BIM – Value enhancement through digitization in the construction industry
Construction (still) booming – the INDUS portfolio companies in the Construction/Infrastructure segment, which are active in various areas of the construction industry, are also experiencing this. Despite the ongoing Corona crisis, sales continue to rise and new orders are generated. At INDUS, we naturally ask ourselves how we can continue to support and safeguard this positive development in the future. Technological trends such as digitalization or Industry 4.0 are not immediately associated with the more traditional construction industry. In particular, medium-sized companies often lack the know-how and resources to drive technological adaptations quickly and efficiently. Here, as a holding company, we have the opportunity to get involved and drive digitization through our development bank and our network of experts, and to shape the future.
One exciting topic that the INDUS portfolio companies are currently focusing on is a digital working method that is currently on everyone’s lips – Building Information Modeling – or BIM for short. Especially in larger construction projects, numerous trades are involved, so that information losses due to complex interfaces are often unavoidable. This is exactly where the BIM method comes in – in the process of building data modeling, a central, digital 3D model is built up with all relevant building data. The model is set up in the initial planning phase and used by clients, architects, engineers, construction companies and tradesmen in the respective performance phases and supplemented with relevant information, e.g. performance parameters of the building materials used, as well as execution details. The cooperation of all parties involved can thus be optimized considerably. In addition, potential sources of error can be identified in good time and the construction project can be constantly reviewed in terms of design, time, material, logistics and cost planning and adjusted at an early stage if necessary. Last but not least, the resulting digital twin helps in the utilization phase of a structure with questions that arise, e.g., regarding conversion options, renovation, etc.
ancotech AG from Dielsdorf in Switzerland, a company specializing in reinforcement and anchoring technology, also relies on digital planning. As early as 2000, ancotech invested in the digitalization of its work processes and developed software for punching and shear design, which is constantly being further developed by a team of several people. With the “engineering platform”, ancotech can offer its customers a software solution specially tailored to customer needs. The INDUS development bank supported a project to further develop this software so that a cloud-based solution is available that can also be integrated into BIM models. Reinforcement planning can thus be accelerated significantly.
BETOMAX systems GmbH & Co. KG, also specialized in durable solutions for steel construction, has been working with special design software for a long time (for its COMAX® backbend connections as well as the innovative punching shear reinforcement CLIXS®). The Neuss-based company provides planners with its software solution free of charge. A connection to BIM models is in preparation to fully meet future market requirements.
In addition to the reinforcement specialists of the INDUS Group, SCHUSTER Klima Lüftung GmbH & Co. KG is also dealing with the BIM topic. SCHUSTER is one of the leading southern Bavarian companies in the field of air conditioning and ventilation technology. The Augsburg-based company implements ventilation projects for shopping centers, schools, and industrial and administrative buildings, among others. Digital planning is essential for such large-scale projects. SCHUSTER has therefore been creating its ventilation projects as 3D plans for several years now. The 3D models are drawn in C.A.T.S. software, a CAD application specialized among other things in ventilation systems. AutoCAD/BricsCAD is used as the basic software. The software used by SCHUSTER is already BIM-compatible – so all the relevant information of the components can be imported into C.A.T.S. and used, for example, for an automatic pressure loss calculation. Subsequently, the comprehensive technical planning including calculations can be exported to any BIM platform.
The INDUS portfolio companies in the Construction/Infrastructure segment have long recognized the importance of BIM, so new competencies are being built up, existing software is being reworked, and interfaces are being created. Even though BIM is still in its infancy in Germany, the ongoing construction boom and the willingness of the companies involved to break new ground and drive innovation promise a successful future for the construction industry. This is also demonstrated by the INDUS portfolio companies – with an EBIT margin of 18% (Q3 2020), the Construction/Infrastructure segment is more successful than ever. Therefore, we look forward to a confident future and many more innovation projects.
With kind regards,
Yours Dr. Jörn Großmann
Dr. Jörn Großmann
Dr. Jörn Großmann studied materials science and obtained his doctorate as Dr. rer. nat, MBA. He has been a member of the Board of Management of INDUS Holding AG since January 2019 and is responsible for the division Technology & Innovation.