How Bimsync helps BIM managers: An interview with Damien Lefranc from Legendre
- Photo: Damien Lefranc
We met Damien Lefranc, BIM manager at Legendre and user of the Bimsync platform for 5 years now. He tells us all about his role as a BIM manager and his use of the Bimsync platform.
Can you introduce yourself?
After a Diploma Advanced technician and an A-level in the civil engineering sector, I studied civil engineering for 4 years at the ESITC in Caen. During my studies, I had to carry out several projects as part of my curriculum. It was during this period that I became familiar with BIM. During my 3rd year at ESITC Caen, I organized a workshop on BIM in Denmark, at VIA University College, partner of ESITC. I then worked on a final project on the interoperability of the digital model in a general construction company.
After my studies, I had the opportunity to join the Legendre group, a major mid-cap company in the construction sector, as a BIM modeler. When I joined Legendre 5 years ago, there was a very strong desire from the management team to implement a complete BIM approach within the company. This is how the Legendre Pre-construction department was born. We operated on a fairly flexible startup model with the aim of innovating and developing this service within Legendre. In the beginning, we were only three people within this department: a service manager, a BIM technician and myself. My role subsequently evolved from BIM modeler (in charge of producing digital models) to BIM coordinator, then to BIM manager.
What is your role inside Legendre?
I am currently working as a BIM manager at Legendre in connection with BIM coordinators and BIM modelers. My main role as BIM manager is to apply the BIM Execution Plan (BEP) which is defined upstream of each project with the Project Management team. It evolves throughout the project according to the needs of the client. There is a BIM execution plan dedicated to the design phase and to the execution phase. For me, the primary function of a BIM manager is closely linked to the BIM execution plan. All operations carried out in a construction project are guided by this document. At Legendre, this is based on the model provided by the Convention v2 guide from BuildingSmart France. In the BEP, the client's BIM objectives and BIM uses are included, in particular the transcription of the practices that we will implement throughout the project (such as: producing 2D deliverables from 3D models or manage clashes between models), as well as everyone's missions and responsibilities.
As the project leader, I define everyone's role in the project, transmit the reference models to the various BIM coordinators and ensure the quality control of the digital models. I, therefore, work in close collaboration with the BIM coordinators of different entities: architects, structural design offices, technical design offices, and construction companies. To clearly differentiate the two positions, the BIM manager can work on one or more projects and his role is similar to a digital project manager, while the BIM coordinator works on a single discipline (for example, timber frame) and has as for main task to validate its model.
Finally, in addition to all the functions mentioned above, the BIM manager has the role of advising the client. It often happens that the client has wrongly defined his BIM needs during the different phases, therefore it is my responsibility to make some recommendations to the client, in order to carry out the project.
Why did you choose Bimsync rather than another platform?
We started using the Bimsync platform on a flagship project by the architectural firm Thibault Robert Architects & Associates, the Graphites project at rue de Saussure in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. At that time, solutions for BIM collaboration platforms were quite limited. We were looking for a BIM collaboration platform with a powerful cloud viewer, that was really our main selection criteria. After an in-depth analysis of several platforms on the market, we opted for Bimsync.
We were really impressed by the efficiency of the viewer, the ability to load very complex 3D models as well as the fluidity of navigation. In addition, the various functionalities linked to the viewer such as the quantity takeoff or measuring constituted strong assets in our decision-making.
What are the most useful features to you?
The Bimsync model viewer is by far the most useful feature for me as a BIM manager.
The system of issues based on the BCF format is also very important in our daily life at Legendre, we can organize the issues by list, classify them by order of priority, if they have been resolved or not. Segmenting issues and assigning them to different teams allows us to move forward quickly by dealing with issues more effectively.
In addition, Bimsync's document management system allows us to define a very precise tree structure. There is also the possibility of linking documents with subjects and objects, which a document management system, alone, does not allow.
In the platform developed by Catenda, we organize a Common Data Environment (CDE) by sharing and publishing models conforming to quality control, and archiving models at the end of the project.
