Case Study: Creating a Digital Platform for Offsite Construction

Changes are happening. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is gaining momentum and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is becoming the new norm. The design process has changed dramatically and as a result we now have a structured data model of the entire building that includes all the components needed for fabrication. The task of integrating prefabricated systems into a construction project is becoming increasingly a “digital” management proposition. But how to harness the full potential of new technologies and deliver projects more efficiently?

This was the question asked by many Estonian offsite construction companies. By the way, Estonia is the most successful exporter of wooden houses in Europe and according to Eurostat, only six European countries – Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Italy – produce more wooden houses than Estonia.

The Challenge

Off-site construction companies have the upper hand when it comes to digitization. Due to vertical integration they can avoid the pitfalls inherent in the fragmented construction industry. Having control over the entire supply chain opens up the possibility for integrating processes and data flows in one system. This is the challenge we accepted and set out to develop a digital platform to manage the end-to-end process of design, manufacturing and installation of prefabricated buildings.

What we usually see in construction companies is a very scattered landscape of software solutions without a clear process or integration between them. Single-point solutions are a great way to solve specific tasks but if you apply this approach to every process then you quickly lose transparency and cannot track overall project progress or material flow without extensive manual work.

Industrialization of the construction process requires a high level of automation which is nearly impossible to achieve with a heterogeneous software landscape with limited integration possibilities. Our goal was to create a true single source of truth that would connect design with execution.

Integrating BIM with ERP

Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) software is often used in manufacturing companies. However, most ERP systems don’t fully support the project centric construction business and have no way of integrating collaborative BIM software.

In our view the key to overcoming the challenges of digitizing off-site construction is putting BIM at the heart of all business processes. The evolution of BIM and ERP technologies has reached the point where it’s now possible to integrate the two without any additional middleware.

Starting with collaborative BIM-based design we wanted to link the BIM model data with all business processes needed for project execution. The BIM model contains the layout, mark number, size, volume and the bill of material items for each piece. BIM provides the quantities of raw materials, ERP figures out the costs and plans the production based on the time it takes to produce each subassembly and construction element. ERP manages the production and delivery process, inventory, project invoicing, and all financial reporting for the project and the company.

Best of Both Worlds

To solve the problem, we did not want to reinvent the wheel and develop everything from the ground up. We wanted to leverage existing technologies that are scalable, have a proven track record and a visionary future roadmap.

In our case we integrated two industry leading technologies – Autodesk BIM 360 and SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management. The result is a unique platform (www.intelsys.build) that brings together the best of both worlds – state of the art BIM technology from Autodesk and rock-solid business processes from SAP. The preconfigured solution for off-site construction companies can be implemented in weeks either in public or private cloud.

BIM models can be used to visualize all business processes throughout the entire building lifecycle, from cost estimation to project scheduling, purchasing of materials and services, manufacturing, invoicing and cost controlling. Having real-time business data available in BIM context supports decision-making and improves project delivery.

Changing the Mindset

When it comes to digitizing the off-site construction business then you have to start thinking bigger. You should not focus only on the quick-wins and low hanging fruits but instead look at long-term goals and leverage the vertical integration of off-site construction. It’s no longer just about what specific pain-point this or that app can solve – it’s a question of strategy and choosing the right digital platform for future growth and innovation.

Navigating the digital future: The disruption of capital projects

How to reduce construction project cost by as much as 45%? By applying digital solutions comprehensively and efficiently! According to McKinsey this will produce more improvement for the construction industry than any other lever.

Their recently published article “Navigating the digital future: The disruption of capital projects” outlines practical steps on how to plan for digital transformation and gives tips for maintaining momentum. A must-read for all decision makers at a construction company!

Companies that are slow to digitize, or that lack a bold, well-structured transformation plan, will lose ground

BIM Basic Information Delivery Manual

A great 2-page graphical guide for delivering BIM information. It’s actually quite simple. Kudos to Dutch construction companies for putting together the Basic Information Delivery Manual. Download the full PDF here.

INTELSYS.build an Autodesk Success Story

INTELSYS.build integrates the best of 2 worlds to provide an end-to-end solution for the construction industry – SAP S/4HANA and Autodesk BIM 360. The latter is based on Autodesk cloud technology called Forge and INTELSYS.build is featured as a Community Success Story in the Autodesk Forge website.

INTELSYS develops advanced software solutions for SAP clients in EC&O (engineering, construction, and operations) through BIM and SAP integrations. Committed to helping companies implement leaner, more efficient digital approaches, they created the Forge-powered cloud solution INTELSYS.build.

Check out the Forge website for more details.

MIPIM UK here we come!

INTELSYS.build has been pre-selected as one of the 9 proptech startups pitching at MIPIM UK this week in London. If you are in UK from 18-19 October then head down to Olympia to discover and experience the most innovative solutions that are evolving in the real estate industry.

The MIPIM Startup Competition 2018 – the London Stop, in partnership with MetaProp NYC, seeks out the most promising and innovative startups tackling the biggest urban challenges worldwide. Stopping by New York and Hong Kong, the StartUp Competition will be at MIPIM UK, where a local jury will select 1 finalist per category to go through to the Finals at MIPIM 2018 in Cannes.

