Digitising Croatia’s Construction Sector: The Journey of CDI and DigiDeck23!


This week we sat down with Monika Mlakic (President of Centre for Digital Built Croatia, and Operations Manager of DCT) and Marko Gasic (Co-founder of Centre for Digital Built Croatia, and Managing Director of DCT). We discussed their pivotal roles in founding the Centre for Digital Built Croatia and the upcoming DigiDeck event set to take place in the Mozaik Event Centre in Zagreb on November 16th.

Can you provide some background on the inception of DigiDeck23 and the CDI? What motivated you to start these initiatives, and what gaps or needs in Croatia’s construction sector were you looking to address?

“DigiDeck and Centre for Digital Built Croatia (CDI) were founded with a shared vision to drive digital transformation in Croatia’s construction sector. We recognised the potential of BIM and digital technologies and the need to bridge existing knowledge gaps. Croatia has big potential when it comes to educated engineers and construction professionals, but when it comes to BIM and digitalisation, there are still a number of steps that need to be taken and the Centre is a starting point for the successful implementation. Our motivation was to create a collaborative platform that fosters innovation, knowledge sharing, and community building within the industry. CDI and DigiDeck23 have played a pivotal role in accelerating digital adoption and propelling Croatia’s construction sector into the digital age,” answered Monika.

DigiDeck is an annual BIM conference and exhibition that started last year in 2022. Could you share some insights into how the event has evolved since, and what impact it has had on promoting BIM and digital technologies in the construction industry?

“DigiDeck and the CDI have seen remarkable growth since its inception, with an increasing number of industry professionals participating in the event, highlighting a broader shift towards digital adoption in Croatia’s construction sector. What began as a modest gathering has now become a leading platform for promoting BIM and digital technologies. This surge in participation isn’t limited to the annual event alone, as the Centre for Digital Built Croatia (CDI), which oversees DigiDeck23, organises quarterly meet-ups throughout the year. These smaller gatherings provide professionals with more opportunities to engage, learn, and network, fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation. This collective effort has been pivotal in driving the digital transformation, making DigiDeck23 and CDI influential in shaping a more technologically empowered construction landscape in Croatia,” answered Marko.

What are some key achievements or success stories that you can attribute to DigiDeck23 and the CDI’s efforts in advancing digital adoption in Croatia’s construction sector? Are there any specific projects or milestones that stand out?

“We have had several noteworthy achievements and success stories that emphasise the pivotal role of DigiDeck23 and the Centre for Digital Built Croatia (CDI) in advancing digital adoption within Croatia’s construction sector. Achievements that stand out are definitely quarterly Meet-ups on the topic of BIM, digital document management, 3D laser scanning, producing templates for BIM documentation in Croatian language, and having regular BIM webinars. That couldn’t happen without the effort of CDI’s partners and members.

Also, one of the ongoing initiatives is national research on the level of digitalisation of Croatian construction. The research is being conducted under the initiative of the Centre for Digital Built Croatia and partners, with the aim of a deeper understanding of the degree of digitisation in the construction industry in Croatia. The research aims to identify the key aspects of digitisation, as well as to recognise the challenges and opportunities provided by digital transformation in the construction sector. Moreover, CDI’s strategic collaborations with government agencies, educational institutions, and construction industry leaders have paved the way for the development of standardised digital practices, further accelerating the industry’s modernisation. ” answered Marko.

Collaboration seems to be a significant aspect of CDI’s work. How has collaborating with other organisations and stakeholders helped further your mission, and what notable partnerships have been instrumental in this journey?

“Collaboration has been a cornerstone of CDI’s mission. We firmly believe that to truly accelerate and mature the digital transformation of Croatia’s construction sector, it’s essential to foster partnerships and synergies among key stakeholders. We are very proud that we gathered top experts and construction leaders at the table of the Centre: contractors, designers, software and hardware developers, government representatives, and education institutions. These collaborations have not only enriched the CDI network, but have also created a thriving ecosystem where knowledge exchange and innovation flourish, further driving the mission of digital transformation. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the path CDI is heading towards is promising.” answered Monika.

In your view, what is the future of BIM and digital technologies in Croatia’s construction sector, and how do DigiDeck23 and CDI plan to continue contributing to this transformation in the coming years?

“The future of BIM and digital technologies is promising, with the support of CDI, along with the platform of DigiDeck to demonstrate the progression of the industry and to share knowledge. We envision continued growth in digital adoption, where BIM becomes a standard practice for construction projects of all sizes. Furthermore, the construction industry will increasingly embrace emerging technologies like IoT, artificial intelligence, and data analytics to enhance project planning, design, and construction. To support this vision, CDI and DigiDeck23 are planning to expand their efforts by organising more specialised workshops, training sessions, and smaller events throughout the year, designed to cater to specific industry needs. By nurturing a culture of ongoing learning and innovation, we aim to ensure that Croatia’s construction sector remains at the forefront of the digital revolution, delivering sustainable, efficient, and high-quality projects,” answered Monika.

“Lastly, I would like to express our gratitude to all the incredible individuals and organisations who have played a vital role in the success of the Centre for Digital Built Croatia and DigiDeck23. Their unwavering support, dedication, and collaboration have been instrumental in making CDI’s vision a reality. Together, we are shaping a digitally empowered future for Croatia’s built environment, and we couldn’t have done it without each and every one of them.” expressed Monika.

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Author: Dan Cullinan / Marketing Executive / DCT, Ireland Office/ dcullinan@dctgrp.com