Ed. Züblin - iTWO

Case Study

One of the pilot customers for the new software generation of RIB: Ed. Züblin AG.
At Züblin, 5D means that all processes are mapped with just one single IT environment. Collaboration of the various applications is essential. All photos and animations courtesy of Ed. Züblin AG

New 5D Software Solution for Project and Corporate Quality Improvements

Full integration of all systems used in construction projects enhances the transparency of construction processes, whether design, tendering, estimating, or cost management and scheduling . With the launch of its new generation of software in February , the RIB Group aims to link all parties working on a joint project, from investors and clients through to architects, engineers, cost and quantity surveying organisations to the construction and engineering companies and subcontractors.

This challenge has been embraced by an international software development team on two continents. The company’s past investment focus on the development of new products has led to the setup of a team of 150 Research & Development staff in Guangzhou China . This team provides comprehensive support for the 80 software engineers at RIB’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany for realising the new generation of RIB products.

Practical input for practical application

When RIB launched RIB CSuite software in the nineties, which is now used as standard by nearly all of Germany’s top construction companies. RIB customers provided a significant amount of support in the functional requirements and enhancements to the software. This is an essential aspect for Dipl. Eng. Konstantinos Kessoudis, Manager of the 5D department of Central Control at Ed. Züblin AG, a company of the STRABAG Group and one of the pilot customers for this new product generation, which, according to Kessoudis, will radically change the construction industry. “The construction industry can only derive direct benefit from a new solution if it is integrated into the realisation of this software system,” he comments.

Simplifying the complex

But what does ideal software for process and cost management look like? One thing is clear: Operation should be as intuitive as possible. Software with a particularly ergonomic user interface was a wish voiced by all companies that RIB had involved in the realisation of the new product generation. For this reason, the software is developed on the basis of the Microsoft NET platform. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, RIB has oriented itself to Microsoft standards for several years already, thus enabling particularly easy operation for the user. After all, most companies are accustomed to using Microsoft interfaces in their everyday business. To meet the requirements RIB employed a specialist application organisation specifically for the design of the user interface.

The digital construction site

Whether commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, houses, roads, bridges, industrial buildings or processing plants, construction projects are usually unique and, moreover, the information and consistency required is becoming demanding. It is important to eliminate the risk of unpleasant surprises in the project process from the very beginning. This is something that is underlined by Konstantinos Kessoudis too, as he sees a special opportunity for optimised and consistent processes and the avoidance of errors and misunderstandings not only within the construction company itself but also in the communication with construction team. The consequence: considerable time savings and optimised business process will lead to Cost savings for construction projects. “

This will lead to better communication more transparently to minimise any points of contention that can lead to disputes . “To achieve this, we need new software solutions,” says the engineer. iTWO from RIB makes it possible to simulate construction progress, so that component clashes, for example, can be avoided right from the start. Design data are directly entered in the software, where they can be further used for tendering, estimating though to package management, contract award, billing and cost management l.

5D: All processes integrated in a single system

For Kessoudis, a 5-dimensional approach is the key to a quantum leap forward in the handling of construction, project and business processes: “At Züblin, 5D means that all processes in our business are mapped with one single IT environment. Collaboration of the various applications is essential,” he reports. “This doesn’t only apply to CAD, but, even more importantly, to flowline scheduling, construction site management and also the entire commercial side of a company. In this way, synergy effects can be achieved.”

For this reason, iTWO enables the integration with 3D CAD systems of different manufacturers, such as Autodesk or Tekla.. Kessoudis even goes a step further: “Not only purely architectonic CAD systems are used to handle construction projects in a company like Züblin. We could also derive great benefit from integration with CAE systems from the mechanical engineering sector.”

Cost transparency

To keep a constant eye on costs and deadlines, the software can also be linked to operation scheduling software such as Microsoft Project, Powerproject, Primavera as well as SAP and other ERP systems. This should put construction companies in a position to maintain an overview and therefore a command of particularly complex interdependencies – on an interdepartmental level as well.

RIB has scheduled the market launch of the new software for 2010. The 5D department of Central Control of Ed. Züblin AG has already started using the new 5D method. The practical relevance of the new RIB software generation is also being tested in pilot projects. The future will show how radical the change is to the construction industry.

Industries>Architecture, Engineering & Construction>Contractors>Ed. Züblin AG II

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