Solibri DACH Regional Special

“We’ve reached the BIM Tipping Point”

Hearing from some key customers involved in bringing BIM to the marketplace.

In this article we wanted to share two things with the reader. Firstly, we wanted to share our thoughts on BIM in the DACH market. We also wanted to give you an overview of the real people involved in BIM. We hope this article will reflect how BIM is being in the workflow. It will also share some of the key players and institutions involved in that process.   The term ‘Tipping Point’ indicates a point or moment at which a previously straight and clear development abruptly stops by certain feedback, or changes direction or is greatly accelerated.   In His Book - The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell analyzes that magic moment when an idea, trend, social behavior or technology crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. When talking about the adoption of new technologies, this tipping point seems not to have too much to do with the technology itself, or the processes it changes, but with the specific moment in which a certain critical mass of players understand what the real VALUE is for them.   It is not the tools themselves but the clear vision by users on the benefits of that tool. It is the vision of somebody who sees a new way of doing things and how it benefits their business model. A vision that shows direct benefits and offers transformation into a high value player. It is this precise moment, when not tipping into the new paradigm starts to seem completely unattractive. When looking at the last 24 months, a tipping point has been definitely reached in the DACH area. Solibri has seen a doubling of sales for Q1 to Q3 when comparing to the whole 2013.   The value of BIM is being understood by the majority of players in the workflow. It is a reality because specific companies all over the value chain are envisioning the benefits to them. A benefit that has to do with the new possibilities of playing with the data in virtual models. Extracting this value out of BIM is only possible when the quality of data in the models is correct. This is a vision that is shared now by the entire workflow - developers, project managers, BIM consultants, architects, MEP engineers, structure engineers, construction companies and universities. It is the role of the BIM software industry to support this adoption in every way possible.   In this article, key Solibri customers explain the value of BIM for their business and why this ‘new wave’ cannot be ignored. Since 2012, there has been one DACH project that has shone like a lighthouse - Jean Luc Perrin and the Felix Platter Hospital in Basel (Switzerland). The impact of this success has crossed borders all throughout DACH and has inspired similar lighthouse initiatives like BIMID (BIM projects that will be supported by the Government’s Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, and monitored by the Fraunhofer Institute.  

The Developer’s Opinion

Jean Luc Perrin combines many roles. He is the Project Manager, developer representative, building operator and future user. He has one focus: That the new hospital has to be able to respond flexibly to the changing needs of patients. It has to be functional, operable and rentable from day one. To meet these requirements, the project and building costs should be optimized in terms of quantity and quality. “From the beginning, I had the clear idea that we had to focus on operations after the building was finished. On the other hand, I knew that the standard design and building processes would not be enough to meet our desire to design, build and operate a successful and future oriented hospital. I am an engineer and process manager. I also understand the potential of radiology and imaging (CT, MRT). When I discovered BIM in the 2012 FM Fair, I clearly saw this technology could be my X-ray machine to optimize building projects. I started to spread the message - looking for pioneers interested in developing a hospital project with BIM. Soon I was confronted with lots of different modeling tools by architects and engineers. Then I saw Solibri Model Checker (SMC) and immediately realized - This is my TOMOGRAPH for construction! This is it what I was looking for and what I needed as a developer!” Said Jean Luc.   “The possibility to check the consistency of data from the different design teams and the possibility to interrogate the model during the tendering phase would help me to compare the different designs and evaluate them. We actually use SMC to search for quality issues and structural design consistency. We then evaluate processes and circulations, calculate escape routes etc. Just the possibility to find and evaluate very basic information in the virtual building and to be able to compare the different propositions from different teams during tendering phase has allowed us to understand the quality of the delivered designs. My hope is for a future with even better models from all disciplines. With enough information on potential building and operational costs through to FM documentation on demand. As a developer, I dream of a great future. Well…dream…no. The needed tools are already on the market. Now it is time to connect them in an intelligent way - the faster, the better.” Said Jean Luc.  

The Architect and their Design Vision

The next player in our value chain is the architect, and we have asked BEHF Corporate Architects in Vienna how they are experimenting with the BIM Wave in Austria. This Architectural company with its 100 man team was founded in 1995 is one of the key players in the Austrian BIM scene. It has a clear vision of the value that BIM provides them. They started in 2013 with a structural change over of their design processes towards BIM. During this change over, every existing internal process was analyzed and optimized. The resulting structure was called BIM BEHF. Dipl. Ing. (FH) Christoph C. Eichler, the BIM Operations Director, explains that one essential piece in BIM BEHF is an extensive Quality assurance of all projects with Solibri Model Checker. The results of checking are used both, immediately to fix issues and in the long run to spot and analyze recurring user errors. This allows us to make tailor-made trainings on those deficits. In the early design phases, checks are primarily focused on documentation components (like rooms) and the geometry of basic components (walls, Slabs, Roofs), and while the project advances, the checking includes more elaborated features of components to enable data like cost simulation or energy simulation and to provide those with the correct quality of information. The use of this software is being intensified, and the users are being trained in parallel with increasing use and requirements. In short we will switch to a BCF based form of communication to enhance our speed and precision of data exchange and change communication. Mr. Eichler says, “One completely unexpected but very successful use for Solibri Model Checker has been using the tool for presentations and monitoring projects. Primarily project managers use it to get fast access to complex project information and to analyze the changes between design versions. The communication is run with BCF comments.   Trusting information in the models during the BIM process has been drastically enhanced. Only in this way were we able to make such an effective and fast change. We are now able to design complex objects with high speed and quality in an effective manner. The architectural model is going to be the central information carrier over the entire lifecycle of a building. Being the architect is like being the screenplay writer and the director of the design and building process all in one.” Says Mr. Eichler  

