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Vinci UK’s building division unveils new digital engineering strategy

26 February 2021

Vinci Construction UK’s building division will unveil a new digital strategy on 1 March that will see digital engineering and 3D modelling used routinely on all projects above £10m, regardless of whether or not the client has specified its use.

Lead digital engineer Marco Bonelli (pictured above) told BIM+: “It’s a step towards improving our digitalisation throughout the whole company. The board has agreed that digital is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’.”

By the end of 2021, Vinci Construction's building division expects 70% of its projects to be harnessing these digital engineering and 3D modelling to improve planning and productivity. The new strategy is also targeting savings in the use of BIM consultants through the bolstering of the building division's in-house expertise and enhancement of staff training. In preparation, the building division has recently doubled its BIM team from five to 10.

In addition, the adoption of a cutting-edge artificial intelligence system that can remotely monitor construction progress on site and track this against the as-designed BIM model is yet another major plank of the building divisions’s new plan.

The system, designed by San Francisco-based start-up OpenSpace, uses a standard 360-degree camera attached to a site operative’s hardhat that records images as they walk the site carrying out their duties.

The unveiling of the digital roll-out is the latest milestone in Vinci’s ‘Digital by Desire’ initiative started last year (https://www.bimplus.co.uk/analysis/q-marco-bonelli-vinci-construction-leading-digit), which aims to make it the leader in digital transformation by 2025. The premise of this initiative has been to encourage digital take up by demonstrating benefits.

There are four key aspects to the strategy:

  • Putting in place training to improve digital awareness
  • Projects divided into three digital scenarios at tender stage
  • Use of 3D models for all UK building projects
  • Use of digital technologies – like OpenSpace – to improve project delivery

Bonelli says that the level of digitisation on projects will vary depending on whether the client has asked for a digital asset at handover stage. “All projects in the Building Division over £10m will be assigned to the correct digital scenario at tender stage, so we’ll be able to plan the right delivery required for each project.”

Projects below £10m, which are mainly refurbishments, amounting to around 5%-10% of the workload, will not be digitised. There are currently about 25 live projects in the Building Division.

Vinci intends to work closely with its supply chain to ensure improvement in project delivery. All consultants and contractors will be required to use 3D models.

The next stage is to routinely harness 4D planning tools to visualise projects at the construction planning and delivery stages.