BIM - Removing fences between specialists

“Solibri is easy to use and in that way, all the data is integrated. We can see the output of BIM in Solibri. Clashes, reports, up front investments. It makes BIM much stronger.”

We meet Marianne Loof in her architectural studio. It’s a wonderful space. High windows offering an impressive view across the water. I have asked to meet her to talk about how architects use Solibri in The Netherlands. Marianne is one of the Directors of LEVS architecten here in Amsterdam. Ironically we arrive to see Solibri Model Checker open and being utilized as part of a work meeting with LEVS and one Construction Company. It’s one of those photographic moments that our readers will think we have created just for this article. It is actually a happy coincidence.


LEVS is over 25 years old. Its projects cover urban to interior design. Recent commissions include schools, housing districts and care centers. The LEVS brand is not based merely upon aesthetics. It believes in designing buildings that fit well within their place. Buildings that are well designed and functional. Contextual design is more important than creating icons with no purpose.


Marianne and her team are big believers in BIM. Marianne explains, “We see the future as a place where we have removed the fences between specialists. BIM pushes us to work more together. We need to reinvent the business model and move forward.” Marianne explains her way of seeing the world as an architect. They are generalists armed with a lot of specific knowledge. They need to understand the language of other engineers but the architect alone is the key guardian of the building as a whole – the person who thinks how people live and work. This is one of the reasons why she likes Solibri. It allows you to see all the project elements together and then better manage the situation.


“Solibri takes us to a higher level. It saves us a lot of time, money and frustration. One big issue is the different focuses within the team. Sometimes you need to make choices and by doing so, avoid negative energy. We need to make sure the data is without flaws. We can make choices early enough and solve issues to avoid later expense. We can improve the quality for ourselves and the design team” tells Marianne. “Solibri is easy to use and in that way, all the data is integrated. We can see the output of BIM in Solibri. Clashes, reports, up front investments. It makes BIM much stronger.”


In the early days, Marianne felt BIM held you back. The software was new and it took time to learn it. Now things are much easier. It’s an instrument her office is comfortable with. It flows within the design process. It is a standard for all, not just the specialists. In a way, it has become a mindset. “We need to control the design and project management. We not only designers, providers of sketches. We are responsible for costs and meeting requirements. We can now lead the project management and deliver on time.”


Marianne is enchanting with her passion for design. She explains that the architect must consider how the building will be loved for the next 50 years. How society will be poorer if the architect doesn’t take responsibility with their vision. Like all technology, it doesn’t provide the answer in itself, it simply provides a tool for change. Like her smartphone, Marianne isn’t interested in how it works, she is interested in what it allows her to do.


“My dream is that you don’t need to know anything about the software. You will be able to do it with intuition.” It is not surprising to see that Marianne is on the board of the Dutch equivalent of RIBA. LEVS has been doing consistently well despite the recession. It gave them the opportunity to reinvent how they worked. Adopting BIM was one such opportunity. They are now flourishing. I look forward to meeting Marianne again in the future. I believe she will be able to show us that Solibri helped make LEVS vision a reality.


Watch the interview here:


Russell Anderson/Solibri