BIM is not an end in itself. You hear this so often, but how does it work in practice? Michiel van Wijk, BIM manager at Deerns, is happy to talk about it in an international context. Leading the way in the Netherlands, translating that knowledge and experience into profitable BIM concepts abroad, and a success story in Italy or France leads to another step forward in the Netherlands – "learn by doing" is the motto.
"Such an approach demands that we keep an eye on our BIM goal, while continuously adjusting and improving our vision and work process at the same time. Based on what we experience: what works and what does not (yet) work. And with what new technology has to offer. Sometimes we want something faster than what is technically possible and, at other times, technology catches up with us. This applies to our field in installation engineering, but also to the implementation of BIM in our organization."
The congruence in the industry vision between Deerns and Stabiplan is striking. That the industry has to change and that BIM plays a role in it. That it's not just about implementing Revit as a design tool and repositioning CAD, but that we get started with processes and workflows. By redefining the product that you deliver as an advisor and the expectations that you generate.
Michiel: "The industry changes that are needed to make a success of BIM go deeper. Transparency, trust, sharing, and communication are keywords. BIM is not a revolution, but we must be careful that it does not become old wine in a new bottle: the same result with new technology. As an industry, we are still in the middle of the transition to BIM, and it does not have to be different from one day to the other. There will be yet another generation. BIM is not an end in itself; it is a means to perform better as an industry and to align with developments in society. The use of buildings is changing. Through new technology, we are going to deal differently with each other, work together in a different way."
Michiel: "Within the Deerns international environment, I notice that we in the Netherlands are often early in the adoption of new technology. Only we sometimes forget that, with BIM, there are changes needed in workflow and mentality. This requires patience. What you notice after a few projects is that we like to call on BIM, but are no longer able to convert every lesson we learn in a project into improving and changing our workflow."
At Deerns, the "lessons learned" in the Netherlands appear to be a driving force for BIM projects abroad. Michiel: "We no longer have that one product – installation advice – but consult with the client to see what he expects from BIM. Is it only for construction or also for operation? Or are we ready once we have established a good main structure that is well coordinated and that makes it through every clash control? We find that we can provide direct added value in the area of workflows and information levels abroad and thus be able to expand our product offerings with BIM management. As a result of this, we have created strong customer relationships within health care in France: our realistic view of BIM and the Dutch examples that we can show, are decisive."
"On the other hand, we find that the model as a product is becoming more important. Our installation advice should have a practical effect in the model, so the installer can really continue with what we deliver and does not start re-modeling. I see that reflected in Stabiplan's content vision. The GSD (generic-specific-detailed) three-step approach is a clever concept, useful for both advisor and installer. Information that we add is useful for the installer. With Stabicad for Revit and MEPcontent, he can convert the installation to products that can be ordered from a supplier with a single press of the button. It provides a detailed model of an installation that is feasible in practice. This possibility gained us extra jobs with a large project in Italy because the installers in question could not make the translation."
Cultural and local norms and standards will always play a role in BIM. Michiel thinks that standardization is important; but in practice, he notices that international differences remain. Michiel: "Deerns is an international company and we want to be able to exchange BIM teams. In a few years, a BIM engineer from Spain will help out on a project in Italy, Germany, or South America. That's why we're creating solutions and BIM workflows that are identical between the different countries. The use and design of Stabicad helps with this: a well-equipped and Deerns-aligned Revit template and the layout of StabiBASE and the Palette Center. It is then fine that there is a difference between countries and / or projects in the (installation) technical solutions or products chosen."
BIM succeeds or fails with the quality of the data and the possibilities for exchange. Michiel: "Interoperability with the architect and engineer is important. For this, our solutions must be able to be presented in IFC, with which we gain insight into the design for Deerns employees who are not BIM modelers using a BCF (BIM Collaboration Format), and who we do not want to tax with the technical complexity that sometimes accompanies BIM."
European MEPcontent Standard
In our enthusiasm about BIM's potential, we cannot be drawn into enriching the model with "useless" data. That is counterproductive. The international setting in which Deerns operates keeps the company well on track. Michiel: "The European MEPcontent Standard is proof that Stabiplan is the right partner for us. The vision and the practical implementation of the EMCS indicate that they know what it's all about in Bodegraven. Where we want to go together. Parameters of components only where it is useful. Not nailing down everything, but only adding the information that has added value and that can be transferred to the next stage. We can make agreements on this and standardize it where possible."
"Where BIM really provides added value for Deerns is in the calculation of the installations from the model. That is the support of our core business. Upon seeing the new Stabicad for Revit Sprinkler module, I was very excited because it aligns with the two ways of engineering that are common in Deerns. Once again, our partnership with Stabiplan is very practical in this regard and the lines are short. Stabiplan translates our input into standard solutions with sufficient functionality for advisors and engineers. We have also been involved in the testing of the calculation module for ventilation ducts, and we were able to provide input on local European standards. I think we were hereby stronger together than as individuals."
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