We wish we had a man (or woman!) on the ground in every part of the world we have users in. But while we’re still growing, power users who happily share their BIM Track experiences step up like Giacomo Bergonzoni, BIM Manager / R&D Coordinator at Open Project. Get to know Giacomo’s fascinating career so far, more about new brand Open Twin, and naturally, why he’s a #BIMTracker.
*We’ve updated our interview with some of Giacomo’s reflections on the situation regarding COVID-19 in Italy*
How is your team doing with COVID-19 in Italy?
I'm working from home like everybody else... one of our partners has coronavirus, but he is improving now. The AEC market is going down, the sites are closing, the projects postponed... it's not a great time for work but the most important thing is everyone's safety!
Smart working does not just mean working from home, but using all possible technologies for agile work that is focused on results and not on the hours spent in front of a screen, a paradigm shift that we are also implementing through the new Open Twin brand. The tools we use are both technical, such as BIM and cloud platforms that allow you to work synchronously on the same file, with an integrated chat to coordinate better; both method tools such as team management via Kanban Board and the SCRUM method.
We are taking advantage of this time to prepare for post-covid-19, to improve our workflows to become more and more digital and to bring the themes of industry 4.0 to construction as well, arriving at a construction site 4.0.
Stay safe ❤️.
Back to our regularly scheduled questions: What first got you into BIM?
During my second year of university (Università di Bologna), my tutor, Simone Garagnani [Scientific Director of BIM Foundation], mentioned this new Autodesk software called Revit. So my tutor suggested drawing in Revit instead of AutoCAD 3D. With Matteo Cominetti and other friends, we tried to test this new software, and we were so excited by this new tool that we decided to work always together with Revit for the next workshops... we also gave ourselves a name: Five Core. From this second year of university, we never stopped using it. Of course, it is simply a 3D modeling tool.
I started to properly understand what BIM is during my last year of university. I decided to study abroad for 6 months at CIMS lab [Carleton University’s Immersive Media Studio] with Stephen Fai [Director of CIMS]. At the time, it was very high-level research in BIM; all scan-to-BIM of the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, funded by the Canadian government.
The project involved scanning of churches and ancient buildings, as well as research in documents like engineering manuals, etc. from 1830. We studied all these ancient heritage buildings and created the models. We also created the BIM objects of these heritage architectural elements, then created a huge cloud library of all the typical elements of Canadian architecture online. So all Canadian architects can go into this library and download the Revit and IFC models with the typical families of windows and doors from the era.
I really started to understand what is BIM with all this additional, not necessarily model-based info. We tried to find rules to give the name of all the architectural elements that can actually be used. And we were dealing with point clouds inside Revit - this was in 2012. At the time, we couldn’t do it typically, but luckily there was a research plug-in.
After I completed my Master’s thesis [on a church design in Ottawa], I started working in an architectural / design engineering firm in Italy that specialized in Passivhaus timber buildings. Figuring out how to model timber buildings with XLAM in Revit was a meaty first employment challenge!
I then moved on to Open Project, where I’ve been ever since! More on my first project there below...
What’s your favorite part about your role at Open Project?
For me, I like working on new research projects, and this is something Open Project excels in (I’m also the coordinator of research at Open Project!). Every year, we define a given path for research, such as BIM for FM, BIM for VR, generative / computational design or HBIM. Every year is starting a new adventure / new problems / new stuff to work on.
Our research project for 2020 is trying to find a way to use the BIM model for the platform of FM and Property Management, as well as IOT and smart buildings. We’re trying to find a proper way to use this model and give it to the clients to use it beyond design and construction; really managing the building.
So for this reason, at the end of 2019 was born Open Twin. It stands for open innovation, because we want to work with other start-ups, systems integrator experts, and iOT experts.
What has been your most memorable project to date?
The Bvlgari factory was our pilot project for a technical design in BIM. There were a lot of problems to solve and the scale was large. Really proud of what we accomplished on this project.
Today we are working on a very interesting project; a big hotel in Florence. We have already designed one for the same hotel chain in Bologna, and we are working on a new one with 550 rooms.
I’m especially enjoying this project as the whole project team including structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing all have a high level of BIM maturity. We’re up to 500 BIM Track issues, except the issues automatically created by Navisworks clashes, so it’s very much a work in progress. The design is interesting also because we have a pool and a running track on the rooftop. We also did a virtual reality experience in Enscape and showed it to the mayor of Florence for buy-in. In short - we’re having fun with this project.
What was your first impression of BIM Track?
I thought it was a tool that was very good at doing one specialized thing, but at the top level.
The very first time, I actually thought BIM Track was more of a CDE. Then I discovered it was more for issue tracking. After I got over my initial disappointment (!), I realized how useful BIM Track is and how easy it is to use for issue tracking versus other tools.
It’s not difficult to explain to my colleague in the design team, and it’s a way to invite much less email. You automatically have a lot of analysis and reporting that was impossible to do with emails, too.
How do you explain BIM Track to those who have never heard of it before?
It’s a way to collaborate in a better way on a BIM project. With BIM Track, you can communicate the issues in a quick and tracked way. It’s not just for internal collaboration. We also use it to help engage our clients because you can set the confidentiality on the issues.
What gets you excited about the future of this industry?
How to find a way to collaborate with other industries, like manufacturing, property management, finance, real estate. We need to find a way to collaborate with all the actors of the industry, but also outside of it - like the tech industry that we can learn a lot from. I’m excited about the possibility of finding other ways to do stuff that we’ve been doing the same way in the construction industry for a long time.
If BIM Track was a drink, what would it be and why?
Lemon soda, because you can add it in all the cocktails and it makes it taste better.
BIM Manager / R&D Coordinator
at Open Project
I’ve snowboarded on a sand dune in Peru