"We are currently going through a steep learning curve"
Current BIM projects are primarily about gaining experience and thus laying the groundwork for future projects, says Stefan Rüegg, Timbatec project manager (pictured).
Mr Rüegg, where does timber construction stand today in terms of digitalisation? Timber construction clearly plays a pioneering role in the industry. Digital models are indispensable for the modular and prefabricated construction method that wood brings with it and have therefore been firmly established for almost two decades. Now it is a question of taking this digitalisation in planning to the next level by means of BIM.
What experience have you already gained in this regard? In the last year and a half, we have realised several exciting and forward-looking timber construction projects together with Implenia, in which BIM has played a central role. For the Krokodil in the new Lokstadt district of Winterthur, for example, a building data model was set up on which all the specialist planners worked together for the first time. A digital model was also used in parallel to conventional planning for the sue&til development, including for cost planning and construction site set-up.
Why is BIM mostly used only in sub-areas and not across entire projects? BIM is just taking off and we are currently going through a steep learning curve. At the moment, the main focus is on gaining experience, defining processes and identifying potential for improvement. By using traditional and digital planning methods simultaneously, we can work out the advantages of the new way of working and thus lay the foundation for future projects.
What do you see as the biggest hurdles in the use of BIM? Today, the BIM organisation is usually on the side of the architects. In our view, however, there is a need for a superordinate, specialised body for BIM planning and project organisation. On the one hand, it should not pursue its own interests, and on the other hand, it should know all the interfaces precisely and bring together all the specialist areas.
How can Implenia drive digitalisation in timber construction? Implenia is one of the few players in the industry with a clear commitment to BIM and thus to digitalisation in construction. In doing so, Implenia is also getting the individual specialist planners, such as ourselves, on board by demanding that they use BIM, but also supporting them in doing so. Combined with the training of relevant experts, Implenia can clearly advance digitalisation in construction in Switzerland - and is already doing so.
How do you see the future of BIM in timber construction? I am convinced that BIM will continue to gain acceptance. The method ultimately brings benefits to everyone involved - the building owners, planners and all trades. Among other things, it enables efficient coordination of all interfaces and ensures simple data exchange. In addition, problems that could occur during construction can be identified on the model at a very early stage. The bottom line is that quality can be increased and time and costs saved at the same time.