The huge challenges of a traditional sector
Young he might seem, but appearances might fool you. As an Engineer Architect (VUB/ULB) he rapidly made ranks within the Besix group as Manager Digital Developments and BIM, now venturing out to become a key player within the Neanex company, to head the consultancy division.
The huge challenges of a traditional sector
“The construction sector needs to rethink its business model. Margins are shrinking, complexity is increasing, which automatically points in the direction of automation. That is a fascinating development, pointing in the way of data, the complex world of BIM (Building Information modelling) and AI. I want to be part of that.”
He reflects on the pros and cons of belonging to a powerful and well-known group versus the adventure of the new, but hardly hides his excitement.
“Within BESIX, I felt that it was time to change, to move away from traditional project management and data management. Neanex offers me a challenging environment, with inspiring people, where I can fully dedicate my time to exploit the data management of the future. I am convinced that we‘ve only seen the top of the iceberg. There are too many possibilities ahead of us. Artificial Intelligence being one of them, alongside data visualization and analytics, predictive modelling and what else.
We need to better understand the nature of complex building processes via data and not only via expertise alone. This will allow us to build in another way, to manage in different ways and to be more efficient in the future. “
Generating passion and result through people
The main reasons he finds himself within Neanex management is the fact that data and data management are becoming increasingly important, and he wants to be part of that evolution. but secondly comes his take on collaboration and human dynamics.
“If you know the people you are going to work with, and you like their energy, you are capable of achieving great things together. `
I’ve learned that from my time spend on an important BESIX project in Egypt. It was the first time that I had to coordinate a team of that size. The team was simply too big to fall back on my normal working method. I like to be in control of things, with a group of over 80 that is virtually impossible. You have to focus your attention towards making the team work and achieve things. It was an interesting exercise for me, and it makes you grow as a person. I know the other people of the management team of Neanex and they inspire me. I trust them and I feel positively motivated to achieve growth within this company. I am firm believer in the chemistry between people on the same team, it creates passion. This passion is essential for growth and innovation.
I feel confident enough to know that within Neanex I’ll be meeting a whole range of different people, ranging from the BIM specialist over the client or a subcontractor. I’ll need to convince them all of the added value of our solution and our way of thinking and developing. Some might call this evangelization, I call it good sense and making added value visible.”
Making efficiencies visible
In the end it's all about risks (often measured in costs) and opportunities. In the construction sector there’s a tendency to think that this particular project is a one-of-a-kind project.
“I am convinced that we can apply some form of standardization, this will allow us to have uniform data records which will allow us to identify trends. Everyone will benefit from that kind of thinking. The construction sector is traditionally rather conservative, because the risks are high. You need to understand and respect that. What we strive to do is making efficiencies visible.
Of course, once you’ve avoided an extra cost, because you choose a different solution, the cost in itself isn’t quantifiable anymore. That is the big and obvious problem. We need meticulous attention and well based choices in terms of data, data structures and how to manage them.
We need to evolve towards a system where all parties involved can benefit from all necessary data without overloading the system with unnecessary data nobody uses.”
Transforming data into information
The future will belong to those who master the information, who can transform data into information and knowledge. It’s not about resources only, it’s about smart solutions in building technology and maintenance. The overall project information supersedes the individual needs, without ignoring them but instead opening up for all those who need them.
“A BIM allows for modelling, for previsions and evaluation in the long term. You always have to start from the technical need and how you are going to solve it. That leads to new ways of thinking and tackling problems, and ultimately to refreshing insights.
Avoiding the things, you thought were necessary based on a better understanding of reliable data. Is there anything more beautiful than that?
Since my studies I’ve been fascinated by data and the extraction of knowledge you can get out of them. I’ve added to that dimension a passion to achieve results with people. I am a firm believer in teamwork and making things simpler, not more complex. With every new step in your career, you combine experience and insights with the ideas of new people. That alone accounts for growth. That is also what I stand out to do for Neanex.”