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11 minutes of reading time (2139 words)

FullBIM at Groupe GA: a French "BIM success story" - with Rémi VISIÈRE

FullBIM at Groupe GA: a French "BIM success story" - with Rémi VISIÈRE

Hello Rémi, you are R&D and Innovation Director at Groupe GA, can you tell us about your professional background?

After joining the National School of Arts and Crafts in 2005 in Talence (33), I went to complete my training as a mechanical engineer in Spain in Zaragoza, where I obtained a double degree and where my professional career began. . In 2008, I joined an SME called IASOL, specialized in turnkey industrial photovoltaic installations. I am developing a PLM process for mechanical design and manufacturing for fixing these systems to the roof.

IASOL became Teulades Solar in 2009 and became part of the Spanish construction group PRAINSA. In 2010 we opened a subsidiary in France that I managed for 2 years, during which we had the chance to work on two large-scale solar projects: the Renault factories in Flins and Sandouville, each with nearly 12 MW installed on more than 20 ha… at the end of 2011, the adventure stops. PRAINSA goes bankrupt and we are forced to close.

I bounced back, and in a few weeks I found a position of mechanical designer at GA, which I joined in February 2012. Until 2014, I was responsible for setting up a PLM process for the design and manufacture of processing modules. group air. I am also responsible for the mechanical design of these devices within a multidisciplinary team, with which we are proficient in collaborative work.

June 2014, on the strength of this experience and the BIM skills developed internally on prefabricated products, I was asked to develop and implement the FullBIM by GA process. This is the start of the adventure.

Today, a team is in place, and I took over the R&D and Innovation Department within the group.


How did BIM make its foray into Groupe GA? Could you tell us about the projects carried out with BIM?

We came to BIM because this process first met our needs as manufacturers. As I said previously, we had PLM experience which has been carried over to our prefab products with the Tekla Structures tool since 2008.

This complete process today includes all trades from the design office to the site, including methods and our factories. The structural model then becomes a unique database that allows us to coordinate our production and schedule our sites, while controlling quantity, costs and deadlines.

With the advent of modeling and coordination tools, and realizing the value that an “As-Built” model has for a client who is going to live in his building, we asked ourselves the following question: “if we know how to manage our industrial products in this way, why not take a step forward and manage our buildings like our industrial products? ". We are in June 2014, and it is the beginning of the story. From then on, 6 months of testing were carried out on our head office, on the tools, the processes and the calibration of the whole to arrive at a concrete, agnostic and applicable BIM protocol. At the end of 2014 we were ready to start.

In 2015, three flagship projects were launched and made it possible to test the process on a full scale, each with a different team configuration:

  • Le THALES Campus Bordeaux, which we delivered this summer.
  • I complexed him Schneider Electric T-Pole in Grenoble, which we have just delivered.
  • The future headquarters of the CCMSA, Luminem, in Bobigny, which we will deliver next April.


The Thales campus is a “locomotive” project at Groupe GA, could you tell us a little more about this project and how BIM has served you in concrete terms?


The real estate complex built by GA in Bordeaux for the Thales Group accommodates some 60 employees over 000 m². Six office buildings are erected on the site, linked together by a common ground floor aiming to promote circulation and exchange. On the service side, an entire building includes the company restaurant, a business center, the works council, a concierge, a showroom and numerous meeting rooms. All of the site's technical equipment is grouped together in a separate building. A green parking lot has 2 spaces, including 500 spaces for two-wheelers. Ultra-modern and of high environmental quality, the campus is HQE® and BREEAM certified.

The project was carried out using the FullBIM® process, developed by GA. Many modeling solutions were used there. Trimble Connect was also deployed there as a collaborative platform for the project. The principle is to connect the different companies working on the project around a single compiled TCE model in IFC format. We therefore ensure the active collaboration of each of the stakeholders, who have up-to-date information on the project in real time. The compiled model then evolves until proofing in reality to return a complete DOE BIM to the THALES client, the basis of the operation of the building.

The principle of collaboration on this project was as follows:


15 companies collaborated on this project and no less than 215 models were compiled and it's just awesome, what was your strategy to make this collaboration a success?

The strategy for transforming the essay was simple: get to the point. We therefore chose IFC as the standard exchange format in the process and analyzed with each company what it was able to provide. We have therefore supported them so that each can deliver models with the data in the right place and a sufficient representation of their work. The goal is for everyone to be able to integrate these constraints into their process as transparently as possible, while keeping construction as a priority. Because having a nice model and no building doesn't help much ...

Each company had its work area on Trimble Connect, and the BIM Management team was tasked with keeping the compiled model up to date, ensuring the spatial consistency and data structure of each model, and switching back all the information in a "Master Model" so that everyone can work in context on a day-to-day basis.

Below is a diagram describing this now well-established process:


What solutions are used by business? And the collaborative platform?

