Interview: Fernando Blanco, head of BIM and 3D Simulation group at ACCIONA


1.- Is BIM a business opportunity to ACCIONA?

BIM is certainly a business opportunity to improve quality productivity in our projects. It is an essential tool that allows us to enter new markets and adapts us to an anglophone way of working. Come to think of it, BIM is not only a business opportunity, but a necessity in gathering international business.

2.- Competitiveness and Internationalization of services are some of ACCIONA´s qualities. Does BIM implementation at ACCIONA help reinforce these qualities?

Our values, among others, are excellence and innovation, so BIM does indeed reinforce both. Also, to keep being copetitive in this industry, we should adapt to the new market requirements, which in this case are about BIM in the international markets.

3.- Local or International BIM projects, which ones are more profitable?

We don’t have a clear estimate on the degree of BIM implementation by country, but we can attest to the rise in productivity when BIM is implemented on mature markets. BIM also functions off-site and acts as a collaborative environment between the different project shareholders. Standards, Planning, and Procurement mechanisms adapted to BIM, facilitate the ROI of each project.

4.- What are the Pro´s and Con´s of having worked in BIM?

As a contractor, the main benefit in using BIM on projects is the transparency and control over the project. The main obstacle tends to be the resistance to change in each organization. At an industry level, the absence of a BIM related national initiative can keep us further away from the rest of our neighboring countries.

5.-ACCIONA works in projects with many different companies. Which ones would you say are best adapted to BIM? Is there an example of collaboration?

Our common main collaborators are engineering offices and subcontractors. On the other hand, the most interest in BIM comes from public and private clients. One of the best recent collaborations that we´ve had is with the Swedish Transport Administration (Traffikverket)

6.- Does ACCIONA work with manufacturer BIM files on its projects? Do you think manufacturers are competitive with their BIM catalogues?

Recently we´ve started seeing manufacturer catalogues pop-up. Until now, we´ve really found it hard to find manufacturers that had their product catalogue adapted in BIM. This is why we are not working with manufacturer-specific BIM products. Our generic objects are created directly by our site team or our engineering departments, wich means a greater workload. We see this as a transitional time where industry maturity in BIM is starting to happen.

7.- Do you think that with the recent passing of the European Public Procurement Directive, in which technological means are favored for public works, BIM will get widely used by the different actors in the construction industry?

We this this is really positive and were are keeping a close eye on it. I know there are certain governments and companies that want to promote BIM this way. In my opinion, I would prefer to be cautious, since there is no direct mention of BIM in the directive. One could see this as the seed for a possible European BIM recommendation, but it is actually just a declaration of intent.

8.- If you had to predict how the work environment will be in the next 5 years, what advice would you give to students, professionals, and construction industry companies?

I would entice construction industry companies to have a global vision of BIM: BIM is all about processes, and new market niches are being created everyday with relatively low competition. BIMETICA is a clear example of this. To construction industry professionals, I would tell them to look for ways to standout, to search for real experiences, and to be flexible in the use of BIM tools. To students, beside the same advice to professionals, would be that they ask for the inclusion of BIM methodology into their universities program; the same as other universities all over the world are doing.

9.- Lastly, do you think the role of the BuildingSMART Spanish Chapter will give an important push for BIM in Spain?

BuildingSMART is possibly the most important association, at an international level, in promoting BIM. It counsels government and companies in defining their road-map, requisites, and criteria for BIM implementation. BuildingSMART is also responsible for the IFC format. The BuildingSMART Spanish Chapter is a nonprofit organization where all construction industry agents are represented. I believe it is keystone for the definition of a national strategy, because of its capacity and independent nature. Because of this, and other motives, ACCIONA has collaborated and promoted the association since its beginning in 2011.



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