“The European BIM Summit is a good event for stimulating your mind and questioning things”

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Interview with Rafael Capdevila, European BIM Summit Project Leader

With 25 years of professional experience in architecture and construction, Rafael Capdevila is Director of the BIM Manager Postgrad of the CAATEEB and Project Leader of the European BIM Summit. With the event almost upon us, he talks about his expectations for this edition. 

What are your sensations now that the BIM is just around the corner?

Very positive. This year’s topics are very interesting and point to an evolution in BIM. Last year, we started to include more practical topics and we went all out, so this year our object is to ramp things up a level. I am really excited, because both the speakers and the topics to be covered are a step forward in the construction sector. I believe that industrialisation will be key to the future of construction, which is why it will be one of the European BIM Summit topics. Moreover, attendees will get the chance to listen to us and to see that the BIM is moving forward and evolving, because it is done with our real projects. In a nutshell, I am excited and really looking forward to it.

You say that social reality will be on the agenda at this event. How will this be put into practice in the EBS?

We will have speakers who will discuss their experience and knowledge of the topic. The people who come to open our eyes are specialists in their field and therefore have results that will stimulate awareness.  Our sector is very tough, because we find it difficult to change and talk about new things, and this is something that we cannot afford.

If you had to talk to someone who is thinking about signing up for this new edition of the European BIM Summit, what would you tell them?

The European BIM Summit is a very specialised Congress; I would invite people who feel that it is far away from them to sign up. And the reason is that while they might not fully leverage the Congress because they lack experience, it will still stimulate their awareness. It is good to have expert technicians in their respective fields alongside people who have yet to pick up experience but want to get started and move ahead.

When you talk about “stimulating awareness”, that is actually a declaration of intent, isn’t it?

Exactly, it is something that needs to be transmitted. The European BIM Summit is an idea-sharing event led by the professionals that we have picked, because they are specialists and can pass on their expertise and we will learn from them. And building these synergies gives the Congress meaning.

You have been talking about how the sector has evolved, although more specifically how has the European BIM Summit evolved over these seven editions?

Although I have been in charge of this Congress for two years now, and five as an attendee, the first edition was like a mosaic, because all of a sudden the BIM methodology was made public at a Congress, which in turn began to enjoy international recognition. I remember that many of those who were there had no idea what it was, because it was complicated to move from a 2D plane to a 3D environment. And as the different editions have unfolded, you realise that everything has gradually evolved, that something described as the future seven years ago is now the present. It is also an evolving present, because new things are emerging all the time.

It is as if the Congress were one step ahead.

We need it to be that way. In our profession, we have very broad social contacts, from technical architects through to on-site labourers. This is why we try to pre-empt what is going on in our sector, so that the attendees will feel that there is still a long way to go and that it will be a great opportunity to get up to date. The European BIM Summit is a good event for stimulating your mind: to begin to move and question things.

How have you coped with the date changes caused by the pandemic?

Regrettably, we had to change the dates due to circumstances beyond our control. Our plan was to hold one edition every spring. The pandemic obliged us to add new features, such as the European BIM Summit Plus, which was online and at which I became a presenter. But that was the way to go in order not to lose our momentum. Moreover, that event was a success.  Some people cannot attend the event in person for several reasons, meaning that we can reach them through streaming and video conferences. It all seems easy from the outside, although there is a lot of work done on the inside. What is more, we have already prepared a lot of topics for the next edition of the Summit, which we will be announcing at this edition.

Why is it important to involve young people in Congresses such as BIM for students?

Young people nowadays live in a digital world and have a digital mentality, which means that they have a lot to say, because they are different to us. Their presence is very important, because it is they who will help to develop the tools of the future. Young people can pick up experience from their more experienced counterparts and thus learn. Moreover, they will also be able to contribute all their own knowledge and complement us.

What are your expectations for the BIM Exhibition virtual trade fair?

I had never thought about staging a virtual trade fair, although I admit that it is very necessary. An attendance-based trade fair is like going for a stroll, but someone who signs up for a virtual trade fair has to prepare properly for the visit because they know what they are looking for and they have a goal. That is why I think that it is much more profitable than a visit to a stand and that it is an excellent idea.

The European BIM Summit is organized by the Col·legi d’Aparelladors, Arquitectes Tècnics i Enginyers d’Edificació de Barcelona (CAATEEB) and is possible thanks to the contribution of our sponsors: BIM AcademybuildingSMART Spain, as Content Partners; Roca, as Main Partner; Finalcad,  MUSAAT and Autodesk, as Gold Partners; ; Agència Catalana de l’Aigua, ATL, Bentley, ASP Corredoria d’Assegurances, BIMTRAZER, CIAT, FGC, Graphisoft Archicad, PREMAAT, SIMBIM Solutions and Thinkproject, as Silver PartnersCalaf Constructora, Copisa, Bosch Pascual Construcciones, Fundación Laboral de la Construcción, ACCA and Citythinking, as Pro Partners; Master Builders Solutions, as Sustainability Sponsor; and Arquitectes per l’arquitectura, Objetivo BIM, Nuevo Azulejo, IMCB, Arquitectura y empresa and Upclash as Media partners. It has also the support and the collaboration of the Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat of the Generalitat de Catalunya.