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How MBG used BIM 360 to enable collaboration in the medieval centre of Bruges

MBG is one of the largest construction companies in Belgium. The firm operates across the region and puts innovation, quality and flexibility at the heart of their delivery. MBG have been delivering successful projects since 1880, where they were involved in the construction and delivery of new rail and tram lines across Belgium. Since then, their operations have grown to support the delivery of major infrastructure projects in the residential, healthcare, office and retail sectors.


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The problem

In the UNESCO listed medieval city centre of Bruges, MBG are delivering the build of the Beursplein and Congresgebouw– a brand new exhibition hall and conference centre. Designed by renowned Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, the 4,480 square-metre hall will serve as a space for exhibitions, conferences, trade fairs, concerts, and other events. Part of the design includes being able to open up the space into a public square delivering a unique offering that is both urban and neighbourhood orientated. As well as an auditorium, dining area, and reconfigurable meeting rooms, the building will also play host to a terrace that provides elevated views over the Bruges skyline.

Due to open in January 2022, the new building will occupy the site of a recently demolished exhibition hall that was built in Bruges as a temporary structure more than 50 years ago. The project has a rich environmental design – recycled brick lamellas will make up the building’s front elevation. This will be partially obscured by a line of mature beech trees that have typified the Beursplein for many decades and will be preserved throughout the build. The entire building rests on a glass pedestal with metal frames and fixtures, enhancing the transparency of the ground floor and emphasising the public character of the covered square.

MBG, one of the largest construction companies in Belgium for several decades, are the main contractor for this project and were tasked with finding a technology solution that allows several collaborators and contributors on the project to work in one common data environment. Nelis Van Loock, BIM Manager for the set up of this project, knew that the right technology would be key to the successful and smooth delivery of the new buildings .

From the outset the project was approached in a unique way – the contractor, design and delivery team came together to establish their ways of working and plan their delivery collaboratively ensuring strong teamwork was at the heart of their approach. However, finding one solution that allows for a number of contributors from a variety of different organisations isn’t always easy so Nelis tasked Arkance Systems to help them identify the best technology solution to suit their project delivery needs.

The Solution

Arkance Systems offer integrated solutions for architecture, engineering, construction and manufacturing customers with subject-matter expertise on solutions that cover the complete project lifecycle. They entered into a partnership with MBG to help explore technologies which could provide them with the outcomes they were looking for. They discovered that BIM 360 would help them deliver this project successfully. Nelis had used BIM 360 to manage the design and build on a number of other projects with MBG but he needed to make sure the project was set up in the most collaborative way possible since the very beginning.

In transitioning from the bid to mobilisation stages, Arkance Systems helped Nelis to upskill colleagues from MBG, as well as supply chain partners, in using the technology. They were able to offer support in localising content and training relevant to MBG’s market and project needs.

It was imperative that the project team understood how to use BIM 360 and how they’d be required to use it on the Beursplein and Congresgebouw project so that up-to-date project documentation and information was stored in one place. “We supported the project team to localise the training content for users so that the team could easily understand how to use BIM 360 quickly and without any issues,” says Anthony Kennes, Arkance Systems project lead.

“BIM 360 was the best solution for us as first and foremost, it could be used as a communication platform for everyone working on the project”, says Nelis. “We have a number of supply chain partners working together here and we also wanted to be able to give our customer access to the systems we’re using. BIM 360 does all this and more,” remarks Nelis.

The project team use BIM 360 to store project documentation, mark up drawings and resolve issues as well as assigning tasks to the team.


The project is still in delivery mode; construction on site began in August 2019. “Already we’re seeing the benefits of using BIM 360 at MBG so we’re looking at rolling it out on more and more projects over time. My colleagues say they find it easy to use – the navigation is simple and it’s easy to retrieve documents using the search functionality,” states Nelis.

MBG have been able to use BIM 360 to provide a virtual site walkthrough for their customer, the City of Bruges. Nelis says, “The project team like how BIM 360 offers visualisations for the building owner which helps them understand the progress and the implications of any changes in real-time which again improves communication, understanding and collaboration.”

MBG are now using BIM 360 on approximately 80% of their design and build projects. “The sub-contractors working on the Beursplein and Congresgebouw building have also found that using improved technology solutions like BIM 360 has led to time savings.

Many of them have estimated that they’ve been able to make time savings of around 10% through clash detection; they’ve also noted that project delivery and execution has been a lot smoother because there is one place everyone involved in the project goes to on anything related to the delivery, reducing any errors or problems with miscommunication,” remarks Nelis.

Quotation mark

"We don’t really use emails anymore on this project, we do everything in BIM 360. Incidents and issues can be logged and tracked in the software, and it’s easy to see our progress against resolving these in BIM 360."

- Nelis Van Loock BIM Manager

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