Calvin Kam

Calvin Kam




Chapter President

Education & Certification Committee Chair

Where do you live?

San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

Work history:

Founder & CEO, Strategic Building Innovation (SBI)

Adjunct Professor, Stanford University CIFE Research Center

Senior Program Expert & Former National BIM Program Manager, GSA Public Buildings Service

How long have you been involved in openBIM and buildingSMART?

In 2001 and 2002, I was one of the primary researchers on the “HUT-600” project team adopting openBIM for the Senate Properties in Finland.  It was the first-ever industry applications of IFC in practice, demonstrating the many proven values and implementation challenges of openBIM.  In 2003, I co-founded the GSA National BIM Program in the USA that was the first public agency to mandate openBIM globally back in December 2003.  For the past two decades and counting, I continue serve as an ambassador of buildingSMART.

What do you like the most about your work in your chapter?

We have recently relaunched the USA chapter, and our mode of operation is very much like a silicon valley start-up!

The greatest success achieved within your chapter?

American volunteers and organizations have played an integral role for buildingSMART International since its inception during the 1990’s.  The vision, the leadership, the global ambassadorship, the technical insights and the financial sponsorships of American volunteer leaders and member organizations are some of our greatest assets of the buildingSMART USA Chapter.

What does openBIM mean to you?

openBIM is essential for a win-win innovative ecosystem for our construction industry.

What is the biggest challenge the community is facing today?

We need to grow our buildingSMART community to be even more inclusive—welcoming skeptics and adopters, small and large firms, outside and inside of Washington D.C., start-up’s and software giants, emerging professionals as well as accomplished experts.

What challenges do you encounter in your country?

To make buildingSMART applicable, reliable and scalable to serve the US construction market—with tens of thousands of jurisdictions, deeply entangled with legacy workflows and technologies.

What are the main opportunities for your market?

Elevating and integrating buildingSMART as part of the solution set in the recipe for digital transformation to empower our market to upgrade our infrastructure, adapt in light of the post covid-19 mode of virtual collaboration, while addressing the climate change issues.

Digitalization is more and more present today; what do you do in your chapter to meet the challenges it poses:

Whether the challenges may stem from mindsets and management, or originate from data security or interoperability hurdles, buildingSMART is the home for the champions and warriors of digitization to share best practices, problem and solution sets through case studies.

What vision, as a chapter leader, would you give to the whole community?

To take an American reference, “Let’s not only ask what buildingSMART can do for us, also explore what we can do for buildingSMART!”

Let’s elevate above one project, one organization, one country and rethink about what we all can contribute to globally for our industry.

What is your overall vision of the future?

My overall vision is that we will be building our digital and physical assets much SMARTer than ever before.

Benchmarking our global construction industry with the aerospace, manufacturing, or consumer electronic industries, our legacy practice is far from being “smart”.  We are just beginning to digitize our analogue approach, we have tremendous opportunity to more intelligently automate and optimize the way we design, assemble and operate, while better integrating and incentivizing our stakeholders and supply chain.

Would you like to add something else?

We should recognize the vision and dedication by a number of buildingSMART evangelists, including but not limited to Patrick Macleamy FAIA, Late Professor Chuck Eastman, Professor Martin Fischer, Professor Arto Kiviniemi, Reijo Hanninen, and many more.  I am personally grateful for their mentoring my buildingSMART journey.

Website URL:

LinkedIn URL:

Calvin Kam, FAIA, PhD, PE | LinkedIn


Dr. Calvin Kam   FAIA, PhD, PE, LEED AP

Dr. Calvin Kam is the Founder/CEO of Strategic Building Innovation, bimSCORE, BIM Supporters Group, and An Adjunct Professor at Stanford University and a Co-Founder and Senior Program Expert of GSA’s National BIM Program, Calvin advises public and private owners and has been a global ambassador of buildingSMART since 2001.