Interview with Anne Michel and Alice Rosant

“Since its creation, Bouygues has placed a strong emphasis on innovation for the development of its business, with the aim of satisfying the needs and expectations of its customers, and improving the efficiency of its processes.”

Solibri France: Anne, can you tell us about Bouygues Bâtiment Grand Ouest,  your management and its BIM service?

Anne Michel: Bouygues Bâtiment Grand Ouest is the Building subsidiary of Bouygues Construction in the western territories of the Paris region, from the Somme to the Vendée. The Technical and Sustainable Construction Department for which I am responsible includes engineering, costing and project management, which are involved in the Studies phase and some in the Construction phase. 

We have been developing BIM practices and tools for our general contractor business, especially since 2012, focusing primarily on the projects for which we are involved in the design phase. On these projects, our role is therefore - in the design phase - to develop a well-structured building model with our partners, as simple as possible in terms of details and data, shared within the project team with tools and in specialized environments. During the execution phase, we continue with this model to contribute to the execution studies and to produce a maximum number of deliverables. This is formalized by a process for each phase, which is enhanced by our feedback.

Our BIM and Execution synthesis service within the Technical Department provides BIM management on a majority of our projects, participates in the development and deployment of BIM processes between actors and produces implementation documents in Technical and Architectural trades for the construction teams.

Regarding BIM Management, our role includes the development of BIM processes and conventions with stakeholders , the support of actors according to their degree of maturity and the audit of the models to verify that they meet the agreed provisions.

We acquired our first Solibri Model Checker license in 2011.

We work in a network environnement with other Bouygues Construction subsidiaries to share our feedback, initiatives and developments.

SF: Alice, can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your career?

Alice Rosant:  As an architect, I first worked in this business for a year and a half. Quickly I was frustrated and constrained in my designs by not being able to work hand in hand with thermal engineers, taken into account far too late in the design process. So I started to get interested in BIM and especially in the process of compilation of different models to make a common synthesis between actors. After going to several conferences, I decided to do a training in BIM project and digital model management in a school of engineers in Paris at CESI. The market was still timid on these topics in 2013.

I had the chance of being employed via sandwich courses by an innovative and very interested in BIM owner: Habitat 76, the social landlord of the department of Seine Maritime based in Rouen. I was responsible for developing the entire BIM approach with employees and their Assistant to the Contracting Authority. This experience allowed me to understand the expectations of a customer and all the challenges that represent a change to the digital world: the reconsidering of habits and working methods, the evolution of tools, the training of teams etc… I learned the necessary pedagogy and the steps of a process towards change.

That’s when I started working with Solibri, since we chose this software to automate the programme and project check from the digital model. Together, we have set up a specific training for the teams’ business needs.

Once graduated and with experience in both contracting authority and technical programme management, I wanted to go back to the side of production to be not only in the consulting and checking but rather on the field to understand the challenges of BIM projects with a business team. I met Anne Michel who integrated me into her BIM department within the Technical Department, for a BIM management and coordination position. Anne trusted me upon my arrival, and gave me two main missions:

— Participate in internal developments to industrialize processes integrating BIM,

— Be a BIM Manager or coordinator on targeted BIM operations, mostly housing for now.

We continued our relationship with Solibri Model Checker, to consult and audit the models. We are in the process of developing automation for some tasks.

SF: In terms of innovation, how do you see Bouygues today in its market?

Anne: Since its creation, Bouygues has placed a strong emphasis on innovation for the development of its business, with the aim of satisfying the needs and expectations of its customers, and improving the efficiency of its processes.

We want to be always attentive to market evolutions and to the challenges of our customers. As indicated by Bouygues Construction’s claim, “shared innovation”, our desire is to co-build with our customers to meet their needs and anticipate them. It is a guarantee of motivation for our teams but also commitment to our customers. In terms of BIM, within Bouygues Bâtiment Grand Ouest’s BIM service we take care of delivering a concrete and transparent speech to our customers to work together on digitalisation.

SF: In terms of innovation, how do you imagine Bouygues in five years?

Anne:  We hope that our current developments have resulted in practices that allow us to be more effective. Our main objective is to achieve a smooth collaboration between all the business actors in favor of the quality and competitiveness of the projects, and to leave behind the current phase which remains marked by practices often very heavy.

SF: What are your main challenges today?

Anne:  Our challenges focus on two types of topics: trades and tools.

Regarding the trades: the main challenge is the synchronization of the BIM evolution of the main actors of the market: customers, technical program managers and contractors.

Regarding the tools: we are still very constrained by sofware or hardware barriers like the efficiency of computer networks, and especially the functionalities or conditions of software interoperability.

BIM is very often associated with collaborative approaches. Paradoxically, the development of modeling tools is very compartmentalized in favor of strategies of software companies very little collaborative between them. This situation is penalizing in terms of efficiency and can sometimes disappoint good intentions.

SF: How does Solibri Model Checker (SMC) help you overcome these challenges and do you have concrete examples?

Alice:  Today, there are two types of projects for which we use SMC:

— Projects that include BIM specifications of the client to respect.

— Pilot projects to test and improve the interoperability and operation of specialized softwares (structure, takeoffs…).

The practice of BIM requires compliance with essential modeling rules and rigor, with checks and round trips with partners that did not exist before in a conventional operation. The use of the software (SMC) facilitates these checks. The “Checking” function makes it possible to automate a certain number of these quality controls such as the classification control.

The software also allows to visualize and collaborate around the model for example to moderate project review meetings.

SMC also allows us to automate a number of tasks, for example, surface control. With Solibri Model Checker and after a setting phase we can in one click bring out the possibly wrongly defined parts and thus detect the errors of surfaces calculation.

We believe that with time, good practices will develop, standards will be put in place, and controls and multiple round trips for corrections will be reduced.