Digitalization is changing the construction market in Poland and optimizing the activities of companies in all sectors of the economy. The exchange of experience and good practices in this field is shared by the members of the BIM Association, which integrates experts, scientists and entrepreneurs from various fields. According to Przemysław Janiszewski, President of the Slovak company of Colas, one of the largest road construction groups in the world, the BIM Association plays a very important role not only in connecting partners and popularizing digitalization, but also in changing the way of thinking.
– BIM is associated with information systems in the construction industry. Can it be extended to other areas as well?
– Of course, because BIM (Building Information Management) is a strategic change in the management of information and communication throughout the life cycle from design through to completion, but not only of a construction project. It originates in this sector, but it also applies to other sectors. It is related to the need to create a modern IT infrastructure and digital environment that accelerates and optimizes all activities in companies. It leads to transparency of information between each party involved in a given investment or production process. Moreover, it is not only technology, but a change in the way of thinking, mentality and comprehensive approach to the process by all its participants. Managers managing large organizations are aware of how important this is because of the benefits in doing business.
– The BIM Association intends to coordinate between business partners?
– Absolutely. The initiative to establish the BIM Association was motivated by the common goal of building a digital network of mutual relations, integrating people, technology and business. The strength of this organization is its open character, thanks to which players competing every day on the market can sit down together, exchange knowledge and experience, and work out the best solutions for all partners while maintaining the principles of synergy. This is fundamental not only for the development of the construction sector. Change of mentality, attitude and such cooperation is necessary in every field. The BIM Association is becoming a leader of change in this field, so I strongly support these activities also as a member of this organization. The greatest experience in the use of BIM systems has so far been in the construction industry, which is why it was originally the BIM Association for the Polish construction industry. Its name and the nature of its activities have changed since this year. In the new business reality and in the face of pandemic events, digital transformation has become a necessity in all areas, so the Association has adapted to these new challenges.
– What is your experience of using BIM methodology in the construction industry?
– I have been using BIM technology in my business for a long time, as I have been involved in the construction industry for 20 years. I worked for the international construction company Skanska for 15 years. Then in Siemens, then I spent several years in one of the largest Polish engineering and construction companies, Polimex- Mostostal S.A., and today I manage a Slovakian company of the Colas concern. It is one of the largest construction groups in the world. During these 20 years, I have been responsible for many different projects implemented in the BIM system. I have been involved in many projects in various industries. I have built the largest motorways and motorways in Poland, large energy projects, but I have also done volume buildings, residential buildings, industrial projects, and I was even responsible in Siemens for the area of railway automation and intelligent transport systems.
As for my international experience with BIM in the construction industry, when I worked at Skanska, I had the opportunity to work with my colleagues in England. There, designing and executing investments in this methodology was mandatory. All beneficiaries and participants in the construction process saw how these investments were created and could exchange information. This applied to each stage: from conception through design, execution, maintenance and operation of the built facility to its demolition.
– However, not everyone wants to design and build in this way. Why?
– I think that with time, most designers and investors will become convinced to this method. It is much easier to implement investments in the BIM technology, because many problems and mistakes are avoided, e.g. the need to redesign buildings due to inconsistencies in the design documentation. Thanks to integrated IT systems everything is precisely agreed between the participants of the construction process. Investments are realised faster in comparison to the traditional construction process. Digital solutions also translate into concrete financial savings, more efficient management, as well as improved communication and collaboration between process participants. The benefits of digital transformation in construction will be widely disseminated by the BIM Association also through the training system. I hope that many people will benefit from this. To remain competitive, you have to use the solutions that are most optimal from a process and business point of view.
– Is this the way to the successes of the Colas Slovakia company you manage?
– In our operations, we make very intensive use of digital solutions in the design, preparation and execution of line investments. We commonly use integrated IT systems in this process. Our work requires this at all stages. We also use drones to analyse the effects of ongoing investments in the field. Colas is a large company that specialises primarily in road construction. We carry out many investments. Recently, Colas bought 11 asphalt plants from Skanska, where I worked for so many years. The annual revenues of my company in Slovakia in recent years have averaged EUR 70-80 million, but it is important to note that we are growing very strongly in many countries. One of the regions where our company operates is Central Europe. We are present here in 7 countries in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and Croatia. Road construction needs are still very high, as the motorway and expressway network between the largest cities is still not complete. In addition, there are also lower class roads at the level of individual regions. We will start realising most of these investments also in Poland after releasing funds from the new EU budget for the years 2021-2027. I hope that in many investments in this part of Europe we will manage to use BIM.
Przemysław Janiszewski interviewed by Jolanta Czudak