David Vauthrin "We'd like to challenge BIM understanding about its position in the digital transformation of the AEC industry"
Between 2016 and 2017,FINALCAD experienced a 130% increase in the submission of BIM projects from their clients
BC: How does FINALCAD understand the change towards digitalization and BIM in the AEC industry?
DV: Construction is one of the biggest humanity challenges. We are currently 7.5 Bn people, and we will be about 10bn in 2050. And yet, the AEC sector struggles to match the required buildings and infrastructure. We still face productivity issues, without mastering quality and planning. BIM is here to help the industry make its own revolution.
For us, BIM is a key asset in this revolution. Because it brings unprecedented opportunities of collaboration, intelligence, and data insights. But it's not enough. Knowing that 85% of the AEC workforce is on the field everyday, the real challenge is to bring BIM on the field.
BC: When and why did FINALCAD start implementing BIM in their projects?
DV: It started in 2014. At this time it was used on mega projects only, because they were ahead of the game. Since then, the usage of BIM on the field has become more widespread, and bring a whole new level in the potential of data for the construction phase.
BC: Is there a growing demand for BIM by your clients? What do they value most of applying BIM in a project?
DV: Yes, definitely. Between 2016 and 2017, we saw a 130% increase in the submission of BIM projects from our clients. It's interesting to see that more and more companies are coming to BIM, and not only the majors. They want better collaboration, intelligence, and data insights. Also, BIM is a competitive advantage for them, showcasing their digital maturity to their own customers.
BC: The last ten/fifteen years great steps have been achieved in the way that people is using digital tools. In the AEC sector which was/is the most challenging issue to be covered? Modelling, collaboration or the information management?DV: We consider digital challenges from a different point of view. We consider the lifecycle across Design, Execution and Operations & Maintenance phases. When looking at these three phases, we can see that the lack of digital is mainly concentrated on the execution phase. We think it's because digital in this phase needs to happen on the field. It's a very challenging need, a new kind of activity, and software vendors of desktop or web solutions are not used to it. It requires specific know-how in mobile user experience, and offline data management.
BC: What is next for FINALCAD?
DV: We are positioned as a digital transformation partner for construction companies. We already signed a few global partnerships with French and Japanese general contractors. Our next challenge is to industrialize these partnerships to be able to partner with dozens of great companies worldwide.
BC: In France there is not a clear mandatory regulation for BIM in building and infrastructure projects. How does the sector correspond on this?
DV: Indeed, focus was given on training and incentives because you can’t force French people ;) In France, the key motivation factor is both professional (master quality, costs and schedule) and commercial (having a competitive advantage for customers).BC: Which would have to be according to your opinion three necessary elements for an AEC company or an AEC professional that is entering now the market? You could say more than three if you want.
DV: This one is tempting. We could define dozens, actually. Let's keep to the exercise of only three. By order of importance:
- Enable technology for people working on the field.
- Being robust to non-BIM environments, as BIM is not (yet) everywhere
- Strong BIM vision, strategy and tactics.
DV: We'd like to challenge BIM understanding, about its position in the digital transformation of the AEC industry. We'd like to see that BIM is a part of it, and that Digital on the field is key, including BIM but not limited to it. It's all about business processes. We will be happy if it comes into the discussion.