand homes more sustainable within the same timeframe. There is also the energy challenge and the materials transition: societal ambitions that call for different, more efficient and more innovative ways of working together. Another example would be the maintenance of post-war infrastructurin the Netherlands. 

Digitisation makes it possible to realise these and other ambitions. As a chain partner in the sustainable business sector, you want to contribute to the energy transition and you want to build things faster. Which information supply do you need? You want to optimise your production in the greenhouse horticulture sector. What does the design of your high-tech greenhouse look like? 

You are responsible for the physical safety of a structure or offshore construction. How are you going to measure that? You want to be able to manage, monitor and maintain your assets properly over a long period of time. How do you shape the information model? Which digitisation standards actually exist and how can you best apply them? 


Within the digital transformation, TNO is partly focusing on innovative digitisation technologies and partly developing technologies that strengthen our knowledge position in the fields of civil engineering, construction and building physics. We are working, for example, on innovative BIM Bots: autonomous web applications that can conduct fully automatic analyses of Building Information Models (BIMs) and even test them against legislation and regulations. These are tasks for which the current working methods are much more labour-intensive and require a lot of interaction with users. 

On top of this, we use linked data – an innovative concept for connecting different data files and information structures. This technology plays a particular role in Asset Lifecycle Information Management (ALIM), in which standards must speak the same language. To this end, we are developing Object Type Libraries (OTLs) for various public and private clients or owners of buildings and infrastructure. 


Another technology that we can deploy in many domains is the digital twin: a digital replica of an asset or set of assets which provides detailed insights into performance and processes via simulation. Because we now have a lot of data on these assets, we can even make predictive models of them. We call these predictive twins. 

Artificial intelligence is also a technology in which TNO is heavily involved, such as in researching the added value in the building, infrastructure and maritime & offshore sectors. Examples include the development of autonomous (submarine) vessels based on technology which we pioneered in the automotive industry and the application of machine learning in the creation of lifecycle prediction models for structures. 

The automated testing of Building Information Models during the design and engineering or the testing of completed buildings (as built) against (building) regulations are the artificial intelligence application fields in which we are already working. 

Safe and Sustainable Living Environment

Rob Roef

  • Digitisation
  • Bim bots