Nemetschek Acquires dRofus—Could Become “Group” BIM Collaboration Platform

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dRofus is the second Scandinavian software company Germany’s Nemetschek SE has acquired in the past year. dRofus is the maker of a SaaS software product of the same name that is subscription based and quite popular in the healthcare and airport construction and facilities management (FM) markets. The Nemetschek Group this month acquired the Olso, Norway, headquartered company in an all-cash deal for EUR 24.5 million.

MORE: Open BIM Proponent Solibri Gets Acquired by Nemetschek Group

Nemetschek SE has been razor-focused on BIM (Building Information Modeling) software acquisitions for years and continues to grow out its AEC company holdings. dRofus AS operates globally with 2016 annual revenues projected at EUR 4.5 million.

“dRofus is a perfect strategic fit for the Nemetschek Group,” says Patrik Heider, Spokesman of the Nemetschek SE. “With the commitment to Open BIM, we share the same business paradigm. I am convinced that the well-known presence of the Nemetschek Group can support dRofus in expanding internationally,” adds Heider.

dRofus’ Beginnings—Planning Consultation to BIM

dRofus grew out of a Norwegian planning consultancy focused on hospitals, Nosyko. In 2011 Nosyko established a separate software company, with wholly owned subsidiaries in Sweden, the US, and Australia. In the latter country dRofus has made a significant impact. In Australia, Health Infrastructure has selected dRofus as its planning and data management platform to be used across its over AU$4.4 billion portfolios of health facilities projects.

01 – Nemetschek SE acquires dRofus of Norway and further advances its BIM software company holdings. The BIM collaboration tool may server longer-term group-wide goals across its Open BIM industry standard tool chains.

dRofus has already established a dominant position in the construction of healthcare facilities and airports; its customer base includes public and private building owners, designers, planners, architects, engineers, and contractors. Its subscription renewal rate is nearly 100%.

Through global BIM initiatives and government regulations, building owners are meanwhile taking a leading position in the adoption of BIM technologies. dRofus has become the BIM tool for building owners, helping them with the process of investing in new facilities.

Complementing At First—Possible Group BIM Hub Later

One of the key weaknesses the Nemetschek Group’s BIM portfolio has is its lack of a centralized, vendor-neutral, BIM Collaboration platform that is fully modern in the sense of being cloud-based and plural device friendly. Autodesk, Bentley, and Trimble all have such offerings.

In their press release, Nemetschek noted that dRofus is a “complimentary tool” to all Nemetschek solutions and in particular, as noted above, Open BIM friendly. The SaaS-based offering could serve as the basis for a common BIM collaboration tool.

How It Works—

From an architect or engineer’s perspective, dRofus enables the integration of one’s BIM application (at the moment Revit and ARCHICAD (stylized in all caps)). This is accomplished via dRofus plugins for those BIM programs. The owner plans, creates, and manages building data at a programmatic level, specifying all requirements on a room by room level, including FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment), or by a systems level.

The program supports room data sheets (RDS) and finishes and systems data. Bi-directional support via IFC enables architects with BIM models to check for quantities and proper programmatic assignments.

dRofus works via modules, each doing specific things. There is a Punch List module, for example, workable via a web-based system on a mobile device or computer. There are also procurement and delivery functions in separate modules. Architects and FM pros can use the Graphical Functional Planner for architectural planning.

IFC Model Server

For dRofus to fit the role played by tool wide BIM collaboration solutions like Trimble’s Connect or Autodesk’ BIM 360, dRofus would need to somewhat advance its capabilities at the 3D BIM model level.

Currently, the program integrates an IFC Model Server, which is a special edition from another company called Jotne also of Norway. That model server technology is fully buildingSMART certified and open standards compliant. And Jotne’s technology offerings look impressive. Its customers include organizations like Lockheed Martin.

However, rivals have model technology that allows for more advanced functions, such as live sectioning and more robust support on mobile platforms. Yet, Jotne’s technologies are not only standards-compliant (e.g., ISO certifications for data exchange, etc. ) but the core technology is also available in SDK kits. The EDMmodelServer for BIM using IFC is a “ready-made” end-user application, but dRofus says their kit is a “special edition” implying there is customization. It would then seem possible to add more customization to meet the unique needs of dRofus and its parent company’s needs long term.





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