The digital twin: vision, actors and digital divide

  • 13.04.2022
  • Article
Digital Twin at Bim World paris

The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions was a central theme for the most recent BIM WORLD 2022. Gains in time, performance, and communication were also key topics for discussion at the event that brings together professionals active in the entire life cycle of a construction project and considers challenges of digitalisation in the construction chain.

The latest developments in digital innovation and sustainability were explored too. GenieVision took the opportunity to understand the visions of builders, and their current problems, among which is the digital divide on the construction site.

In this article, we will discuss the planning, execution, management, operation and maintenance aspects of BIM. We will explore how its usefulness depends on a digital twin – a digital version of the planned project that is faithful to the reality on the ground. The more up-to-date it is, the greater its value. A real-time 3D model allows collaboration on this digital twin and ensures all the BIM gains are made.

The role of the digital twin in BIM and avoiding digital duplication

What is digital twin ?

From the developers and architects to the engineers, site operators and building managers – all these players need to cooperate. They form a collaborative chain where information is central. The ability to freely share accurate, timely and essential information is crucial.

  • Who does what?
  • What are the materials?
  • On what date were certain jobs carried out?

This vital information allows builders to document construction in a step-by-step way.

Creating a digital twin allows every player to have visibility.

Access to information on the digital worksite

It centralises the building’s data, from design and execution to maintenance to enable efficient organisation. During the construction phase, the challenge is to transfer the data between the site and the design office in order to consider the needs of the field. This central “bottom up” approach represents an important objective of BIM today. The digital twin easily shares the necessary information with workers and becomes integral to their daily lives.

Digitalisation to access the benefits of BIM

The green building chain with ecological objectives

Developing the green building chain with ecological objectives is a topic SBLM platform – a group of people passionate about data – presented at BIM WORLD. It works to ensure that data is used with an ecological objective throughout the lifecycle of buildings and infrastructures.

The companies in this ecosystem are environmentally committed to creating a sustainable sector. Inspired by zero waste applied to construction, the primary objective is to contribute to the environmental transition through technological innovation to reduce, reuse, remanufacture and recycle. This involves raising awareness in society, among operators in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) and real estate sectors, and stimulating the interoperability of solutions. Without this exchange of data between every link in the value chain and their respective tools, the promises of BIM cannot be kept.

This sustainable trend is visible throughout the value chain. Individual and collective awareness is at the heart of a sector seeking to transform itself.

Frédéric Gal, Project Modernisation Director, says “At Bouygues Construction, we are committed to reducing our emissions by 40% by 2040.

He continues on the benefits of adoption: “We are already seeing the results of this method, i.e. reductions in construction time ranging from 10% to 40%.”

Materials management: costs, traceability and maintenance

In the many phases of a building’s life, construction remains the most financially risky: delay in the work, presence of defects, low or no profitability of the site. This is why cost control and site monitoring are essential.

Kabandy has a solution for anticipating and managing costs. The software offers a macro view of the management of materials on a building site, including quantities and their documentation. Directly linked to a digital mock-up, the tool enables the costs of a project to be estimated. Kabandy handles quantity estimates, order management and the state of progress to simplify management of the supply. It helps to reduce unforeseen events, too.

Collaboration means accessibility to the DMS

Data centralisation also requires a strengthened collaboration between the project manager and the project owner. According to Cooperlink, digitalising the daily life of workers brings two advantages – accessibility to documents and monitoring of processes. Superimposed on daily project management tools, the transmission of documents and the validation of milestones are often a pain for companies. Documentation and collaboration make information exchange more fluid, reducing errors and speeding up approvals. Documenting the day-to-day within a powerful and collaborative DMS ensures the delivery of an as-built file as close to the design as possible.

The as-built, handed over to the client after construction, must correspond to the client’s request for the project. Environmental standards are predominant in France and on the European market and require special attention from construction companies. To this end, BIM and its centralisation of information allow greater collaboration and anticipation. It facilitates alerts, anticipation and daily validations, that are often perceived as time- consuming on site. The companies guarantee quality cost management and document monitoring.

BIM and the digital divide on the construction site

The digital twin from the architects

The real estate and construction value chain is complex and integrates many players. Whether they are involved upstream or downstream of construction, they are very different and approach digital at their own level with the advantages it brings them.

In the design phase, in connection with the project client, 3D is being adopted more widely. Developers and architects are using it to align with their needs and improve their understanding. In particular, we have seen the development of virtual reality services to explore the planned building and make modifications in real time. It allows the building or infrastructure to be understood in its environment.


This 3D vision, which does not include the technical details, is then provided to the engineers who will test its solidity and make it viable. This is the design phase and the role of the design offices. By modelling all these details, the majority of the problems are tackled upstream while conflicts and economies of scale are detected sooner.

The transfer of BIM to the execution phase is blocked

The work is then faithfully modelled by the design office to ensure every detail matches the future construction, including information on materials, planning and documentation. The digital twin is ready to be brought to life by the construction companies who are committed to its realisation.

Nevertheless, a continuity problem of BIM arises and limits its use on site. During construction the digital twin should be integral to project management (BIM) and the building site.

5 reasons why the BIM is blocked on site

  • BIM does not pass the transfer meeting between design and execution.
  • The productivity gains expected from BIM on the construction site are not achieved.
  • 2D printed drawings are a flattening of BIM.
  • Information on how to build is missing in BIM.
  • The detail of the production is not embedded in the digital twin: who does what, when?

Digital and the reality of the construction site

When transmitting plans, 3D and BIM should be retained and useful for construction. However, this is where the digital divide begins. Digital information must be transmitted to the site teams, but the ways of doing so are still not very digital. This orchestration depends on the collaboration between the teams and this organisation is duly carried out between the different trades and the construction managers.

