Multi-scale BIM for all

“Building Information Management (BIM), a growing global trend, is a source of opportunity for modernizing the construction and development industry,” says Souheil Soubra, IT Director at the CSTB. As signaled by the letter “M” for Management, BIM is about optimizing information management between stakeholders, in a reliable, scalable, collaborative manner, which helps improve the quality and performance of projects.

“Because we believe it offers more efficiency when implemented across the entire value chain, the CSTB is helping each and everyone benefit from BIM, from land and property developers and builders to operators. Thanks to its expertise in digital technologies and construction, the CSTB is helping democratize BIM at all levels, to boost digital innovation.”

A breakthrough in 2017: the French State launched an experiment on a large-scale digital platform in collaboration with professionals. This tool, called “KROQI,” facilitates access to BIM for all, especially VSEs and SMEs, as part of the State’s push for the use of BIM throughout the construction industry (BIM Charter 2022). Developed by the CSTB, this cloud-based platform offers stakeholders collaborative tools to access information remotely and interact with each other on BIM-based projects. The platform will be adding new features: although it already offers access to eveBIM®, the CSTB’s multi-scale open-BIM software environment, it will also include other services in order to build a standard BIM ecosystem. Thanks to its technical neutrality and compliance with standard international formats, the CSTB guarantees the interoperability of its solutions. The CSTB also guides stakeholders in the development of innovative digital services. Its startup incubator, the CSTB’Lab, launched in October 2017, now has two generations of startups with digital projects underway. It is helping them develop high value-added BIM and 3D solutions for the building industry.

According to Souheil Soubra, “Beyond its technological services, the effective deployment of BIM requires support for stakeholders to adopt this work method, and for BIM to be adapted to their activity.” The CSTB guides industry stakeholders by creating a BIM road map with them to define the goals and the changes in organization and tools, every step of the way. The CSTB also provides its support to project owners. As Souheil Soubra explains, “Thanks to its multi-scale BIM expertise, the CSTB ensures the quality of the stakeholders’ contributions and the way they interact at every stage of a project, thus ensuring the continuity of the exchanges and the durability of the BIM approach.” For example, the CSTB is partnering with several developers and project owners to facilitate their digital transition through pilot projects concerning local areas and neighborhoods in cities such as Bordeaux, Marseille, La Défense and Paris, or concerning buildings, such as hospitals, university campuses and schools. Furthermore, the CSTB is contributing to the upskilling of stakeholders so that they can use BIM autonomously. It offers training courses to facilitate knowledge sharing and the operational application of BIM to the widest audience. In 2017, four new training courses were offered at the Oscar Niemeyer Facility, an interactive virtual simulation space opened by the CSTB in Paris, in September 2017. It enables stakeholders to better project themselves into a new environment while benefiting from a collaborative work environment.

“Because digital innovation is accelerating, the CSTB is also continuing its R&D on BIM, in connection with emerging technologies,” says Souheil Soubra. These include the digitization of local areas. The acquisition of 3D images using drones, combined with automated semantic enabling in BIM, is a key challenge in the process of building a digital platform for the existing building stock and facilitating the initial investment of stakeholders in BIM. Another line of R&D explored by the CSTB concerns a broader combination of BIM tools with calculation and simulation programs. The aim is to use BIM as a project assessment tool and then as an optimization tool, taking a systemic approach. Finally, the CSTB is seeking to explore BIM’s potential in the area of artificial intelligence. It is developing solutions, currently in the prototype phase, to automatically check the regulatory compliance of projects. According to Souheil Soubra, this is an “essential tool for guaranteeing the quality of projects, while supporting the freedom to innovate with confidence.”

Digital model of the Belvédère development project of EPA Bordeaux-Euratlantique