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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Strategic Relationship Between Trimble and VolkerWessels Promises BIM Innovations

January 12th, 2018 by Susan Smith

AECCafe Voice provides some insightful comments from Jon Fingland, general manager, Collaboration Solutions at Trimble and René de Groot, BIM program manager at VolkerWessels leading construction firm and global player in the field of information and communications technologies, about this week’s announcement of a strategic relationship to standardize VolkerWessels’ projects on a key set of Trimble construction technologies. The collaboration is designed to leverage each company’s core capabilities to drive innovations in Building Information Management (BIM) technology and improve the management and predictability of building construction and real estate projects.

AECCafe Voice: What kinds of challenges is VolkerWessels having that bring them to the need to standardize on Trimble BIM technology?

According to René de Groot, BIM program manager at VolkerWessels:

Like many global construction management companies, VolkerWessels was challenged by an immense volume of information and unstructured data scattered across the company and among stakeholders of its construction projects.  This slowed productivity and made it hard to make timely, informed decisions about projects.  VolkerWessels saw an opportunity to solve this problem and instill greater project controls by implementing a centralized data platform based on Trimble construction technologies that enables interoperability,optimum constructability, information sharing and enhanced collaboration to increase margin and provide more value-add services to their customers. After several months of industry research and vendor evaluations,  VolkerWessels selected Trimble as the best technology partner to achieve its objectives.

VolkerWessel’s new BIM Centre, DigiBase

AECCafe Voice: Will the VolkerWessels partnership create new BIM-centric workflows for other Trimble customers? How do you see that playing out?

According to Jon Fingland, general manager, Collaboration Solutions at Trimble:

VolkerWessels has always embraced a BIM-centric workflow, and has often been recognized as pioneering digital construction and BIM innovator.  Working together, Trimble and VolkerWessels will continue to innovate and enhance how BIM is utilized, driving greater value in the constructability of the entire project lifecycle from concept to detailed design to accurate positioning and execution to operations and management. As part of the collaboration, Trimble will closely work with VolkerWessels’ stakeholders to gather real-world feedback for continued innovation in BIM-centric processes and technologies. We will learn from each other and pass that benefit on to our individual customers.

AECCafe Voice: What do the Trimble BIM-centric technologies consist of? Does it have its own BIM solution or is it employing existing BIM solutions from other vendors?

According to Jon Fingland, general manager, Collaboration Solutions at Trimble:

Trimble is focused on the process of building and using timely, accurate data to drive improvements throughout the complete building lifecycle. The first implementations will be with Trimble Vico Office (Virtual Design & Construction for 2d, 3d, 4d, 5d), Trimble ProjectSight, a project management system that provides both the simplicity field users need and the continual traceability needed to manage many complex projects over the long-term. Finally, Trimble Connect will serve as the common collaboration platform for coordination of multiple stakeholders on construction projects.

René de Groot, BIM program manager at VolkerWessels adds:

Furthermore, both VolkerWessels and Trimble are committed to the openBIM approach of BuildingSMART and will collaborate to continuously improve the working methods (processes), technologies and information flows through different systems (connecting / integrating technologies) using open standards, in order to create a sustainable and structured data environment during the lifecycle of construction and real-estate projects.

AECCafe Voice: What are the outstanding, unique characteristics of the Trimble approach and how are they specifically suited to VolkerWessels?

According to René de Groot, BIM program manager at VolkerWessels:

With several decades of industry experience, as well as an outstanding approach to processing customer feedback, Trimble has many of the enablers necessary to build the type of data-driven organization we envisioned.

Trimble solutions are tailored for each phase of the building lifecycle—from the initial survey to design, construction and operation. VolkerWessels recognized that Trimble’s data-centric to constructible approach to BIM provides the analytics and business intelligence that VolkerWessels can use to drive technology innovation for their company, for their customers, and for the industry at large. Some of the reasons VolkerWessels decided to work with Trimble include:

  • Trimble focus and domain expertise is in construction, and the Design Build Operate (DBO) lifecycle
  • Trimble solutions are data driven as opposed to Drawing or File driven
  • Trimble provided enterprise solutions, not tools or point products.
  • Trimble is a proven global company with strong local support.
  • Trimble was the best cultural fit for VolkerWessels
  • Trimble is a Microsoft Partner, which creates an opportunity for more robust enterprise value.

AECCafe Voice: What are specific challenges of construction professionals that may not be met by traditional BIM applications?

According to Jon Fingland, general manager, Collaboration Solutions at Trimble:

As BIM continues to gain widespread adoption, greater attention must be given to building rigor and richness into the way project information is structured and managed. Traditional construction management tools and information systems are good at creating and tracking basic information or documents about project designs, schedules, materials, labor and detecting clashes and tracking costs. However, data created by these systems is unstructured, divergent and therefore widely underutilized. Creating a common data environment and modernizing project information management is the key to unlocking the true potential value of constructible BIM.

Traditional software providers tend to focus on one specific point solution which only address specific points in the workflow.  Trimble is a unique in the depth and breadth of lifecycle solutions, their constructible workflows and the open approach we’ve embraced. Both Trimble and other applications, serving the construction lifecycle, are brought together for improved interoperability. The approach leads to improved coordination between stakeholders with constructible data — data that’s good enough to build from.

AECCafe Voice: Can you provide a sample workflow of how these technologies would be used on a construction site and in the conceptual phase, if that is applicable?

According to Jon Fingland, general manager, Collaboration Solutions at Trimble:

The first step to create a data-centric organization was to adopt Trimble Connect for data sharing and collaboration. Today, VolkerWessels has over 150 projects in Trimble Connect with 400+ users. Secondly they added ProjectSight as a project management solution. They use various modelling tools and have created their own working methods to create structured information models (Built Digitally first) This data is used in their Building Information System to define budgets, calculate estimates and control actual costs.

An example workflow may include:

  • Create a fast-conceptual estimate based on historical data.
  • Via site surveying / reality capturing collecting actual site data
  • Setting up rich information models through “speed modelling”.
  • Utilize the initial conceptual estimate in the detailed estimate where 2D or 3D quantities can be applied to line items.
  • Sharing intelligent work packages with suppliers and subcontractors for more accurate and effective pricing and collaboration.
  • Final estimate to be transferred as the initial budget into the project management application.
  • Sharing and more in depth visual collaboration with clients,
  • Because of the cloud and mobile functionalities, workflows, maximizing field layout performance and as-built progress to plan, they close the gap between the office and the construction site.
  • Actual cost after project completion to be stored in the historical database.

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, BIM, building information modeling, collaboration, engineering, file sharing, infrastructure, IoT, project management, SketchUp, sustainable design, Tekla, Trimble, Vico

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