On 27 May, EFESME and SBS organised the annual edition of the SBS Lift Forum, this year dedicated to BIM - Building Information Modelling and the impact it is already having and will have in the near future on SMEs, of course with particular attention to lift SMEs that EFESME represents and supports. This methodology, which can be defined as revolutionary, will affect the construction sector and parallel sectors, and will bring about important changes in the lift sector, both in production and in maintenance and sales.
Once again organised digitally due to the current situation, the Forum saw three thematic sessions focused on specific aspects of BIM: what it is and how it has developed; what impact it will have on SMEs in the lift sector; how European standardisation on the subject is evolving and what to expect.
The idea behind the forum, in fact, was to give a first introduction to BIM from different points of view, also in order to understand its complexity.
This aspect, as well as the importance of BIM for SMEs and the need to be on top of this crucial issue, was the leitmotif of the introductory speeches by EFESME President, Massimo Bezzi, and SBS Director, Maitane Olabarria Uzquiano. Both placed particular emphasis on the importance of providing the necessary information to SMEs so that they can thrive using this innovative technology.
The first session was dedicated to BIM per se, in order to give the participants, almost all SMEs in the lift sector, but also journalists from specialist publications, a first detailed introduction to what BIM is, how it has developed and why.
This session first featured Maria Grazia Marchi and her colleague Mattia Longhi, with years long experience on BIM, who opened the technical part of the event by explaining how building design has evolved from the drafting machine to BIM, why this has happened and what opportunities it will open up in the future for all workers involved in a BIM project. Of particular interest was also the digital aspect on which BIM is based, which can be both a potential for evolution and a problem for SMEs approaching the subject. Nevertheless, Marchi and Longhi's speech was encouraging towards SMEs, which have the tools to get the best out of this revolutionary methodology.
An introduction to BIM - Building Information Modeling
Next, Dimitri Daniaud, the SBS expert on BIM participating in the CEN-CENELEC TC 442 dedicated to this technology, explained in more detail what is happening in the construction sector regarding BIM and standardisation.
The construction sector is parallel and interconnected with the lift sector, so it is crucial for SMEs working in the latter to know how the situation is evolving and what new developments and changes to expect in the near future.
BIM in the construction sector : what's going on?
Both presentations, as well as the speeches of the three speakers, gave a lot of interesting food for thought and work, which will allow EFESME, its members and the experts involved to have a solid base from which to start to become more and more interested in BIM, and to see how they can support and help lift SMEs to embrace this new methodology without running into difficulties and problems.
The second session, the more practically technical one, focused on BIM in the lift sector. EFESME and SBS experts Caresani and Cogliati, both already involved at European level in standardisation activities regarding platforms, digitalisation and Smart Lifts, explained to the audience and participants how BIM is evolving and expanding within the lift sector, what changes it is bringing and what this means for a lift SME. The two experts approached the topic from both a theoretical and a practical point of view, illustrating both where and how it is possible to find information for lift products that are already part of an online BIM library, with all their characteristics; and, this being fundamental for SMEs, how lift projects will change, what level of information is needed and how. This information is highly crucial for lift SMEs to have a solid first basis for starting working with BIM.
Caresani and Cogliati also identified a number of opportunities and risks for SMEs using BIM, emphasising a key point: the BIM methodology is here to stay, and SMEs need to start now to understand how to approach and make the most of it.
This session finally ended with a short speech by Marchi to give more practical suggestions on how an SME can approach BIM, what steps to follow and what aspects to consider first to make sure they are ready for the challenge.
State of the art and future challenges for the lift sector
Finally, the third and last session focused exclusively on European standardisation. Thanks to the intervention of Paul Surin, IBM expert very active within CEN TC442 and with a considerable experience in BIM, construction and the digital world, it was possible to better understand why it is necessary to digitise construction processes, how this should be happening in a standardised way, what CEN-CENELEC is doing in this regards, and what are the advantages that such a project will bring in the near future to the actors involved, especially SMEs.
Why manufacturers need to digitize and structure their data
This last focus on standardisation is particularly interesting for both SBS and EFESME, as they are already actively and directly involved in European and international standardisation, on BIM as on many other topics: just as SBS experts are already present in the working groups that matter for BIM in the construction sector, it is equally desirable that the two associations deepen these activities to involve also the parallel lift sector.