Dec 04 2014

BIM expert joins CONJECT

Ulrich Hartmann

CONJECT’s new BIM expert

CONJECT’s commitment to providing software solutions that assist the whole asset lifecycle through BIM and soft landings is evidenced in the creation of new BIM Expert role for AEC industry expert and soon to be PhD – Ulrich Hartmann.

We are excited by the addition of a dedicated BIM specialist, and he will be a great help in designing and delivering a range of new BIM related capabilities throughout our application suite.  I met Ulrich just 7 days after he joined CONJECT to conduct this interview.


1. Welcome to CONJECT, Ulrich. You are our newest BIM Expert. Could you tell me a little bit about your background?

I studied Civil Engineering and Computer Science and developed a passion for linking Engineering and Computer Science disciplines, a passion I have been fortunate to be able to follow in my working life.  After both research and industry roles concerned with distributed digital building models and developing calculation and simulation software for engineers, I spent 14 years at the CAD company Nemetschek, where I developed BIM applications and CAD solutions.

More recently, I was the project lead in several university research projects at the Department of Building Lifecycle Management of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.  I was also a BIM consultant for European building companies (5Di) and The German Federal Administration, where I had a deeper look into both the practical and the conceptual sides of BIM.


2. What does BIM mean to you and why is it important?

Up to now, the computer has been used mainly as a (2D) digital drawing board.  However, engineers actually think in models.  With BIM it is the first time that the model as a whole exists in a digital format not just in the minds of the engineers and architects.

It is no longer necessary to re-assemble model information in one’s mind from plans and drawings.  Models are more than just 3D graphics, they can hold information from the many disciplines participating in a built asset’s lifecycle.

BIM is a collection of methodologies and technologies – it is about modelling and management.  Both interpretations of the “M” in BIM are valid.  It is about workflow and working more closely together across disciplines, departments and company boundaries.  A digital model is the enabling factor at the centre of collaborative work.  It removes redundant work, reduces inconsistencies between teams and increases efficiencies.  Model-based simulations can help in finding optimal solutions and avoid problems formerly found only during operation.

When deployed effectively, a BIM strategy should also provide a significantly more useful information for equipping an owner operator with the detailed information they need to use, maintain and update an asset.

BIM without process management is sometimes called “Lonely BIM”, because it happens in the closed environment of one single software vendor (e.g. CAD system).  Collaborative BIM goes beyond this, it links participants together in a comprehensible fashion, giving them the information in the format they need, cross-discipline, cross-company, and cross-lifecycle phases.


3. What is your view of the status of BIM in the UK and beyond?

I am very pleased that the UK government has pushed BIM forward not only in words but in deeds with directives and standards like PAS 1192 and Soft Landings.  This has helped make the transition between academia and science to industry a reality.  As we have seen this view is spreading across the European Community and beyond.  This can help to give European industry a competitive advantage exporting their expertise around the world.  Increasingly the message is – if you don’t do BIM you will be left behind.


4. What is your vision for BIM at CONJECT?

Collaborative work on a common model must be coordinated by a sound process management environment.  CONJECT has a long successful history in workflow management in construction and facility management.  This gives CONJECT an advantage as we continue to deliver new capabilities against our BIM strategy.  I see this as a move from document-orientated workflow management to model-orientated workflow management, or if you prefer information orientated workflow management.  Many disciplines are involved during the entire asset lifecycle.  The intention of BIM is for them to work together seamlessly.  CONJECT will be their model and information backbone, operating as a central consistent source of information.  This brings all the additional data, information and visualisation benefits of BIM models to design, construction, commissioning and asset management workflows.


5. What BIM developments can we expect to see from CONJECT in the near future?

I expect to see a holistic approach to BIM development, this is more than just improving a viewer or adding clash detection.  The CONJECT BIM solution will encompass all users and stakeholders across the different phases of an asset’s lifecycle.  This will widen the scope of BIM workflow and will integrate process and data as early as possible.


6. How do you see BIM fitting into and supporting the wider goals of infrastructure lifecycle and managing the built environment?

BIM is the route to soft landings for asset owners/ users, and can therefore have an impact on all aspects of the built environment from urban administration to urban planning, and sustainability of buildings and infrastructure assets.  For example, assessing and managing the distribution of energy or waste heat across an urban area can only be managed with approaches and technologies developing from BIM.  Initiatives like energy producing buildings that are already being implemented in some cities in Europe will benefit greatly from the information that can be supplied through BIM methodologies. We will see a closer integration of neighbouring disciplines including urban planning but also construction site robotics based on digital models and process management in the not so distant future.

About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

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