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Construction Companies: VolkerWessels

BIM with SketchUp - VolkerWessels User Case

Many people think SketchUp Pro is not fit for BIM use, but is this true? Stijn van Schaijk, BIM Process manager at Stam + De Koning Bouw bv (Part of VolkerWessels), has been a SketchUp user for many years and is actively promoting the inclusion of SketchUp Pro within the BIM workflow. Within Stam + De Koning Bouw bv, SketchUp Pro is being used in several ways:

  • Making models for analysis of buildings to determine quantities and construction methods;
  • Making construction site models to communicate with VolkerWessels Equipment Service and to manage daily progress on the construction site.

OpenBIM at VolkerWessels and Stam + De Koning

Stijn van Schaijk: “At VolkerWessels we are very much oriented towards OpenBIM. In all building projects, we work with OpenBIM file formats. SketchUp Pro is one of the tools that we use to generate OpenBIM models. Besides that we use may other tools, such as Revit and Tekla.

For all of those tools, we are seeing that it is very much a specialist's job to create a model and that the threshold for creating 3D content is very high. With SketchUp Pro, this threshold is taken away. So the first step towards 3D is usually SketchUp.

The only thing we run into is that it is quite easy to create 3D Content but very little information can be attached to it. When working with BIM, this information can sometimes be more important than the geometry itself. For example when working with a tower crane, we make a simplified, practical model and put the actual type of crane in the attached information."


Praktische bouwobjecten


Currently, the standard IFC export from SketchUp Pro does not suffice. Because there is a strong desire to connect all their information, Jan Brouwer has developed the IFC Manager for SketchUp Pro, commissioned by VolkerWessels and free for anyone. With this tool the desired information can be easily attached to objects. This allows for flexibility between the different tools.

“Model something in SketchUp, export it to IFC and the cost calculator uses this to determine quantities in Vico or Solibri. This makes the information in the model reuseable in all phases of a project and something that doesn't need to be thought out over and over again by everyone involved. This means that the output needs to be consistent, or else you will be overtaken by events all of the time. And that is the power of BIM, and the reason we have had this plugin developed for SketchUp." says Van Schaijk. "By using speed modelling, utilizing good software and good libraries, we can make models for analysis in no time. These models are then used as a base for decision making.”


Point Cloud voor omgevingsmodel


Quickly evaluate and calculate scenarios through a streamlined workflow

In the plan, preparation and development phases, Stam + De Koning are using SketchUp Pro a lot. For example in the redevelopment of Strijp S in Eindhoven: “first we set up the environment model in SketchUp Pro. Here we have all buildings drawn in, both existing and planned. we combine the information and models that are supplied by the various parties. We use the model to communicate with all parties involved, such as clients and municipalities. We then draw a tower and then use the SketchUp plugin Enscape to have the client explore and evaluate the tower in Virtual Reality. We can then quickly switch between different options, such as the number of floors that the building will have. In a traditional process you would spend weeks working on getting everyone on the same page, now it can be visualized directly with an environmental analysis, shadow study, etc.

Once we have determined the mass of the tower, we will develop the building further into components that are important for our calculation. These are still very primitive models that are reused per floor, but that have all the basic ILS properties such as the correct classification, NL-SFB code and material. This way you can quickly set up a building model and export it as an IFC. The IFC export can then be opened in Solibri to determine the quantities of the building. Because all data is correctly classified, the export of quantity statements from Solibri to Excel is still valid. As a final step, we then execute our macros in Excel to calculate the price. Where this normally took a few weeks, we can now calculate this directly in the session with the client."


Bouwplaatsmodel 3D


Trimble Connect for better construction site management

When construction kicks off, it is important to have a good model of the construction site. For saving, sharing and managing various construction sites, Stam + De Koning enthusiastically uses Trimble Connect and SketchUp Pro. The practical construction site models usually contain very simple objects, that once again contain just the right information so that the equipment department can see which components are needed. If the components are then delivered, even the doorman at the crew wagon knows where they are supposed to go. They've drawn all components in SketchUp Pro and each day they update the model, saying where everything should go. Everyone on the building site can log in with their iPad on Trimble Connect and see where the required material is supposed to be.

"The contractor can open the SketchUp model every so many days, change the location of the components and provide notes about what happened. Thus, everybody knows the status, what equipment is needed and where the equipment should be placed. For example, this construction site is updated dynamically almost daily. This is quite a step up from the A3 that used to be in the crew wagon back in the days, where it was drawn with pencil and erased the next day. Now everyone can log in and see what the status is, using SketchUp Pro and Trimble Connect."


Uitvoerder met Tablet


"Currently, SketchUp is still a small part of our workflow, but its influence is increasing every day because it is so accessible. A lot of what Trimble does, connects with our vision. Other software developers do a lot of awesome stuff too, but it is often all just a bit more closed.", Van Schaijk concludes.


About Stam + De Koning bv

Stam + De Koning is a construction company that mainly operates in the region of Eindhoven. With over 120 people they develop and realise various projects in the fields of living, working and transformation, since 1987. Their clients include municipalities, corporations, health care and various other clients. The projects are usually demanding, complex and are extensive, requiring processes where it comes down to innovative thinking and the organization’s talent.


About Stijn van Schaijk

Stijn van Schaijk (LinkedIN) is BIM Process Manager at Stam + De Koning Bouw bv, an operating company of VolkerWessels. Stijn has a master's degree in Construction Management and Engineering at TU Eindhoven since 2016. After completing his Master's degree he started working at Stam + De Koning. Since his studies, he has already gained work experience as a BIM consultant at BASED BIM and as construction engineer at Hendriks Bouw en Ontwikkeling.

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