Working In and With 3D Environments to Deliver Better Outcomes for Lomans’ Clients
Lomans are an end-to-end installation company in the Netherlands who work today on the smart buildings and sustainable installations of tomorrow. They have all construction specialities under one roof: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and smart buildings. Their market extends to all types of buildings and their focus is on the long, and therefore, sustainable term. Lomans are familiar with all phases of the installation process when it comes to construction projects – from the design phase to operations and maintenance keeping a clear vision on implementing sustainable, innovative, and creative solutions. With mechanical, electrical and plumbing specialists in one place, the team at Lomans have experience working on a range of projects extending from distribution locations and offices to residential accommodation.
Company growth and different ways of working
Lomans have approximately 400 employees with an estimated 250 colleagues working in the field on construction project sites. Over the last few years, the company has seen stronger growth with more and more projects being added to their portfolio. However, this expansion created some issues when it came to managing their day-to-day processes on projects. Bas Spaan, Data and Information Manager for Lomans, says: “With our company growth it soon became clear that there was no standardised approach to the way in which we implemented and used digital solutions on our projects. We have a number of different departments here at Lomans and many of them were working in entirely different ways.”
For Bas, managing project data and ensuring teams had access to the most up-to-date and accurate project information became challenging. “In some cases email became our single source of truth for the project teams at Lomans but this was not at always reliable nor sustainable.” At a minimum, Bas estimates that most of the project document was saved in at least two different locations – ranging from local network drives to different collaboration platforms and document sharing websites.
Lomans splits their company into customer teams who focus on the end-to-end project delivery processes. Working in this way means all project collaborators engage directly as one group – for example commercial, maintenance, engineering and bid teams, bring the overall construction process together smoothly. They work on a variety of big and small projects. “Our teams were collectively brought together in a deliberate move to focus more on the outcomes we deliver as opposed to the disciplines we belong to. However, this process showed us even more acutely that we needed better tools to support us to work more collaboratively and started our journey towards digitalisation,” affirms Bas.
Lomans were already using Revit, one of the design products in Autodesk’s AEC collection, for their 3D modelling and coordination. Bas found that Revit provided data rich models which provided vital project insights, but this important information was not always accessible to everyone on a project.
“With the exception of modellers, the wider team members were completely blind when it came to the insights they needed on our projects.”
—Bas Spaan, Data and Information Manager, Lomans
“So, we needed to find a way to better share important project data in a straightforward way that didn’t add too much time and complexity,” says Bas.
“Prior to implementing Autodesk’s Construction Cloud platform, Lomans worked with several manual processes. We had team members who printed off 3D drawings and worked in a 2D way using 3D information, which was clearly not the vision we wanted for the company,” says Bas. “The process was time consuming and lengthy and, team members couldn’t always be sure they had u accurate and up to date project information. Getting our hands on key project insight was more complex than simply looking at a drawing.”
Choosing the right solution
Over the last few years, Loman’s set out their 2030 future vision to focus on using cloud solutions for their construction project data to collaborate seamlessly internally and externally on projects. The team started using Autodesk Construction Cloud’s BIM 360 platform as their common data environment in 2019. “Our long-term plan has always been to align and use Autodesk Construction Cloud products so when Autodesk Build was launched, we knew that was the direction we wanted to travel in,” says Bas.
“We know that in the future we’ll be working differently with technology. Soon, the computer will be telling us the best way to work, not the other way round! We have realised that working in a cloud environment is a fundamental element to moving closer to this reality.”
—Bas Spaan, Data and Information Manager, Lomans
“Autodesk’s reputation in the market gives us the assurance we need that they are the right cloud software provider for us,” says Bas. “Seeing the capability of Autodesk’s cloud and the work they’re involved in when it comes to shaping the future of our industry, it was totally clear that this was the right company for us to work with.” For Lomans, other providers offered them an end point solution but not a solution that enabled collaboration between the design, construction, and operation phases of their projects.
Sprinting to standardisation
The team at Lomans began using Autodesk Build in early 2021. They started by rolling out the technology on a team-by-team basis. “We actually started with the least digitalised team at Lomans when it came to the rollout of Autodesk Build,” says Bas. Rather than implement the technology on all projects at once, Bas and the team introduced the technology by adopting a ‘sprint’ methodology. This allowed the team to get familiar using one particular digital workflow or process in depth at a time and then move on to the next process from there. “Rolling out the technology in this way helped to reduce disruption to our current projects and enabled us to learn from the cloud environment and from each other,” says Bas.
All new projects were implemented using Autodesk Build’s cloud environment. The first team to use the technology worked on small retail projects which were usually shorter in length than some of Lomans’s bigger projects. Bas reflects; “We could iteratively use the digital workflows and build our knowledge out bit by bit. We were also able to test some of the more complex workflows like markups and revisions on smaller projects and learn quite quickly about what did and didn’t work.”
Getting the basics right
By adopting this approach Bas and the team could quickly identify the best practices Lomans wanted to take forward. They started with getting the basics right with document management, then built on workflows like revisions, markups, checklists and issues management. “Using small steps and starting with the basics when it came to document management has meant that we’ve been provided with invaluable learning time,” says Bas.
The team at Lomans now use Autodesk Build for all new construction projects. Project data is structured in a standardised way which means any new team members joining an ongoing construction project know exactly where to go in their common data environment for the relevant information to get up to speed. Bas aims to be able to support construction teams use the permission sharing features when collaborating with external partners. This will remove the risk around data regulations and ensures the internal project team at Lomans can feel confident that the right people have access to the right information at the right time.
“We decided to use Autodesk Build for an annual process we carry out in our retail teams,” says Bas. “This involves emergency lighting checks for over 800 shops that we manage. Prior to implementing Autodesk Build, this was an entirely paper-based process which was not only time consuming but also risky, as important information could be lost during this process.”
Achieving the 2030 vision starts today
Looking to the future, Lomans plan to use more and more of the features and functionality that Autodesk Build offers including automating annual processes. Lomans are also investing in the optimal tools for their team when it comes to using Autodesk Build, which includes providing employees with laptops and smart devices. “The time our team has saved using the solution already has been immense,” says Bas. “Searching for documents is not only time consuming but also frustrating. The thinking that goes into this activity has also been removed,” reflects Bas. “Our teams can now focus on the value-added activities like making sure our projects are delivered to the best quality. We can also focus on more robust quality checks rather than wasting time on administrative tasks,” says Bas.
The vision for Lomans is that all projects will be live on Autodesk’s Construction Cloud and time will not be wasted searching for documents, looking for data or waiting for information to be provided. “For our team at Lomans, we’ve removed the need to search for documents on a project; they’ll be exactly where you need them to be,” states Bas.
For Bas, happy customers drive business growth so focusing on quality and implementing smarter ways of working will be invaluable for the team at Lomans. “Ultimately, our team’s expertise can be used to the best of their abilities. We can better support our customers to address their needs and solve their problems for improved outcomes,” says Bas.
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