BESIX Engineering, the group's in-house design office, is constantly embracing new technologies to improve the quality of its work, and in particular the design process for BESIX clients' projects. These technologies include parametric design and Building Information Management.
BESIX Engineering is a pioneer in computational design. This is the case with parametric design, which uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to improve design quality, reduce the risk of error, test more design alternatives and engage in ever more complex projects.
Building Information Management (BIM)
In the 2000s, BESIX Engineering was a pioneer in BIM. In the design phase, the BIM approach consists of creating a 3D digital model of a project before building it.
This allows to detect errors, optimise the project, estimate quantities and costs, prepare planning and methods. In 2017, BESIX was the second construction company in Europe to be certified BIM level 2 and in 2020, it was certified ISO 19650, the first global standard for BIM. BESIX has also frequently won the top prizes at the Benelux BIM Awards.
BESIX's expertise is recognised through the various positions as academic lecturers in Belgian universities, as chairman of the board of the Belgian Building Research Institute and as a member of the board of the PropTech Lab community.
More info: BESIX Engineering
DIGITISING THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS
Digitalisation offers unprecedented solutions to improve the construction process, which has a direct and positive impact on BESIX clients. These contribute to improved construction management and control, cost and schedule compliance, and a reduction in the environmental footprint of construction sites.
BESIX uses centralised digital platforms that greatly improve the control and monitoring of projects on a daily basis. These are based on a smart connection between the various information available on site, including quantities, cost control, workforce performance and overall planning. This combined data, available in a single and easy-to-use platform, enables progress to be monitored in a timely manner, and problems to be detected and resolved almost instantaneously.
BIM is also used on site to manage the construction phase. In particular, BIM models enable to better prepare, assess and coordinates trades. BIM is also a dynamic collaboration platform where all stakeholders have access to the same model, which improves communication and information sharing.
Embracing Innovative Tools
BESIX uses a wide range of technologies for its construction sites. In addition to services developed internally by its teams, the group collaborates with various companies and start-ups from all over the world.
These technologies range from digital mapping for its renovation projects and the application of robotics to the use of the Internet of Things,
for example to monitor in real time the evolution of concrete maturity or to improve the human organisation and safety of a construction site.
BESIX is also one of the early adopters of Conneqtr, an initiative that brings together various players in the Belgian construction industry.
This initiative consists of digitising the processes linked to the administration of construction sites, particularly as regards the registration
of workers and the delivery of materials.
Reducing its Environmental Footprint
BESIX is committed to reducing the environmental footprint of its construction sites. Initiatives by the company include the world's largest solar installation on a building site, installed in collaboration with Enerwhere to supply electricity to the construction of the Dubai Uptown Tower.
In the Netherlands, BESIX is certified at level 5 of the CO2 Performance Ladder, an initiative which the company is promoting for expansion in other European states. This initiative encourages companies to structurally reduce CO2 within their activities, projects and value chain.
In the field of waste management, BESIX has participated in the creation of the Belgian platform Werflink, which consists of exchanging and selling surplus materials and construction waste. BESIX also uses various techniques to limit its construction waste as much as possible, in particular via the Last Planner System®.
SMART BUILDINGS & ASSET MANAGEMENT
BESIX offers its clients state-of-the-art solutions for the day-to-day and long-term management and maintenance of their assets. The group owes this to collaborations with external companies and to acquisitions of shareholdings in innovative companies
Neanex, in which BESIX has been a shareholder since 2019, offers a single, easy-to-use portal that provides access to all data and information relating to a building or infrastructure, from its design and construction to its daily use. For the asset owner, this is a revolutionary solution for long-term operation and preventive maintenance.
In addition to being a complete "As-Built" dossier, the Neanex portal can integrate state-of-the-art solutions such as real-time monitoring of the building or infrastructure, provided it is connected by sensors (IoT) and specific smart building applications (remote interaction).
More info: https://neanex.com
Since 2018, BESIX has been collaborating with Proximus, the Belgian ICT leader, in the field of Smart Buildings. These buildings integrate new technologies improving their performance, in particular comfort, sustainability, maintenance and hospitality.
In addition to assisting their tenants and owners to be more efficient and comfortable, smart buildings optimise energy consumption and simplify maintenance through remote inspection and by automatically detecting anomalies. All this is enabled by cutting-edge technologies such as digital twins, the Internet of Things, data science and artificial intelligence
The headquarters of the Dutch subsidiary of BESIX, in Dordrecht, is an example of a next-generation smart building that can be considered as a European reference in this field.
BESIX Stay: Unfold the city
With BESIX Stay, better known under its commercial brand A-STAY, BESIX is pushing the boundaries of innovation in the hospitality sector by acquiring a majority stake, co-creating and managing a new urban and young-minded player. A-STAY has notably achieved a world first with palm vein recognition for safe and easy access, for which the brand has also received VLAIO grants.
More info: A-Stay >> Unfold the city.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
BESIX collaborates with universities, institutions and research centres in the development of solutions, particularly those of environmental and technical relevance.
BESIX Clean Air
BESIX Clean Air is an innovation project making air-filtering panels with moss. These are aimed to locally reduce the fine dust concentrations and improve the overall air quality.
The panels were developed by BESIX employees in collaboration with BESIX Environment, and with the decisive help of Innoviris (Brussels agency for innovation), which subsidised the project, the University of Antwerp, the University of Liège and Achilles Design.
BESIX participates in several research projects. These include the creation of sustainable and recycled concretes with the University of Ghent and the Block Research Group of ETH Zurich, innovative concretes (such as the European Smartincs project for self-healing concretes, for which BESIX is 'Industrial Mentor') or the recycling of asphalt via BESIX Infra.
An example of this type of collaboration is the circular pedestrian bridge that BESIX is building for the A16 project in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The design was carried out by BESIX Engineering and the Block Research Group. It focuses on the principles of "strength through geometry", which means that no reinforcement is needed. For the construction, they designed a flexible formwork system, a textile made of recycled and natural fibres, which is easy and quick to assemble. The concrete itself is innovative. It is "green concrete", i.e. made from recycled concrete. Thanks to its structure, the bridge will use less material, thus reducing the addition of cement.
3D Green Concrete
3D2BGreen (2019-2022) is a research project on 3D printing of concrete, set up by Ghent University, BESIX, the start-up ResourceFull and the engineering company Witteveen+Bos. The research focuses on the development of sustainable concrete mixes suitable for printing units specifically for marine works.
The project is being developed under the aegis of SIM Flanders (Strategisch Initiatief Materialen) and is subsidised by the Flemish Region (VLAIO). It will improve knowledge about sustainable and cost-effective mixtures for 3D printing.