Construction Companies in Austria

When it comes to building execution, we are really talking about saving time and money. PORR AG in Austria is a good example of one the biggest construction companies with 11.000 employees. We talk with Clemens Neubauer - Director of the BIM-Management at Porr Design & Engineering, (the Technical Competence Center of PORR AG). He explains “We understand the term ‘full service provider’ as we cover the whole value chain, from design to building and operating. Under the principle ‘shape the future in an innovative way’, we have worked since 2010 on a model oriented BIM method, not only in separated moments but throughout the whole process. It is a corporative strategic decision and has allowed the company to be in a leading position in in BIM and DACH. We focus on fulfilling high quality requirements by using BIM in the different phases. It is one of our highest priorities to work with tools that can assure a continuous comprehensive workflow of all stakeholders.” Neubauer continues, “Harvesting the added value of BIM, not only in the design phase, but in later moments during the execution and construction is only possible with effective quality control. That is exactly why where we use Solibri Model Checker as a tool that can deliver this requirement. The fantastic possibilities to check not only geometric aspects of a BIM model, but also the consistency is an important advantage for us.”     “We do not only use Solibri Model Checker for checking models, but also as a communication, coordination and documentation tool. The outstanding integration of the communication file BCF (BIM collaboration format) allows us to integrate easily other design teams into the process of our BIM projects, because it is compatible with other BIM authoring tools.” Explains Neubauer.   For the future we see a high demand in quality checked BIM models that are able to squeeze the whole potential out of error reduction, assured communication with time and cost savings.” Says Neubauer.  

 Construction Companies in Germany

On the other side of the border, in Stuttgart (Germany), we talked with Strabag AG. Since 2007 Ed. Zueblin AG / STRABAG SE, has been headed by Konstantinos Kessoudis. It has been developing methods and processes to support integrated, model-based workflows for all project participants across all phases and disciplines (5D Design).   The team including Xenia Gordienko (Project Manager 5D Design), and Dr. Frank Schley (Team Leader 5D Design) say, “In 2009 we introduced Solibri Model Viewer for viewing and analyzing 3D IFC 2x3 format files. Solibri Model Checker is used to check BIM data for compliance with client requirements and internal company standards as well as for the implementation and processing of COBie data. Working with SMC enables us to have a quick overview of the IFC-models, to set-up different model classifications, and to check models using rule-based methods. Furthermore, SMC has user-friendly and intuitive tools for model analysis.   The specific problems that Solibri Model Checker helped us to solve are the verification of the model structure as well as to evaluate whether parameters are complete and correct. If we had to share lessons learned with others, we would talk about rulesets for model checking and model classification, e.g.: model structuring according to materials from tender documents, room specification for FM or the allocation of quantities to construction phases in construction management. The incomplete or incorrect information is pinpointed and we are able to automatically correct it.   We can now see that in the future, the development of national standards and regulations, the demand for BIM services from clients is likely continue to increase.”   Regardless of the required BIM Services, however, model-based collaboration and workflows will be intensified, Says Miss Gordienko. And this is exactly the feeling the Solibri DACH team is experiencing. It is about the public sector going BIM and the DIN starting to move forwards a standardization and perhaps most importantly, it is about the all the stakeholders in the chain discovering their own benefit and deciding to harvest those advantages. When talking about the construction industry we can not forget, that one important player is the software and consultancy providing companies that enable the BIM implementation responding to a specific demand on the market. They also are a very strong indicator that the BIM wave is starting.   This is where we now finish our journey of the German speaking DACH countries. As discussed, the tipping point has been reached. The direct value of reliable information on demand is the key business issue for the whole value chain. All three countries are now focusing on the need for BIM. The transformation is less about technology and more about change management and leadership, opportunities and vision. In this article we have seen that all the key value chain teams now believe in BIM. It is this belief that we in Solibri support and continue to encourage. We believe BIM plays a key part in the solution for some of the biggest challenges we are facing as a planet. (e.g. energy, resources, water etc.). To solve these challenges, the real estate sector has to become more active and intelligent – something that will depend on the quality of information they will use. Something Solibri can help them with.   In future articles we will address the impact of BIM in the education system and hear from our partners involved in bringing BIM to the workflow.   Andres Garcia Damjanov Solibri DACH