Lego scrum & BIM – the game changers of the building industry
Kvalho Talks with Adrian Wildenauer | Head of BIM at pom+
Welcome to KVALHO TALKSa series of interviews and discussions with experts, innovators and entrepreneurs within the AEC & real estate industries
This time I speak to Adrian Wildenauer, Senior Construction Management Consultant at pom+ – a leading business consultancy for real estate, construction, facility, portfolio and asset management, helping its clients to improve processes, get on the digital transformation journey and achieve growth.

Our guest tells us how he uses various innovative project management methods – including SCRUM and BIM – to create value for his clients, give them a competitive edge, help them to improve the delivery of exciting projects and, importantly, move the industry forward. Adrian also shares with us his view on digitalisation of the built environment.

Enjoy reading KvalhoTalks with Adrian Wildenauer and learn how he and pom+ contribute to the digital transformation of the AEC industry.

Could you please introduce pom+ and tell us who your clients are and how you help them?
We help clients from the real estate and construction industry who want to become "digital" to support their processes and organisational management. That is where our name comes from: ''pom'' means Process and Organisational Management and the ''+ '' symbolises Innovation. Our goal is to enable our customers to use digital tools which are most suitable for their company. pom+ was founded in 1996 as a Spin Off of the ETH Zurich. To this day the management board of the company is the original team which founded it. Currently we are an 80-people strong team working across five offices in Switzerland and one in Germany. Our clients include governmental institutions, property owners and investors, building developers, general contractors, architects, engineers and facility managers.

pom+ advices clients on trends and their impact on the future of the industry. How do you spot these trends and forecast their impact?

Firstly, we track trends and understand what could be important in 5 years or even 10 years. Additionally we have developed the "Innovation Engine" – a web based tool to digitize the end-to-end innovation process and remain on top of the market developments. There we can find solutions grouped by trends – provided by over 35 000 PropTechs – to problems asked by our clients, offering solutions. For example, one of the current mega trends is ageing of the society (Silver Society). We then investigate what construction could offer as a solution to this challenge, basically solution design. In our Innovation Engine you can search which PropTechs provide solutions related to aging. As a result, you might find that company XYZ provides a VR solution for allowing you to experience the building from the elderly person perspective and to ''feel like a senior person'' living in this building experiencing all challenges related to ageing. This allows designers to avoid design mistakes and therefore costs which are obvious only after opening of the building. We observe a shift from ''all in one solution'' -so far provided by one project planner- to a ''one by one solution'' provided by specialised PropTechs. Having such powerful and easy to handle tools makes us unique.
What's your role within the company?
I am responsible for BIM and the Life Cycle Data Management (LCDM), therefore I am the link between the construction and real estate industry. I am a Civil Engineer turned Building Lifecycle Consultant and Solution Designer which is for me a very exciting combination. I help clients to find the right solution for their digital real estate activities and importantly: 1) to understand what they have to order in the beginning of the projects which will be useful and needed in the Facility Management phase, 2) to improve the building performance by using new technologies, 3) ensure that the client has enough competence to order data (generated out of models and databases), 4) quantify and qualify necessary data for the lifecycle and 5) check quality of the data he gets at the end he needs in an easy and understandable way. So that is a quite exciting combination of off- and on-site work.

How would you describe a project perfectly run with BIM?

The ideal project would start with gathering more information right in the beginning from the client, planner and construction company. Doing a project using BIM is not enough. When planning the building, clients need to understand what data they need to manage the building efficiently during its operation. Currently, In the usual construction projects facility managers get dozens and dozens Gigabyte of unsorted, unqualified data at the end of the construction phase. This is neither acceptable nor usable.
We help our clients to set up clear criteria for what they need. The maxim is "know what you want to know".
We still observe the tendency to focus mainly on BIM only for the planning and construction phases which is let's say only 3 years out of 50 years of the building lifecycle. We need to look at the bigger picture. The good news is that a growing number of projects are using integrated project delivery (IPD), in which all players on the project collaborate to optimize project results, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency. A key to developing the sharing culture essential to IPD is having a physical environment to support this communication; typically, this space is called a "Big Room."

How do you manage this process at pom+?

When we start working with new clients, we first use our BIM Guide. This tool helps us to estimate their current skills, knowledge and ability of working with BIM. Depending on the results of the 8 categories: strategy and organization, application, information / data, infrastructure / IT, employees, processes, quality control and knowledge, we can offer tailored solutions for our clients.
What methods do you use and recommend to efficiently manage the building design and construction process? Can you please describe these methods and how they help?
BIM, SCRUM…. and LEGO are the real game changers in the construction project delivery. How?

BIM – it is an intelligent process that uses 3D models to give AEC professionals the ability to plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure more efficiently. We simplify BIM for our clients in a way everyone can understand using… LEGO.
SCRUM – it's a framework for managing a process and improving the decision making. To experience Scrum, it is important to deliver a product, work together as a team, and do several iterations. To simulate this, you can use LEGO to build a city.

A very important element of Scrum is Daily Scrum: a 15-minute daily informative stand up meeting to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours. This optimizes team collaboration and performance by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting upcoming sprints of work. The Daily Scrum is held at the same time and place each day to reduce complexity. At this meeting each participant informs the team about the progress or issues which do not allow to complete the task. The next step simply does not start before finding a solution. In my experience, solutions are found in 95% of cases in 0.5-1hr.
The daily scrum improves the team performance significantly, it is a mind changer. Future of construction is depending on communication and collaboration.
Why are these methods valuable for construction projects?
A major issue in construction often leading to project failure is a lack of efficient communication between AEC professionals and their client. Construction is mostly known for endless discussions, escalating and arguing – not so much about partnering. These 2 methods improve communication on projects. For example, User Stories in Scrum help people express themselves better and focus on outcomes.
Both – BIM and SCRUM – definitely help planners to define clients' objectives better than conventional methods do.
What can the construction industry learn from others?
Adapting to new trends and technology. Look at Amazon – the online marketplace. They already spotted the opportunity and entered the traditional construction industry. Amazon is testing its capabilities in property and construction, from physical stores to advanced distribution and AI. Google and Facebook started building houses as a general contractor in Silicon Valley and will build 10 000 houses for their employees. This is just the start.
Times are changing faster than ever before. If you don't change, you will be changed!

McKinsey's report ''The Future of Work: Switzerland's digital opportunity'', published in October 2018, shows that approximately 1 million jobs in Switzerland will be replaced due to digitalisation and automation. That is the figure which is mostly cited. But the most interesting figure is that at the same approximately 0.8 million new jobs will be created. It also means that new skills will be required to perform these jobs. This also applies to construction. It is no longer like it was 50 years ago, that after university you were doing the same job for 30 years without much investment into improvement of your skills. These times are definitely over. You have to stay up to date with the fast-changing world. You must adapt to new trends, learn and do it better, staying competitive and aiming for perfection. This is what I am missing in the construction industry today.

How will construction look like in 2030? What will change?

By 2030 we will no longer talk about methods (like BIM) but about solutions and their values to the clients. We will not talk about the granularity of the present construction industry but about holistic solutions. We will see more players from other industries entering construction, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon already did – entering the construction market as competitors- not as customers. What would happen if Tesla enters the construction market in Switzerland? They have already shaken the automotive industry. Are we ready for that challenge?
It's what Darwin said: ''It is neither the strongest species that survive nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.''

And I really hope that there will be more training and teaching focused on solution design and digital technologies, especially in construction. Digitalization must be part of primary education.