Construction companies have been transformed and are now proactively embracing BIM. They can count on structured and financed BIM departments, which are at the heart of the digital transformation, and on construction managers who are convinced by digital technology and who are real ambassadors on the construction sites and can achieve a high level of BIM.

BIM management software is available and is effective in managing information. However, this information does not reach the construction site enough to allow collaboration between the project managers and the project owners. The selection of ergonomic tools that bring gains to operators is essential and will help drive adoption. This transformation, of which GenieVision is a part, is coming to life but requires an understanding of site processes by technology companies and training of workers by construction companies.

How do you bring BIM on site with the workers?

The digital twin of construction: what are the benefits?

Tomorrow the digital twin of construction will provide an answer to the question: how do I build? It will be a real help before the construction and help the various trades to be better organised. Construction errors will be prevented as workers can check and validate their own work and notify the people affected. Increased verification can also be carried out by the works manager who will have the plans on his mobile and tablet and will no longer need to know them by heart.

In the future, the digital twin will provide greater traceability between the architect’s model and the digital twin of the construction. Thanks to information coming from the construction site, “bottom up”, deviations will be documented as the site progresses and recorded for the DOE and TQC. The digital duplicate can be modified by the project owner, or the work adapted by the project manager.

Tomorrow, the digital twin will create that link between production, execution, and digital that will help the promises of BIM in waste management to be met, support better planning and enable the construction of more efficient buildings.

3D for better understanding of plans

The entire building is modelled, allowing it to be optimised right from the design stage, to achieve time and cost savings through rationalising materials. This digital twin is then transmitted to the construction teams who, on the ground, commit to completing the work as planned.

By taking the 3D model into the construction phase, a new world of understanding the plans opens up. 3D drawings provide digital and real-time information that 2D drawings cannot. The 3D model brings, with it, management and construction information and thus helps the collaboration between the owner and the contractor.

4 advantages of using 3D plans in construction:

  1. Greater clarity of the plans ensures clear understanding. An infinite zoom in on the elements in high quality and the rotation around them in order to understand their arrangement. The operator can easily see the work to be done, for example the number of superimposed ducts and how they are arranged.
  2. Up-to-date plans. The traditional evolutionary process can result in many versions, and this helps avoid obsolete plans being on site. It is continually updated with the digital twin ensuring that the whole site is working with the latest information.
  3. Access to BIM information directly from the drawings. All the information useful to the operators, such as materials, executed works and points of attention, is accessible. The information can be passed on from the construction site to the design engineers and allows collaboration between the project management and the client.
  4. The use of 3D technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). During construction, augmented reality seems more appropriate as it is superimposed on the real environment. This new way of seeing plans in real space offers simplicity in understanding and interpreting the plans. A simple scan of the environment makes all the elements of the plan appear directly in their place in the room.


These BIM technologies must be accessible regardless of the level of expertise, equipment and intervention level. And it is with this in mind that GenieVision has been designed, not to encumber site operators with gadgets, but only with the use of a mobile application. This digital continuity is essential between all the actors in this chain in order to accompany the follow-up of the construction site. Documented, transcribed and accessible data is essential for good collaboration.

How to model an existing building to take advantage of its digital twin?

There is one aspect of BIM that is central to the use of the digital twin is the modelling of existing buildings.

Existing buildings cannot benefit from BIM and a platform for the operation of their building if they are not modelled. At BIM WORLD, we discovered a French company that digitises the entire building or site in order to make it available to managers on their platform. My Digital Buildings provides the opportunity for any building to have a faithful and exploitable 3D rendering thanks to a multitude of 3D sensors.

All types of sensors are used to model the building through the most suitable means. A tailor-made offer that includes drone, robot, laser and, most surprisingly, a skeleton carried by an operator. These tools collect a cloud of points that deliver a faithful 3D model. They create a digital twin of the building for use in 2D, 3D, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Interesting! The company’s level of specialisation is very high and enables it to make this expertise available to companies with property assets. Their growth is now taking the form of a national (and why not Belgian and international) network.

Performance for construction

The implementation of ER2020

In France, the building sector accounts for 44% of energy consumption and nearly 25% of CO2 emissions. In 2020, France is moving from a thermal regulation to an environmental regulation – the ER2020, which is more ambitious and demanding for the construction sector. The entire value chain is under pressure to successfully implement the ER2020 while controlling costs and guaranteeing the quality of services.  The guidelines for the sectors are defined in order to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.

5 performance levers for construction

  • Optimising the design and controlling the overall cost of the works.
  • Improving productivity and quality of construction.
  • Managing the performance of infrastructure and property assets.
  • Optimising uses, environmental impacts and urban integration.
  • Organising digital continuity and preparing digital twins to enhance the value of data.

ref. BIM WORLD 2022

Bringing 3D to the job site with GenieVision

GenieVision, the expert in 3D on site, works to share bottom-up information that feeds the digital twin with field information. Our tablet and mobile tool allow you to take the 3D model with you to all the workers, site managers and other stakeholders. The portability of the digital twin allows easy use on site. With its Augmented Reality features, it has never been easier to understand and interpret plans. A simple scan of your environment (as if you were taking a video of the room you are in), makes all the elements of the plan appear directly in their place in the room and beyond.

At GenieVision, as a technology player, we have been addressing the adoption of our application for years. Together with our partners, we have worked to simplify its use and support the added value offered to operators on site through our local services. We have co-built the solution with our customers and partners to reach our current level – in our eyes, a digitalisation where the human element is central in the implementation of new efficient processes and adopted by the user.

GenieVision's team

Booth at BIM WORLD 2022

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Augmented Reality at BIM World 2022

Augmented Reality at BIM World 2022