Introducing INTELSYS.build

INTELSYS.build is an end-to-end cloud solution for Engineering, Construction and Operations (EC&O) companies integrating ERP with BIM. Our project centric solution enables you to manage all of your business processes related to design, prefabrication, construction and operations in one single system. By combining BIM data directly with business processes (ERP) we provide an unprecedented level of integration for construction companies.

INTELSYS has spent several years developing and prototyping integrations between BIM and ERP. Producing solutions like Revit for SAPNavisworks for SAPFacility Management BIM for SAP and Project Management BIM for SAP. Over this time INTELSYS has built up the knowledge and experience to provide construction companies like SWISS PROPERTY an end-to-end digital solution to run their business more efficiently.

Now we have put all of our efforts into one unified cloud solution called INTELSYS.build. Our goal is to become the leading company in the world offering integrated ERP and BIM solutions for the construction industry.

Construction Industry at the Verge of Disruption

There is no doubt that the construction industry is ripe for disruption. You can read more about it in reports by McKinsey and the World Economic Forum. The digital revolution has swept over almost all other industries but construction in general has been left dry on the shore. In many ways construction companies are stuck in the 90s in terms of digitization. With INTELSYS.build we aim to bring them to the forefront of the 21st century by providing an ERP system that puts BIM at the core of business processes.

Although our solution is quite unique we are not in the business of re-inventing the wheel. We collaborate closely with SAP and Autodesk to deliver future-proof solutions based on industry standard platforms.

INTELSYS.build can be used in the cloud as a service or deployed on-premise. Learn more about it on our SOLUTION page.

If you are looking to take advantage of the true benefits offered by BIM and ERP then there is no reason to wait! You can reach out to us via the form below or call us directly at +372 608 0701.

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White Paper – How to integrate BIM with business processes?

The digital transformation in the construction industry is causing a paradigm shift. Building information modelling (BIM) and integrated data systems are the key technologies driving the transformation. This white paper explains how engineering, construction and operations companies can harness the full potential of these technologies by combining BIM with business processes (ERP). We hope this paper will make it easier to understand and communicate the benefits of having BIM at the heart of your construction business.

To download the white paper please fill out the form below:

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Autodesk’s Digital Manifesto for the Construction Industry

Take a look at Autodesk’s vision for the future of the AEC industry, and how trends in technology are poised to deliver a profitable, resilient and agile industry, and a better built environment. It’s a 28 page PDF report with lots of visuals and graphics. It’s easy to read and does not go into too many technical details. I definitely recommend this to anybody who is thinking about the future of the construction business.

We partner with Autodesk because we share their vision and with solutions like INTELSYS.build we are helping to transform this vision into reality. That is why we chose Autodesk Forge as the platform for BIM integration with SAP.

Autodesk Forge is a connected developer cloud platform comprised of web services, technical resources, and an engaged community. Forge operates in a common data environment and leverages Autodesk’s 35 years of industry expertise, technology, and global network, enabling companies to get started quickly and focus on developing customized and scalable solutions to solve design, engineering, and manufacturing challenges.

Katerra innovating construction with SAP S/4HANA

Check out this video how Katerra is innovating in the US construction industry with SAP S/4HANA.

As a vertically integrated organization located in the US, Katerra innovates in all aspects of architecture & construction, including design, building, renewable energy, and supply chain. Using SAP S/4HANA to support their end-to-end business processes, Katerra is creating a new business model that is designed to revolutionize their industry.

Although they actually build houses they define themselves more as a “technology company” optimizing the development, design, and construction of building.

Grace Liu, VP of IT at Katerra, also took part in the SAP S/4HANA Customer Panel at SAPPHIRE this year. There she explains the business model in more detail and why S/4HANA was the perfect fit for end-to-end process integration. You can check out the video recording on SAP-s website.

In Europe Katerra is not alone. The same business model and principles are applied by SWISS PROPERTY, a total property life-cycle group changing the way real estate is developed, built and managed in Switzerland by adapting automotive principles in prefab production, digitalisation and lean methodology in all stages. It should be no surprise that they are our clients and also using SAP S/4HANA. In fact, SWISS PROPERTY was the first company in the world to go live with the SAP S/4 HANA Enterprise Management solution.

INTELSYS.build uses SAP S/4HANA as the core platform for running business processes. This means that INTELSYS.build users have the same platform and technological capability as Katerra and SWISS PROPERTY. But now we take it a step further by seamlessly integrating BIM with SAP application thanks to Autodesk Forge technology.

EU BIM handbook published

The EU BIM taskgroup has recently published the “Handbook for the introduction of Building Information Modelling by the European Public Sector“. A very good overview of how the EU public sector plans to use BIM for the delivery and operation of assets. A must-read for any construction company making money with public tenders. I especially like the attitude represented in this publication:

Digitalisation of the construction sector represents a once in a generation opportunity to tackle these structural challenges by taking advantage of the general availability of best practices from other industrial sectors and of engineering methods and tools, digital workflows and technology skills to shift to a higher level of performance – and to become a digital construction sector.

There is no doubt that the construction industry is changing. And it is all happening faster then you might think!