Van der Sluis Technische Bedrijven
Building is collaborating
About Van der Sluis
The installation division of L.M. van der Sluis Holding consists of various operating companies such as Loodsluis, Verwarmingssluis, Electrasluis, and advisory group BVT. Van der Sluis Technische Bedrijven is a full-service installer that handles the entire process from consulting, design, and implementation to management, maintenance, and renovation. The Van der Sluis name guarantees a quality product that is delivered on time and within budget.
Do the job well, complete it within the agreed deadline, and use quality materials
L.M. van der Sluis founded his company on this philosophy in 1934, and this promise remains the foundation for all of the work the company performs. Although this tried-and-tested philosophy is as solid as a rock, the world and the construction world for that matter - has not stood still over the past 80 years. This is why Van der Sluis Technische Bedrijven continues to adapt to the changing times. They can respond quickly to market demand and utilize the latest technological developments. In addition, clients can count on motivated and well-trained personnel. They are professionals with a collective wealth of experience and expertise in house, but ones who are also aware of the latest rules and regulations and act accordingly.
Always seeking improvements
'Building is a collaborative activity. Whether you're talking about engineers, contractors, or suppliers: no-one is an island. That's why I think all these parties need to put their heads together and consider how they want to collaborate,' René van der Sluis, General Manager of Van der Sluis Technische Bedrijven speaks of his experiences. He calls for automating business processes, the adoption of BIM, and for collaboration between companies in the installation sector.
René van der Sluis has been part of L.M. van der Sluis Holding management since 1996. In that capacity, he thinks not only about improving his own business process, but also on improving collaboration across the entire technical installation sector. Always on the hunt for new opportunities to be able to work faster and better, René van der Sluis also saw the possibilities BIM offered to improve the business process.
Document Control is essential
Van der Sluis is always looking because he values a good business process so highly that he gets gut ache at the idea of it going wrong.
Literally. 'Once, over the weekend, I received a call from one of our technicians. He needed some documents to complete his work, but could not log in and hence could not continue working. That really upset me. Similarly, I hate the idea of an installer carrying out work that is based on an outdated or incorrect version of a design document, because you cannot deliver good work if your document control is not in good order.'
BIM offers advantages in all construction phases
Van der Sluis understood that BIM would provide advantages not only for the normal cycle of initiation, design, and implementation, but also especially for the renovation projects that the Van der Sluis company executes. After all, that is where the well-structured design data of a BIM is reused.
In addition, Van der Sluis has concluded all manner of service contracts for the installations it has completed and, naturally, the as-built information has been indispensable to this.More about BIM
BIM, as Van der Sluis envisioned it, was more than just a building model that was supposed to help reduce failure costs. It should be part of a complete, integrated data model in which a design would be clear for all parties involved: the customer, the principal, the architect, the contractors and the company's employees who deal with the implementation of the plans; from procurement to implementation.
When Van der Sluis switched to Revit MEP in 2010, he agreed with Cadac that the latter would help support the overall process within his company. He explains why that was necessary: 'Because of the far-reaching automation within our installation department, the introduction of a new CAD system was not a question of just installing a new software package. For that time especially, we had done a lot of programming in DOS, mainly to form a connection between the product numbers of our suppliers and the parts numbers that we used. That link with the rest of the system had to be maintained when introducing Revit MEP, and Cadac Group helped us accomplish that.'
Because Van der Sluis prioritizes data, the company has also implemented Cadac Organice, Cadac Group's platform for managing engineering data and document control based on Microsoft SharePoint. In addition, Autodesk Vault is used for storing the design files. Van der Sluis, however, wanted a digital project file containing all the relevant information to be created for each assignment. Consequently, the project file would not only include engineering data, but also order forms, contracts, e-mails, and progress reports.
An entire project file would only be possible if Cadac Organice and Vault were fully integrated. That's why we teamed up with Cadac Group and together we devised a solution, which will soon give us all the necessary information in every phase of the building project.'
Although with the introduction of BIM and the corresponding modifications, Van der Sluis had everything in house in good order, the company's automation story did not stop there. 'At the time we began using BIM, a uniform objects library had not yet been developed. To solve this, we started compiling object libraries in collaboration with several major market players. I myself informed and persuaded several suppliers to make data available, by explaining that they also stood to benefit because they can deliver better adapted products.'
Van der Sluis was able not only to win over suppliers, but he also formed partnerships with industry peers. 'Such collaboration is, in my opinion, a good example of how BIM should take place within the installation sector. A collaboration that is essential. It would be impossible for us to do all the work on our own, and the same goes for everyone else involved. I'm glad to see that we've been able to find parties who want to participate and who understand that automation no longer stops at the front door,' says Van der Sluis.
Zero delivery points
Of course, all that investment in automation, BIM, and object libraries is a wonderful thing, but the obvious question remains: does it also achieve anything? 'Yes,' answers Van der Sluis firmly, 'very much so. Because we can construct a building twice now, once virtually and once in the real world, we can identify and remove a lot of building mistakes during the first cycle. This helps us avoid failure costs. Furthermore, we can build much faster because the communication between all parties involved is properly coordinated. Finally, we have the right construction data for when we have to carry out a renovation. These are all things that make it possible for us to work cheaper.'
Meanwhile, the installation division of Van der Sluis has completed over 2000 units using BIM, and René van der Sluis continues to be wildly enthusiastic about the concept. 'We aim to complete each project with zero delivery points and, in most cases, we succeed. That's zero delivery points! I fail to understand why companies still do not want to implement such a system. They usually say it's because it costs money. As if it doesn't cost any money when you pass on all of your issues in the design phase and then have to resolve them at the construction site. Really, in that regard, I sometimes want to shake those in the installation sector for a while and say, 'Come on guys, get involved, building is a collaborative activity!'