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BIMlink likes to be in discussion with customers, suppliers and experts in the construction industry. This is why BIMlink’s Thomas Sandfort chaired an edition of the BIMPraat sessions of the National BIM Platform last year. He discussed the role of BIM in the transfer of the BIM management model to clients and building owners.

The BIMPraat sessions of the National BIM Platform are monthly knowledge sessions about BIM related to a relevant development in the construction industry. The meetings are informal, interactive and educational and are always chaired by an expert. At the time, founder Ed den Boer of the National BIM Platform wrote an article about this session and the content of this article is still very relevant.


BIMPraat sheds light on BIM in building management

The theme of this BIMPraat session was how a well-integrated BIM management model can support building owners with achieving significant savings in building management. For an extended period of time, like 20 to 40 years. The participants in last week’s BIMPraat talked about this topic and the case of the Mall of the Netherlands was used as central example. When finished, this shopping mall will the largest in the Netherlands and in the discussion convincingly proved that even after completion, BIM will be very valuable in the management phase.

By Ed den Boer

BIM has been implemented in the design and implementation phase of many buildings. For years, advisors and contractors have been working together to generate the correct data from models to construct buildings quickly and correctly and so preventing failure costs. In the Mall of the Netherlands project, BIM is used for all data in the design and construction phase and all parties are anticipating on the using BIM in the management phase. Mall of the Netherlands is the complete renovation, expansion and rebuilding of the current mall Leidsenhage in Leidschendam. Work is currently underway on the construction of this new shopping center.

Operations manager Jasper Buijnsters from building owner Unibail Rodamco Westfield and BIM consultant Thomas Sandfort from software supplier BIMlink clarified how the process has been structured. All parties are clearly enthusiastic and have achieved numerous successes. Also all required data for the building management in this beautiful but difficult project is being applied during the construction.

Long-term development

As operations manager at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), Jasper Buijnsters is responsible for the development and construction of the Mall of the Netherlands. “Unibail is an international real estate developer with a portfolio of more than 100 large shopping centers in the United States and fourteen European countries, including Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, France and the Netherlands. Our focus is creating a new shopping experience by building high-quality mall where customers come for a day out and for shopping. The Mall of the Netherlands will provide that under one roof.”

The audience at the BIMPraat wondered if the location of Mall of the Netherlands, the trend of increased online shopping online and (as a result) more growing vacancies [leegstand] in retail are threatening for the success of this new mega project. Buijnsters: “The development of Mall of the Netherlands took more than ten years. Finding the right location, making plans, buying out existing businesses and focusing on the ultimate goal with the highest quality is a process of years. We believe in this concept. The economy is changing and we are changing along with this concept for which the market is increasingly ready.”


The ingredients for Mall of the Netherlands’ success are the 117,000 (!) square meters of retail space, 280 top-quality stores, restaurants and (leisure) stores, 4,000 free parking spaces and a large cinema with ten halls. The Fresh! (fresh produce) and dining experience are integrated in the plan together with the experience of art. The planning for the grand opening is mid-2020. The plan is to open in phases, since the current shopping center will still be in use during construction. Buijnsters proudly showed the photos of the Fresh the first part of Mall of the Netherlands that opened on November 29.

Active role of client

Buijnsters realizes that success of the mall requires an active role as client. “To make Mall of the Netherlands successful, we constantly conduct research and use the latest technological possibilities. This applies to all phases of the construction process, from development up to and including the building management. We are already working to set that up properly. ”

Complex tender and construction process

Thomas Sandfort is involved at the Mall of the Netherlands as an assistant project manager from BIMlink. “In the traditional building process, you started building management after the key was handed over. A firm handshake and the words “good luck with your building” were the end point of this construction. Many owners and managers were then left with many question marks”, says Sandfort. With this, he made a statement. At Mall of the Netherlands, BIMlink is responsible for the entire data process during the design, construction phase and is already setting up the management phase. Grip on the data with a good BIM protocol and work plan according to one (online) source file and uniform data format is accessed via BIMlink.

At Mall of the Netherlands, present buildings are combined with new. Old buildings are completely stripped, including the cladding. A new facade blends the present and new stores, and the existing shops remain open during construction. The current shopping center will soon be completely covered and for this, all street tiles will be replaced by a marble floor to create the desired luxurious appearance.

Sandfort explained how complex data management is during this BIMPraat. “The entire plan is subdivided into 13 building parts, each with 32 packages/aspect models, all of which are tendered separately. Quick calculations show that there will be 416 aspect models that will all add data to the BIM. So that has to be arranged very tightly managed”, says Sandfort.

Building management

The complexity and data management of the project are clear. But to use BIM in building management optimally, clients must set the right requirements for the model early in the process, both speakers agree. “Only then can you receive a workable BIM model upon completion to create a complete and effective building file”, says Sandfort.

“In building management there are various processes that require data. Consider multi-year maintenance (technical) planning, facility management, compliance, rental of spaces and lock and key plans. All these processes must be provided with geometry, properties and documentation and these must be linked to one source file. For building management, everyone must be able to rely on the latest information and that users can only change information that is necessary for the management process. The BIM model as Management Information Model therefore consist of both the BIM model for design and implementation and specific management information. In the future, sensor data on issues such as numbers of visitors, temperature, climate and energy consumption can be added to that information.”

Unlocking management information

“We know where we want to go”, said Sandfort. “From that vision, we develop the ideal model for clients. But we are not there yet. There are different types of users, all with their own software for their own processes. BIMlink reveals this information in an easily accessible way and tailored to specific users. User rights can be determined in BIMlink so customers can determine which employees can view, edit, download and/or add information.”

Online building file

To create property management, information is stored in the central BIMlink online database. The data source is the truth and data from various software is linked as objects in a relational database. That is made possible through ETL or an API. Spaces are determined in a 3D model and information about square meters, floor, number and description can be read in BIMlink. For management, data from departments, tenants and contacts is linked and users can run reports and for facility management, schedules and budget can be linked.


Visitors to Mall of the Netherlands will be monitored online, the speakers at the BIMPraat explained. They will get the choice in the diversity of functions (hospitality, entertainment, shopping) on ​​the interactive map that will be extracted from BIMlink. Visitors can also search for specific stores or choose from a group of stores (food, sports, home decoration). All information is ‘live’ and can be adjusted from the rental department. Also, when tenants move or expand their stores or with the arrival of a new entrepreneur, this is immediately visible in the floor plans and maps for visitors.


Unibail Rodamco Westfield strives for the highest quality shopping experience and this requires the Mall of the Netherlands to be in top condition every day. That is why it decided to use BIM for the management of the building, archiving of certificates and storing of other building information for the shopping center.

The goal is to always have up-to-date (constructive) information about the buildings available, which will result in lower costs for renovations. But also, that up-to-date, and thus cost-saving, information about numbers and building elements from the BIM management model is available to be managed. That information is easy to provide to facility companies like cleaning and maintenance partners. Furthermore, that information is immediately accessible, which is relevant to safety in the shopping center.

The Mall of the Netherlands will soon have large numbers of visitors and also has specific peak times (Easter, Christmas, Sinterklaas, Black Friday etc.) The mall has a diversity of functions (hospitality, entertainment, shopping) and there are a growing number of events taking place in and around the building.

Due to the function of the building, there are greater risks of (terrorist) threats and therefor the highest possible (safety) standards are required to enjoy the ultimate shopping experience without worry.


Read the original article on The National BIM Platform


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