Company Spotlight does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin. Learn all about the history, BIM journey and latest Building Information Modelling developments of some of the industry’s most-recognised names. This week, Aconex are in the spotlight. Their Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Leigh Jasper sat down with BIMcrunch to discuss the BIM past, present and future of the company.
“We always viewed that the company had global potential, but it is fair to say that we never expected to be in quite as many countries and on the types of projects that we are on today. When we’re able to work on projects like the Panama Canal and some of the largest infrastructure and construction programs in the world, it is beyond anything we ever expected.” – Leigh Jasper, CEO of Aconex.
Started in Melbourne, Australia in 2000, construction collaboration company Aconex have built up a remarkable business within 15 years. The cloud-based brand have more than 50,000 global user organisations and have provided the necessary solutions for construction and engineering projects worth an aggregate A$800 billion. The aforesaid speech filled with humble confidence from the company’s CEO, Leigh Jasper, just shows that with a good idea and the right business model, you can achieve above and beyond any expectations, which is what Aconex managed to do.
“We always viewed ourselves as an international business that just so happened to start in Australia”, Jasper told BIMcrunch. Jasper and his Co-Founder Rob Philpott were right. Despite starting in Australia, the company now operate offices in more than 40 countries worldwide. Then, from humble beginnings grew incredibly powerful collaboration solutions that aided various areas of construction yet most importantly for us, Building Information Modelling.
Before the acronym of BIM even came about, Aconex quickly started to notice after their launch that collaboration around models was becoming more and more apparent with their clients. In many cases according to Mr. Jasper, collaboration around models is more important than documentation. Aconex made sure they would be able to aid those working around models.
“Collaboration around models is as important, probably more important than collaboration around documents themselves, and what we found is a lot of our projects over the years started to add more models and began to share and distribute them amongst their project teams,” elaborated Jasper.
He added: “It depends on how you define BIM but certainly, putting up models and managing the distributions of those models has been done for many years on the system, and we are approaching two million models now on Aconex.
“If you’ve got a large model, how do you get it form one company to another? How do you know when it’s been received? Solving that distribution problem was a big part of why people started to use us for BIM. [Aconex also help by] being able to view the model and things like our Revit plug-in, for quickly uploading a [Revit] model onto Aconex.
“It is all about getting the information from the model and the design team out to the other participants on the project. That and also collaboration has led to what we have built with our Connected BIM solution.”
What is Connected BIM you ask? We have covered the launch of Aconex’s latest platform that is tailored exclusively for BIM projects in the past. View that coverage here. After noticing that more and more projects Aconex were providing solutions for were utilising BIM, Aconex decided to develop their products further to suit the Building Information Modelling community that little bit more.
Discussing Connected BIM’s functionality, Leigh explained: “What we set out to do was connect people and connect data. The other key benefit for our clients is getting better handover; an owner of an asset will get handover, not just of a set of documents, but also the as-built model that they will be able to use in their facilities management.”
With their impressive suite of solutions, Aconex have been tasked to support collaboration on many high-profile projects. Leigh told BIMcrunch about just a few of them: “Some significant projects over the last few years have been the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Qatar Rail is using a lot of BIM and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Building in Sydney has also seen a lot of BIM [implemented].
“The Royal Adelaide Hospital, I was over there recently and they saw BIM as an integral part of the project. The project was set up from day one to use as much BIM technology as they could. That was certainly an exciting project to be a part of where BIM wasn’t an afterthought – it was actually part of the set-up, feasibility and on-going delivery and management of the project.”
So what does the future look like for the now listed public company? More plug-ins that will be compatible with other BIM software tools are in the works, and according to Jasper, “continued investment” will be a big part of Aconex’s future development:
“We are continuing to invest in product; we see that we have a real leadership position with our product and we are continuing to extend that to build the most integrated platform available for managing data, managing information and managing process across the entire construction and infrastructure sectors.”