Finally, the classification systems, both those that are connected to the buidlingSMART Data Dictionary (bSDD) and not, allow us to go further in the granularity of our models and thus allow communication with an operating and maintenance system for the structures.
How has Bimsync helped you reach your goals?
The Bimsync platform offers a fairly wide range of solutions. To illustrate this, I will give you 3 concrete cases where Bimsync has helped us to solve different problems.
Avril Campus Project in Bruz
During the Avril Campus Project, our mission was to construct the Avril group headquarters as a saucer-shaped building, which required the involvement of many different stakeholders. Collaboration and communication between all these actors were our biggest challenge on this site. To face this challenge, we used the issues management system in Bimsync. Each team had access to its own list of quality control issues for its models or clash with other work packages and could update and process them in real-time. We used BCFs to solve our issues. This is how the technical and architectural synthesis of the project was ensured.
Parker tower project in London
For the Parker tower project in London, we had a big issue with the methodology. The aim of the project was to transform an office tower into housing and required a modification of its concrete structure and an elevation in metal frame. The facades were completely redesigned. It was a particular context since the project was carried out in the heart of London, so there was very little space to operate and do the site installation.
At that time, I was the BIM modeler, and was in charge of designing the concrete structure and method models. I then had to share this with the team via Bimsync for validation. We used the Bimsync viewer as support to present the various method subjects to the work supervisors and project stakeholders. For example, we mapped out truck traffic on the streets in order to deal with logistics issues upstream.
In this way, all the teams of works supervisors were able to have a clear and precise idea of the methods used, by logging onto the Bimsync platform.
Identity project in Rennes
On the Identity project in Rennes, the biggest challenge lay in the cladding and the facades of its exoskeletons. In fact, the 3 buildings that make up this project required constant communication and coordination with the carpenters. In our meetings, we used the Bimsync viewer to explain the different interfaces. We were then able to know in advance where to put the anchors of the secondary metal structure. We have also modeled all the work packages for the facade and the roof in order to facilitate communication.
What have been your key findings in using Bimsync?
Like most people in the construction industry, we used email as our primary channel of communication. This has the advantage of being simple and allows us to be able to communicate with everyone, however it is not ideal for a BIM manager. Indeed, the large number of model revisions in a project, the visualization of issues and the need to make changes quickly constitute real constraints to the use of email. In addition, the large number of actors and documents exchanged in a construction project quickly make the task complicated and obstruct the communication channels.
The BCF part offered by the Bimsync platform simply allows us to reduce the sending of emails. All of our conversations and interactions happen directly in Bimsync. We systematically store all the documents relating to the BIM approach of the project in the cloud. This makes it easy to find out what was said at a meeting and keep a written record. This is a huge time saver and allows us to centralize everything on a single tool. With the use of BCFs, we drastically reduce our risk of losing crucial information.
With the simplification of the procedures and the limitation of the number of tools used during a construction project, we have become more agile. It is difficult to quantify the exact impact on team productivity, but Bimsync has greatly contributed to streamlining collaboration between project stakeholders.
With Bimsync, we now have access to a multitude of data (such as the number of opened issues, opened issues by discipline, the number of issues resolved or the number of model revisions). By connecting Power BI with the Bimsync cloud platform, we have a very high number of statistics during all phases of the project (from design to execution) which is a real asset in decision-making and feedback.
In addition, thanks to Bimsync's open APIs, as well as the common IFC tree and properties, we were able to develop our own in-house tool called "MaXim". MaXim is an openBIM building operating system that aims to put the manager and the occupants at the center of their building's life. The platform centralizes all the technical data from the various business applications and makes them available to its users and related services. Thanks to MaXim, we constantly keep visibility on energy consumption, preventive and corrective maintenance operations as well as the use and well-being of the premises. Articulated around the digital twin of the building, all the functionalities are accessible thanks to 3D navigation in the model and to an interface designed for the user.
We were really impressed by the efficiency of the viewer, the ability to load very complex 3D models as well as the fluidity of navigation.