Lomans drives its digitisation further with Autodesk Build

Lomans has continued to standardise its processes through BIM, creating better visibility and understanding of project expectations, and saving time chasing documents and data.  

Lomans is a leading installation company in the Netherlands with expertise in smart buildings. Providing sustainable, end-to-end installations means they have teams for every construction specialty, and are responsible for every phase from design through to operations and maintenance.  

They take on a wide range of clients – with projects including retail, offices, housing, healthcare facilities and schools – offering a tailor-made solution for each one. 

A vision for 2030 

As Lomans has grown in recent years, data and information manager Bas Spaan has focused on standardising the company’s ways of working. With so many teams and such varied projects, standard company-wide processes have become vital to streamlining work and making communication more efficient and effective.  

Lomans’ teams had been using email to share project information, but it just wasn’t up to the task of keeping everyone on the same page. Documents were duplicated across various drives and platforms, leaving room for miscommunication. 

The company adopted a 2030 future vision, aiming to move all their construction project data to the cloud, enabling smoother collaboration across teams, partners and clients. 

First steps into the cloud 

To start making Lomans 2030 future vision a reality, Bas introduced Autodesk Build to the teams. This meant that every Lomans project would live in the cloud as an accurate 3D model accessible to everyone in the office or on site.   

To smooth the transition to Build, Bas introduced it gradually. He began by piloting the software on small retail projects with shorter timelines than some of Lomans’ other work.  

Bas explains the advantages of starting on a smaller scale: “We could iteratively use the digital workflows and build our knowledge out bit by bit. We were also able to test some of the more complex workflows like markups and revisions on smaller projects and learn quite quickly about what works best across the team.” 

Gaining time and confidence 

No longer relying on 2D documents, the Lomans teams began saving time they previously would have spent locating information, seeking clarifications or addressing miscommunications. 

This extra time translated into more opportunity to use their skills and expertise. As Bas explains: “Our teams can now focus on the value-adding activities like making sure our projects are delivered to the best quality.” 

External communications have become more effective as well. Build’s permissions-sharing features let Lomans steer clear of data regulation risks when collaborating with external partners, while gaining confidence that everyone involved has access to the latest project information. 

“A very big step that looks very small”  

Since his careful implementation of Autodesk Build across the company, Bas has also been strategic in introducing more of the software’s capabilities.  

Once all of Lomans projects were on Build, and all the teams were comfortable using it, the next step was to implement a standard folder structure for all projects. As a part of this transition, no data would live on the old folder server anymore – everything was moving to Autodesk Construction Cloud. 

“Last year,we made a very big step that looks very small,” says Bas. “Every project team committed to one folder structure for all the phases of every project, from tender through to maintenance.  

“And whether it’s a 2D project or 3D, it doesn’t matter.  Everyone knows which documents are available in each phase. And that is really a big start because now every single project always starts in ACC. It is our common data environment.” 

With a single, company-wide folder structure, Lomans’ teams have gained new clarity and efficiency in their approach. They’re saving time on the admin side of setting up projects and don’t need to get up to speed as they move between projects. Every team member knows from the start where to find and share data, and they can immediately get an understanding of project expectations.  

Managing the change 

For all its digitisation, the Lomans’ approach to work is always human-centred. So Bas adjusted the implementation process to people’s needs, acknowledging that even positive change can be a challenging and sometimes emotional experience for professionals who understandably feel attached to their own ways of working. 

“At first, everyone was really looking from their own silo,” recalls Bas. “Saying ‘I do electrical or mechanical or smart building or safety, and I want my information in one place.’ And then we’d discuss the benefits of having our information centralised – for example, for financial reporting – and agree it was very useful.” 

As when he first introduced Build, Bas used pilot projects to roll out the new folder structure. A workgroup oversaw the process, which took about six months. Overcoming initial resistance sometimes required patience and empathy. 

Bas explains: “We know you can have some setbacks in the process. Because if you want everyone to work the same way, you’ll walk into micro processes that someone does a different way. And they need to change that – to have that one single source of truth.  

When people were finding it difficult, I’d take a moment and let them be. At the time, they were getting used to it, but now they ask, ‘Bas, the next project, we’re not doing from the folder server – it’s from Autodesk Construction Cloud, right?’ They’re convinced alright, and can see the possibilities ahead.” 

Connecting with customers 

As Lomans continues to get more out of Build for its teams, Autodesk has supported them in bringing customers along on the journey.  

Autodesk delivered project admin and user management APIs on Autodesk Construction Cloud, which has allowed Bas to connect some of Lomans’ largest customers, including major optical retailer Pearle. Lomans’ monthly active users (MAUs) more than tripled in 2022, while projects on the platform grew from 29 in January 2022 to 201 in January 2023. 

Next steps 

To support Lomans’ projects moving entirely into the cloud, in line with its 2030 vision, Bas has a few next steps mapped out. A colleague is already looking at moving checklists into the Autodesk Construction Cloud environment instead of the current tool that generates PDFs.  

Bas is also interested in executive dashboards so the quality manager can look at data on an organisational level. And he’s gathering a group within the business to brainstorm about using the Correspondence tool for storing emails.  

Working better 

In the meantime, the teams at Lomans are reaping the rewards of their digital transformation to date.  Edo van Somerenan, Head of Electrical Installations for construction sites at Lomans, has been eager to move his work into the cloud, and has inspired his colleagues to embrace change. He often shares favourite examples of the ways Autodesk Build has made his work easier: 

Verification 

Previously, if there was a problem on site, Edo would have to walk back to his office, open his laptop, do a VPN connection, go to the folder structure and look through PDFs to find the drawing. Now, he just brings his phone or tablet.  “I have it all in my pocket,” he explains.  

Updates

Before moving to the Autodesk Construction Cloud environment, if there were new drawings, Edo would need to drive back to the office or have someone bring them to him from the office. But now they’re with him instantaneously. “I have new drawings directly. It’s so time-saving,” he adds. 

Issues 

In the past, Edo would’ve listed issues in a notebook as he walked around the construction site. He’d return to the office, contact his colleagues about a millimetre here and a millimetre there. But with no central place to manage issues, he didn’t have visibility into their work. “At the end of a project, all the things that we missed would come straight back in our faces,” he remembers. 

Now, Edo uses Autodesk Build to log an issue and gets confirmation when it’s done. “Now we have a system where I can manage all the issues on the construction site and never forget a thing. That is so fantastic. I never, never want to do it another way again.” 

Revisions 

When there’s a revision made on site that wasn’t on the drawing, those changes are available instantly. The modeller has direct visibility into what has changed and can make a note to the project leader, explaining how costs may be impacted.  People communicate through the platform rather than ringing each other or using various messaging platforms. Edo explains: “This way, the silos disappear, and everyone knows where the information is.” 

BIM has empowered Lomans’ teams to work seamlessly across trades and projects.  And it has saved everyone precious time, keeping them focused on their work instead of tangled in admin. “Previously it could easily take me two hours to verify project data and gauge the health of my construction projects,” Edo explains, “But now with Autodesk Construction Cloud, I have this visibility instantly – from anywhere.” 

Erik Bank