BIM Friends are connecting to share experience and thoughts: an interview with Mohamed Khettab
We at coBuilder are always keen to support all social activities surrounding BIM. It is our belief that education and information are the key to achieving constant betterment. That is why we are always on the lookout for new opportunities for spreading the knowledge and connecting people who are interested in BIM.
Today we are interviewing Mohamed Khettab, founder and manager of BIM Friends, a new social network connecting BIM enthusiast around the globe. He has a really personal approach to anyone joining the network and comes across as passionate and approachable. We can surely say that through his network we have made some new BIM Friend and we are eager to make some more!
coBuilder: Who are the people behind BIM Friends, could you please share some BIO?
M: BIM Friends is all about connecting people around the world so it goes without saying that the team is quite a colorful crowd as well. It is composed of many people around the world: me as the founder and BIM consultant from France, Mark as developer from Malaysia, Alexander is also a developer from Germany, Bilal is the user interface designer from Algeria and other specialized consultants (logo design, SEO optimization, etc.) Everyone brings their special touch to the project and we are citizens of the world – that is how in my opinion we come to great ideas and we are always open for the new and different.
We are all really entrepreneurial – Prior to launching BIM Friends we launched another French BIM community called HEXABIM in the first quarter of 2015, about 1500 members joined us. Before that in 2008 when I was still student I launched a French civil engineering forum called CIVILMANIA, today it has more than 73.000 members.
coBuilder: What inspired you to set up a BIM social Media? How do you plan on developing the media further?
M: There are many general social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and a lot of very interesting BIM media like THE B1M, The BIM Hub, BIMcrunch and so on, but there is no social media as such specializing in BIM, we think and believe there is a gap to fill there.
On BF we are sure we will find only BIM people, all what we need to do is open the members map and see who are the BIM Friends around us!
But BF is not about networking only, we have several areas where members can share many kinds of content, ask a question, share or download a paper, show a project in 3D mode or just some screenshots, post or find a job, list software, hardware or services, find a training course, more services are coming!
coBuilder: Why do you feel that BIM professionals need to connect?
M: There is a huge difference between BIM levels and adoption’s in the world, some countries already adopted BIM and are working on the 2nd level, others have already done many big projects in a full collaboration mode and many are just starting with BIM. We believe there are is a lot of experience and useful information to be shared between BIM users around the world, also in each country people need to connect and find nearby experts who are available for a chat or a meat up. We think that will help professionals to build and expand their local and international networks and exchange experience and data.
coBuilder: The idea of literally putting the BIM experts on the map is quite neat. Why do you think it is so essential to have BIM connections across the globe?
M: As said the main purpose of BIM Friends is to connect BIM users around the world but also in their countries, we were inspired by other specialized websites like Four Square. Our developers used Google Map APIs to localize members on a real map and let them discover nearby people. Many members told us that’s a friendly and easy way to connect to other members!
coBuilder: You are from France, how is BIM adoption in France progressing in light of UK’s BIM Level 2 becoming mandatory from April 2016?
M: Well, France is not at BIM level 2 yet, perhaps for some big projects but not others, the government established a new organization called PTNB (Le Plan Transition Numérique dans le Bâtiment), the new group will take forward an outline BIM plan announced this year, which includes the ambition of developing 500,000 houses using BIM by 2017.
coBuilder: BIM Friends is actually in “BETA” stage at the moment are you receiving good feedback from the industry?
M: Yes, some solution editors, engineering and architectural firms contact us regularly to know more about BF team and platform, many are attracted by the concept of BIM social networking. Some of them think that BIM Friends is a BIM LinkedIn!
We are trying to constantly improve BIM Friends, recently we redesigned the website header and changed some widgets, we are working on other features for the discussion’s zone for example, and we will keep the BETA stage a few more weeks to get more feedbacks and after that remove it and go steady.