Interview with Pascal Loisel

Pascal Loisel is Director of Development Support, Asset Management and BIM in the Construction & Real Estate Business Unit at SOCOTEC. He is responsible for inspiring, challenging and leading the network of 1,200 operational staff across 135 branches in France of the Business Unit regarding the topic of BIM.

Pascal Loisel. Director of Development Support, Asset Management and BIM in the Construction & Real Estate Business Unit at SOCOTEC.

Allplan France: What is your mission at SOCOTEC ?

Pascal Loisel: I have to anticipate new products and emerging markets towards our promoter customers, lessors and local authorities, structure the offers of assistance to Project Ownership and facility Management, create productivity tools and deploy them within the network. This includes BIM tools.

AF: What is the history of BIM at SOCOTEC France?

PL: Since 2016, SOCOTEC has advanced in the acculturation of its team in relation to BIM, by creating a BIM unit and signing a partnership with the BIM Master of Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees in the same year, before publishing a white paper on a BIM protocol in partnership with the CSTB. In 2017, SOCOTEC launched a BIM Tour about technical and legal issues with DS Avocats, then in June of the same year, trained a dozen BIM ambassadorial experts within the network.

When I arrived in October 2017, things had accelerated and we signed two strategic partnerships: with a collaborative platform (BIMData) and with Solibri (with a dozen Solibri Model Checker licenses). My objectives were first to accelerate the deployment of BIM internally (by structuring the tools and our information system), launching our offers of support, assistance to project management, and certification. Finally, the structuring of BIM and digital to innovate: in summary, how BIM and digital will impact our businesses and how to anticipate these future transformations.

AF: How do you see SOCOTEC in its market today, in terms of innovations? 

PL: In France, SOCOTEC is the leader in its traditional business, and is back on the digital front: indeed, start-ups disrupt our market quite strongly and it is important to always be ahead. In particular, we have launched a vast innovation program, which includes strong investments in our information system and the creation of a strategic committee related to innovation at a group level. The purpose of this committee is to share best practices worldwide, and to develop relationships with start-ups in terms of open innovation, which allows us to turn our traditional business into bim.

AF: And how do you see SOCOTEC in 5 years?

PL: In 5 years we will have advanced considerably in three fields: First of all the exposure of our data, which is why we are setting up a Data Lake, which consists of dumping unstructured data that is identified by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and then exposing them to users and especially our customers. In 5 years, 100% of the data generated by SOCOTEC as part of its traditional business will be exposed to our customers. The second field is to be able to use all these data in connection with the Digital Models. In 5 years we will be able to take advantage of the added value of this data in terms of BI (Dashboards, project management, reporting…) and we will be able to do Data Mining and Assistance to the creation of value. Tomorrow, we will be able to bring all the intelligence of this data to our customers in a more and more personalized way.

One of the most important applications is the management-operation-maintenance BIM, because more than 50% of the data used in this framework are produced by SOCOTEC (asbestos diagnosis, lead diagnosis, data related to the construction systems or use ...). The smart building of tomorrow will therefore be strongly accompanied by the controlled data and information system of SOCOTEC. Finally, SOCOTEC is a forerunner in terms of certifications: people, companies, and models. We started to launch these certifications at BIM World 2018, and our ambition is to be a leader in this fast-growing market.

AF: What are your main challenges today?

PL: To make BIM a reality for our 1200 engineers! The deployment, training and acculturation of our network are the main challenge. For example, we should increase our number of Solibri Model Checker users in our team from less than 1% to more than 50%!

Acculturation work upstream is essential because it motivates teams: it goes through internal communication campaigns and showing the benefits. For example, our engineers can send their inputs directly on the model thanks to Solibri Model Checker, and these then synchronize in our technical inspection software. This is the first level we show to our teams, so that they make their missions digitally. The second level is the Checking or automatic control, which will allow to deepen the risk analysis of the operations of our customers, but also have impacts in our ways of working.

Finally, each of our innovations is co-built in partnership with one of our clients: this is further proof of its benefits.

AF: Why did you choose Solibri?

PL: Our job is to control, check, show and collaborate with our customers on technical and regulatory issues detected during the design or execution phase. Solibri Model Checker is the only tool that can really do this Checking on geometry and data (the attributes), and especially to mix both. Today, our business challenges mean that we need to push IFC models and their databases as far as possible, and Solibri is the leader in this field: it is a must. This is really important because our engineers have a very high level of technical knowledge: the tool must be able to exceed their level to be interesting, that’s why we use Solibri Model Checker on all our checking missions. But technically, Solibri goes further and allows us to imagine things that we are not able to do today. Finally, it is essential for us to focus on sustainable solutions that will last over time, and are globally recognized. This does not prevent us from working with start-ups like BIMData which offer a great reactivity of development on other complementary topics.

AF: Regarding this topic, are you satisfied with your level of relationship with the development of Solibri? 

PL: I am very satisfied, and Solibri is really listening to our requests. I would like to go further and my dream and see one day an SDK allowing us to develop our own bricks, and that Solibri become a technological platform for other developers in the community. We have a lot of development ideas for this software that exceed the possibilities offered today by the Solibri Solution Center!