De Meeuw

The entire building chain in one company

About De Meeuw

De Meeuw is a leading builder and full-service service provider of temporary and permanent buildings for various sectors, such as health care, education, business, custom projects, and rentals. With more than 80 years of experience and a 400-strong workforce, the building specialist handles the entire housing process from design to operation, as well as maintenance for clients throughout Europe. The company distinguishes itself through its short development lead times, rapid construction pace, and flexibility.

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When our architects come up with an idea, they must keep in mind that we have to actually build it ourselves.

Jos van Zelst

BIM Process Manager - De Meeuw

The entire building chain in one company

De Meeuw is not a traditional construction company, but rather an industrial construction company. The specialist in temporary and permanent buildings manufactures prefabricated components as much as possible in a factory, which minimizes the work on the construction site. In part because of this approach and a standardized construction method, De Meeuw is able to deliver even faster than the traditional building method.

De Meeuw uses an assortment of units for its building projects. It is very important to have a wide variety for this because, just like in 'normal' construction, buildings are always unique, with their own set of client requirements and wishes. Even though the execution is different every time, the construction method remains the same. 'With these "LEGO blocks" we can deliver buildings - from small to large - very quickly,' according to Jos van Zelst, BIM Process Manager. 'The buildings are delivered to the construction site genuinely "ready-made" with prefabricated plumbing, pipelines, electrical, and glass and doors, as well as a weather barrier. Our technicians only have to assemble the units, and for aesthetic considerations, sometimes they select an attractive wall made, for example, of thin brick strips.'

Working with BIM before BIM existed

The company experiences far fewer BIM issues concerning liability and contracts with external building partners. 'Whereas standard construction companies have to deal with countless building partners, we have actually brought together the entire building chain under one roof. We have in-house architects, designers, process planning, metalworking, a transport service, assembly, technicians, and service staff.

We also have a few employees working for us from Cofely, our technical installation building partner. When our architects come up with an idea, they must keep in mind that we have to actually build it ourselves. Therefore, everyone works together with the same vision and with a common interest in mind!' With its in-house knowledge and expertise concerning the entire construction process, as well as its strong focus on collaboration and information transfer between the departments, De Meeuw was working on all manner of working with BIM before the term 'BIM' had even been invented.


Revit information for the entire organization

'In 2002, together with Cadac Group, we integrated our AutoCAD and ERP environment to transport information throughout the chain. Using the tools developed by Cadac Group, we were then able to provide additional information to 2D AutoCAD drawings. Simple lines were transformed into objects, and drawings became smart drawings. After a few years, however, we ran up against the software's limitations.

In 2009, we decided to begin using Revit and immediately implement it throughout the organization. We were, after all, already using AutoCAD for object-oriented intelligent modelling, and this powerful BIM tool was the best fit for our vision and the overall BIM vision. After all, by drawing in detail in the design phase and continuously enriching the 3D Revit model with data, we can use the information throughout the organization.'

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Extra Revit tools required

'We wanted to add to Revit a number of the programmes that, together with Cadac Group, we had developed at the time for AutoCAD. This actually provided the impetus for the development of a number of tools that are now part of TheModus and therefore are now available to everyone. Because we did not want to have to reinvent the wheel, we based our content for Revit on the existing TheModus components and work methodology. This means that we can now easily use the powerful TheModus tools.'


Workshop management via Revit

Thanks to the detailed Revit structural models, De Meeuw can also extract mechanical engineering data suitable for assembly and workshop use. 'Previously we had to manually draw each view in AutoCAD, which was a hugely labour-intensive task. In Revit that is already somewhat easier, but it is still a manual process, so it is time consuming and error prone. This is why we use TheModus View Generator, which automates this process.

Once you have configured this tool, the press of a button will get you the desired views, of the desired part or family, in the desired location on the plot sheet, including a legend that meets your requirements. Compared to the old situation, this easily provides a 50% time reduction and there is significantly less chance of error.

What's more, we also save a lot of time by using the new TheModus Center or Gravity (COG) tool. The units are hoisted onto our lorries with a crane, and they are sometimes lifted as high as five stories at our construction site. The components have to hang straight from the crane. The centre of gravity is therefore extremely important, and this has to be formulated in advance by hand. Because we use smart TheModus content in the 3D model, we can automatically determine the correct lifting position using the COG tool.'

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