The LetsBuild BIM app aims to seamlessly link on-site activities and checks to a project’s BIM model, and is focusing on ensuring easy BiM adoption by site teams.
LetsBuild, the European construction cloud technology business formed by the January 2019 merger of Belgium’s AproPlan and Denmark’s GenieBelt, is planning a BIM product launch. LetsBuild aims to seamlessly link on-site activities and checks to a project’s BIM model, and is focusing on ensuring easy adoption by site teams.
Extending BIM into construction
Many companies in the construction industry are focusing on implementing building information modelling (BIM), though adoption levels vary widely. As mentioned in a previous post, the May 2019 NBS National BIM Report pointed to the emergence of a ‘two speed industry’ in the UK, with 22% of those yet to use BIM saying they would rather not adopt it at all. And while BIM-enabled collaborative working may be increasingly the norm during planning and design stages, there is often less use of BIM by construction teams.
This has led some players, notably Autodesk and Bentley Systems, to invest in technologies that extend their portfolio capabilities to support BIM onsite. Bentley took a major step forward with its June 2018 acquisition of Synchro (see also October 2019 post: Synchro buy a key step in building Bentley’s construction capabilities). Autodesk’s November 2018 US$875m acquisition of Plangrid (see also: Construction-savvy Plangrid adds to Autodesk toolset) also boosted its construction-oriented functionality, with Plangrid BIM being rolled out in April 2019 (post) and AU London talk in June 2019 of a convergence of Plangrid and BIM 360 (post).
Closing the BIM-construction gap
Based on feedback from multiple construction companies in different countries, LetsBuild says it has concluded that there is a big gap between the office-based BIM model and the construction workers that need to enrich the model with data from site. “Workers are struggling to use BIM tools in their daily activities and that causes frustration, lack of focus and even errors.”
LetsBuild says its solution will put BIM in the hands of construction workers to allow them to seamlessly provide real-time data from site without having to struggle with unfamiliar tools. The app will connect the BIM objects in the model to site activities, checks and forms to allow a transparent digital built environment. In that way, the BIM model will be enriched with field data and the underlying BIM object data will be made available to people in the field.
As the BIM solution will be fully integrated with LetsBuild’s Aproplan app (post), on-site quality and safety processes will be directly linked to the underlying BIM model. Based on the company’s quality protocol, set by the QHSE (Quality, Health, Safety & Environment) manager, BIM object classes can be linked to specific forms and checklists so that on-site checks are standardised across projects for the same class of objects. Linking BIM object classes to the physical construction work allows for seamless and transparent on-site workflows.
As an example, imagine that a fire-proof door needs to be installed. Using classification, the BIM object representing the door will be linked to certain forms in the Aproplan app. This ensures that the correct door is installed correctly and also documents that it has been signed off on site. The forms triggered will depend on the type of project and object classifications, as different projects comply to different standards at different phases of the construction process.
LetsBuild aims to make BIM easy to use on site and across multiple projects while providing comprehensive data to enhance as-built documentation and learning. Thomas Goubau (right), CRO of LetsBuild, says:
“The goal of our BIM integration is to easily gather all data in one place, standardise processes at company level, and allow project teams to map BIM objects to their specific projects and streamline their work processes. This enables on-site workers and teams to focus on project execution without having to work with a complicated BIM model.”