Media Release

Top Rated: Digital Park Fechenheim Wins BIM Award 2023

Markus Eiberger, board member of BIM Cluster BW e.V. (left), and jury member Peter Steinhagen (right) presented Moritz Mombour from Drees & Sommer SE with the BIM Award 2023 in the "Building Construction" category for the use of BIM in the Digital Park Fechenheim project. © Ludmilla Parsyak, BIM-Cluster BW e.V.
Moritz Mombour talks about the use of BIM at Digital Park Fechenheim. © Ludmilla Parsyak, BIM-Cluster BW e.V.
BIM Cluster Award 2023 © Ludmilla Parsyak, BIM-Cluster BW e.V.
BIM Cluster Award 2023 © Ludmilla Parsyak, BIM-Cluster BW e.V.

‘Best in class’ in building information modeling (BIM): For the fourth time, the association of the BIM Cluster Baden-Württemberg is awarding prizes in five categories for the best projects which have been implemented with the BIM method. The Digital Park Fechenheim of the global leader in data center operations, Digital Realty, was successful in the structural engineering category. In this ambitious project, BIM provided the basis for the cooperation between all participants in eleven applications. Digital Reality is currently realizing Digital Park Fechenheim – a state-of-the-art data center campus with eleven data centers – on the former Neckermann premises in Frankfurt’s Eastend. The consulting firm Drees & Sommer SE, which specializes in construction and real estate, supports Digital Realty with services in relation to the change of use of this listed existing complex.

Throughout the construction project the developer, Digital Realty, places special focus on digital planning with the support of Drees & Sommer: “The integrated overall planning process was completely model-based from the very start, using BIM on a shared cloud platform,” explains Drees & Sommer’s BIM expert Moritz Mombour, who submitted the project for the BIM Cluster Award 2023 on behalf of the BIM team. ”This process ensures a structured data exchange which means that all parties involved in the planning are always up to date.

The models which are developed together in this way can be used for various applications – from the assessment of variants in early phases of the project, the calculation of quantities and costs through to the subsequent documentation of the buildings. Any conflicts which may occur between the different trades are discovered early on at the model stage so that they do not arise as unpleasant surprises in the construction phase. The BIM planning method thus simplifies communication between all participants and helps to coordinate the individual trades and to avoid errors,” says Moritz Mombour.

The Digital Twin Helps Us to See Clearly

At the end of the 1950s, when the famous post-war architect and designer Egon Eiermann designed the Neckermann logistics building with paper and pen on the drawing board, resources such as data centers, server homing or BIM were completely unknown. Today, he would probably have planned the building with the digital planning method BIM, just like the BIM experts from Drees & Sommer. Starting from an integrated overall model, the various trades and sections of the more than sixty year old building and the planned new buildings can be recorded in detail in a digital twin. First of all, a scanner plotted the existing building as point cloud data. The resulting data were then transformed into a 3D model. Cooperation takes place via a shared data environment and open data files which are available in the cloud to all participants in the project. This simplifies progress checks, calculations, releases and coordinated cooperation between the participants. All alterations and extensions remain close to the original appearance of the listed original building, which stands on an area of 316 by 65 meters and is 25 meters high.

The building is a testimony to a period of economic expansion and digital transition. It was a trailblazer for digitization when it was originally built, and it still fulfills the same function today. The building of the Neckermann logistics center was a pioneering example of electronic data processing at the time, and this tradition is being continued today. The historic complex, which is situated close to the largest Internet hub in Europe, still plays a pioneering role with its new function as a data center.

Working Together for a Digital Future

The project developers, contractors, clients, participating companies, associations and universities presented 49 BIM projects and 11 academic research papers in their application for the BIM Award 2023. An expert jury decided the award winners on the basis of the exposés which were submitted.

“The research papers and projects covered by the award will benefit us all. They show the developments which have taken place in this area since the first BIM Awards in 2016. The applications are more explicit and forward-looking in the way they handle the project requirements, thus creating an added value over and above the intrinsic value of the project,“ points out Markus Eiberger, Board member of the association BIM Cluster Baden-Württemberg. The BIM cluster’s target is it to promote and offer the best possible networking opportunities for experts and all other interested parties in the region. “The BIM cluster aims to make it easier for all stakeholders to get to know the BIM method and to develop it further, both personally and in their business activities, and it also provides a platform for exchange and partnership,“ explains Markus Eiberger.

An increasing number of participants in the construction industry are working with BIM. However, the BIM method is often not anchored in a digitization strategy. In the Digital Park Fechenheim, the jury was convinced by the holistic overall planning process and the successful integration of a listed existing property and new construction into a digital project landscape. “The project is also a successful example of the motto of this year’s awards: BIM goes Green. Sustainability played a central role in the planning of the Digital Park Fechenheim – not least because of the preservation and change of use of an existing listed property,” says Markus Eiberger.

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