Analysis

Q&A: Marco Bonelli, Vinci Construction – leading a digital transformation

29 July 2020 | By Denise Chevin

Vinci Construction has just launched a new company initiative ‘Digital by Desire’ persuading teams to harness new technology by convincing them what they’re missing. Denise Chevin asked Marco Bonelli, lead digital engineer at Vinci Construction UK, headquartered in Watford, to reveal more about the new strategy.

Briefly describe the digital transformation you are undertaking at Vinci – what does it entail?

We’ve just launched an initiative called Digital by Desire, with the aim of bringing about digital transformation through cultural change across the company. We see this as a different approach, which we’ve been developing for the last six months.

Like other construction companies we’ve introduced new technologies over the last few years, but these have not always been embraced on site. We’ve learnt that providing the most advanced tools to our project managers will not resolve the problem of digitalisation of our industry. Therefore, we launched the idea of Digital by Desire, based on people, process and technology. The digital transformation needs to start from the project teams to be able to use it efficiently within the standard workflow.

What is your strategy for roll out?

We’ve divided the programme into two phases. The first is up to 2022 and the second up to 2025. While with the first part we are aiming to make Digital Engineering “business as usual”, allowing all project team to have access to training, use standard process, use new technologies and improve efficiency.

The 2025 target is to make Vinci a market lead in digital transformation. In the first wave we want all of our senior people across design, planning, commercial and construction teams to have been trained in the use of innovative technologies to change our current standard process (from design to construction and handover). The aim is to have 60% of the 400-strong workforce in these areas trained in the first wave.  

We’ve been recruiting new digital specialists and will have bolstered our central team by six by December. Our philosophy is that we don’t want the design manager to be divorced from the BIM manager and we have been implementing advanced training schemes for our 30 design management roles.

We’re doing this one this whilst in parallel piloting specific technologies across 15 projects.

How is it working?

Getting people on board was quite hard to begin with.  We targeted projects where there were forward thinking project managers and go them to trial new technologies. Then we have reported on the benefits they have been achieving, which has sparked interest more broadly.

The achieved benefits are in terms of improved operational efficiency, improved project and model coordination that lead to an improved constructability Now our project teams are starting to demand the use of new technologies.

Another incentive has been that we’ve paid for the roll out of new technology from the centre, it does not have to come out of individual project budgets.

What are the technologies you’ve found beneficial?

We started to adopt BIMcollab, on 10 of our live projects, to improve the design coordination, Dalux on seven live projects to improve the site coordination with the support of augmented reality.

Dalux is used to bring the 3D model on mobile tool allowing the construction team to use it during construction phase. Using the tool, we are able to measure, check installation, mark installation status direct on 3D model using colour schemes, verify Asset Information Model installation to make sure the built asset is matching the digital model. Transforming the 3D model to a central point of our construction activities is a key element of our strategy.

We’ve been using 360 camera data capture to record our sites, using AI we are able to record the construction progress in an interactive plan, with the possibility to view the site progress in time-lapse and the team can “visit” the site remotely. All the above technologies will be developed as full adoption in 2021 for all our live projects.