The main solutions used in business modeling :

  • Structural work, Steel frame, Locksmith: Tekla Structures
  • Front: Rhino / Grasshopper
  • Exterior Joinery: Athena
  • Technical packages: Revit (HVAC / Plumbing / CFO-CFA), Autocad Electrical (CFO / CFA terminals), Autocad MEP (Sprinklers)
  • VRD: Covadis

The solutions used for collaboration and synthesis :

  • Collaboration / Coordination: Trimble Connect
  • Synthesis support: Tekla BimSight
  • Visualization / Communication: Navisworks


In all your projects you have chosen to use Tekla Structures as the main solution and it is not by chance, could you tell us why?

The digital shift within Omega, BE Gros Œuvre de GA, was taken in 2008. Tekla was quickly chosen. The objective was to improve the entire internal production process, in close collaboration with the Group's prefabrication factories, by gradually switching all projects to a Digital Model base. In a few months the test was transformed.

For modeling, all the standard components of the GA range could be integrated into a single library, ranging from a simple insert to the beam profile, including reinforcement frames, in order to precisely describe each of the construction processes at the within each of the modeled structures.

For the methods, each building modeled constitutes a complete database to feed the production process in the factory. The planning of each component is integrated (release dates, manufacture, delivery, factory allocation, etc.), and the link between BE and factory is direct. The opening of Tekla has indeed enabled the development of specific macros between the model and the production management tools, making the information unique and ensuring bidirectionality between the project teams and the companions in the workshop. The management of site equipment (shoring, crane tracks, etc.), the occupation of tools in the workshop and the programming of steel bending machines are under study and / or in the process of being deployed.

For the execution, Tekla, because of its openness and the quality of its IFC exports, allows maximum interoperability with other trades during the synthesis and the realization, by reaching a high level of maturity of BIM .


Industrialization and prefabrication are at the heart of the company's DNA, how does BIM help you in your approach?

Tekla's major interest was being able to control factory production directly from the information entered into the models during the design phase. In addition to being able to communicate the model with internal production monitoring tools, 3D provides quality visual support for the understanding of the tasks to be carried out in the workshop by the journeymen. Each of the edited plans includes a perspective visual of the component to be manufactured, and its digital counterpart that can be viewed on screen. Result: fewer errors and better control of the materials used


What is the impact of the digital model on the site and the progress of the work?

The use of the Digital Model had a significant impact on meeting deadlines and the quality of the works. The integration of the Works teams into the FullBIM® process made it possible to define a complete support protocol for the synthesis and production by the BIM Management team. In addition to targeting the information to be fed back as needed, the BIM teams have accelerated their decision-making by greatly reducing the risks of non-quality, especially in complex technical areas.

The contribution of 4D via Tekla led the participants to rethink their way of monitoring the progress of the project, by having the possibility of accessing relevant information in any circumstance. In other words, where we edited plans manually informed on the progress of the studies / execution, today the tool is able to do it for us in a much more visual way and in real time. . The possibility of filtering the visible elements according to the date is a real plus, because at a glance we can detect an anomaly in the supply and the realization of the works.


What about the operation phase? Do you use augmented reality in your projects?

The operation phase is still not very mature. Many requests are made to us without apparent consistency from one project to another. On the other hand, we are convinced that the value of BIM lies here: We design a building in a few months, we build it in a few months or years depending on its size, but above all we live there for several decades! So having a reliable operating data source as soon as the keys are handed over rather than a pile of paper that will languish in an archive room… that changes the game!

We therefore propose a packaged BIM DOE, based on the association of native models and extracted in IFC with a library of flat files, stored on Trimble Connect. This open support can therefore be used for the development of operating solutions.

Augmented reality comes to shake up the established order, and will allow tomorrow to navigate in a building, literally by "seeing through the walls" and by being able to interact with the virtual environment in context to access relevant data for the current operation. We are actively working on it, even going beyond the scope of BIM.


You are in charge of R&D and innovation at Groupe GA, what are your major areas of development in addition to BIM?

R&D and innovation today address a large number of subjects at GA. Constructive processes, products, services, processes… thanks to new technologies (IOT, BIM…) all lines are moving at a frantic pace and we need to be able to respond to very diverse and numerous issues, while keeping a clear vision. long term giving us a head start.

Some examples :

  • Functionalization of concrete in our processes. The products no longer only have a role of structure and facing, they become active in interior environments, integrate technology to provide service ...
  • Functionalization of facades. Deploy all the comfort systems on the facade to minimize network impacts in buildings, reduce storey heights and give maximum added value to zones in 1er day…
  • Services to the occupant.
  • [...]


What advice would you give to people working on projects from design to management?

Free your chakras, and believe in new technologies! They are not there to slow you down but to increase your productivity by focusing on the essentials.


One last word ?

BIM can be a real common thread for all trades related to construction. The future of our industry depends on its acceptance. So go for it!


Do you have any questions for Rémi? Ask them by commenting below!


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