Digital building

The future is digital. Innovative digital applications are also becoming increasingly common for us, in the building process amongst others.

Towards a clear overview

"The evolution of a classic construction plan in 2D towards a Building Information Model (BIM) in 3D is in full swing", CAD Manager Floriaan De Cleyn says. "Combining all partial plans into a clear overview is quite a challenge. Fortunately, for new construction projects we can rely on experienced modellers, but for smaller renovations or expansions we are still searching for the right work method. Nevertheless, we firmly believe that the use of 3D models offers us many advantages. The construction of Fine Food Salads, our newest production site, was a first test project with 3D design and BIM.

Tracking and avoiding conflicts

"We immediately designed both the shell and the subsections - for example, sanitary facilities, electricity, sprinklers, etc. - in 3D. That way, we could discover and tackle many conflicts between the different subsections even before the site started up", Mauro Hemeleers, 3D architectural draughtsman, clarifies.

"A few years ago, Fine Food Meat, a similar project, was designed entirely in 2D. Back then, we would notice mistakes at the building site that were not visible on the plans." Currently, a new distribution centre and an OKay-store are planned to be drawn in 3D.

"During the design and construction of Fine Food Salads, we discovered that not everything that seems logical in 3D also works according to plan in real life. We will take those lessons to the next projects," concludes Mauro. The advantages of a full plan in 3D do not stop after the works have been completed. "For the management and maintenance afterwards, we also see a lot of potential in the 3D plans", Floriaan adds.

Virtual Reality

We also use digital applications in other areas. As a Concept & Innovation Designer, Friso Mosselmans keeps track of innovations in augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality (in short AR, VR and MR) and other visualisation techniques. "I search for technologies, software and companies that can help us with building up our visualisation techniques and the internal knowledge of the subject", Friso says.

"For example, we created a VR training course for technicians working in medium-voltage cabins. By copying such a cabin in VR, they can do a part of their training in a safe environment." We also make 360° recordings of our stores. "You can virtually walk through the corridors and technical areas of, for example, a Colruyt branch from behind your PC. This is convenient for our technicians, amongst others, who can better prepare for their visit to the store," Friso concludes.