Application areas of BIM in the last 6 months have significantly increased for various reasons. There have been changes from a regulatory point of view (Ministerial Decree August 2, 2021, n. 312, entitled “Amendments to the decree of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport December 1, 2017, n. 560”), awards are recognized for application of BIM procedures in planning and execution of public tenders, specific requests are formulated in PNRR calls, and finally, application procedures to Cultural Heritage are are significantly improved, where there are elements of digital and industrial innovation, which produce actions compatible with protection and environmental sustainability.

From a regulatory point of view, most relevant introductions refer to the search for methodological solutions related to some key concepts, referred to art. 7 bis of the Ministerial Decree 2 August 2021, n. 312, as: “information models”; “Reward scores for the use of specific electronic methods and tools”; “Maintenance of  interoperability characteristics of information models”; “Innovative tools of augmented reality”.

Awards refer to the proposal to use BIM methodology in improvement offers related to presentation of projects subject to public funding and in tenders. Procedures applied to Cultural Heritage (HBIM) present the most innovative aspects, because interoperability becomes a fundamental way to make the models, generated for specific application areas, communicate with each other with models referring to other disciplines or applications. Among these, notable progress of the state of the art are connected to the use of the VPL (Visual Programming Language), which allows to maintain the syntactic and morphological characteristics of a historical architectural organism even when its parts or components must be “informed” and “parameterized”.

Precisely in this scenario, of transformation and development of methodologies, tools and operational best practices in BIM and HBIM fields, we wanted to photograph the moment and ask the scientific community for a moment of reflection, to share, to fully understand where we are, in which direction we are going and where we could go further. Thus was born the call of Dn number 9, which invited to focus attention on relationship between original thought and artificial thought, between direct “manual” work and indirect one of digital automatisms. A substantial and necessary reflection to address challenges and objectives that today’s Europe offers us, so as to proceed towards continuous digital and industrial innovation, in compliance with full compatibility and environmental protection.

Area of Information Modeling dedicated to Cultural Heritage appears to be a suitable field to investigate and dissect these issues, as shown by the papers present in this issue of the magazine, which propose innovative solutions for HBIM area and suggest reference objectives towards which future experimental and operational resources should be directed. There is a growing awareness of importance of information integration and how its complexity and articulation, on an ontological and semantic level, is proportionately problematic and critical with the increasing historical stratification that affects the building described (Sonia Mollica).

Integration of building’s information qualities also has a multidimensional and at the same time complementary character. For example, experimental activities are of fundamental importance for the definition of new “information enrichment” methodologies, useful for documenting structural problems, such as cracks and disruptions, and providing a synchronic and diachronic reading with respect to historical progression of phenomena – exogenous and endogenous – intervened on the building (Simone Balin, Giuliana Cardani, Fausta Fiorillo).

However, perfecting information has the onerous commitment of managing and organizing huge amounts of data, the management of which requires both in survey step, in normalization, and in representation, a rigorous procedural and methodological organization, which makes use of aids semi-automatic and automatic digital. In this area of investigation researches that exploit the most recent and “lean” acquisition and preprocessing technologies that operate directly in the field (Sandro Parrinello, Silvia La Placa) are proceeding successfully; as well as experiences that structure methodologically and test machine learning procedures for classification of detected surfaces and their annotation in HBIM environment (Massimiliano Lo Turco, Andrea Tomalini).

Amount of survey data, which can now be quickly acquired on a building, must always be integrated – where present – with previous analogue and digital documentation. Therefore, those research activities that normalize and make organically usable, to those who work in management of building, heterogeneous information and their related integrated representations deserve particular attention. (F. Bianconi, M. Filippucci, A. Parisi, S. Battaglini).

Finally, of particular strategic relevance, are researches that propose levels of classification of quality of  building surveyed, such as those aimed at defining a Level of Sustainability: an index aimed at describing a level of environmental sustainability and guiding the restoration and redevelopment project energy. A panorama of case studies, therefore, particularly varied, rich and mature, on which to certainly base next innovation.

Tommaso Empler, Graziano Mario Valenti