I was not familiar with Dalux until a reader wrote in to let me know that it was missing from the list of “Construction Management” solutions in the extended AECbytes VendorHub listing. While I went ahead and added it to the list, it also prompted me to check it out in more detail, and I found it a comprehensive suite of solutions, not just for construction management but also for facilities management. And it is, of course, BIM-based, as most AEC technology solutions developed recently are, so they can be built on top of an intelligent, object-based, building-aware platform. Additionally, Dalux is also entirely cloud-based, which again is almost a given for any modern application that needs to be collaborative, mobile-accessible, and available 24/7.
Dalux, the company, was founded in 2005 in Copenhagan, Denmark, based on research in computer graphics from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). It has since expanded to having offices in multiple locations in Europe and customers in close to 150 countries all over the world. A recent company statistic lists its current global user count as 300,000. The company is still the strongest in Europe, where 13 of the 50 largest contractors are using Dalux applications, according to another company statistic. More details about the history and timeline of the company is at https://www.dalux.com/about/. I was especially intrigued to know that all of Dalux’s technology development still takes place under one roof in Copenhagan, which is extremely unusual in this day and age. Also, it has no external investors, which again, for a modern-day technology company, is almost unheard of.
Because the founder of Dalux and many of its early employees came from academia and recognized the potential of model-based BIM technology to host the development of an intelligent platform for AEC technology, Dalux’s applications also got a shot in the arm from the early ratification of BIM by the Danish government. Denmark was the first country to legislate for BIM and it did this as early as in 2007. In 2010, it got more specific with new legislation, making BIM mandatory for construction projects above a certain size (Figure 1 shows an example). While the BIM mandate in Denmark may have come in too early to have the expected impact (see this article: https://www.bimplus.co.uk/bim-ma4ndate-lesso4n-den7mark/), it certainly helped that once more AEC developers and firms were educated on BIM, a natively-developed suite of solutions like Dalux was readily available for them to get started with their implementations.
Dalux has four main products: Dalux Box, Dalux Field, Dalux BIM Viewer, and Dalux FM.
Dalux Box is a cloud-based application for construction management, providing the CDE (common data environment) for the project team. All of the project information including BIM models, drawings, documents, etc., are uploaded to this shared server, from where they can be accessed by anyone on the team using a computer or mobile device (Figure 2). All the information can be associated with other information in the project repository using hyperlinks. Dalux Box also includes capabilities such as conducting reviews, adding markups, requesting changes, creating approvals, tracking project status, showing revisions, maintaining version history, etc. (Figure 3). Since all the project information is stored on the cloud, there is no duplication of content, and it always carries the most updated versions.
Dalux Field is primarily intended to be used for construction management on the construction site. It uses the project data that is in Dalux Box, building on it mobile-specific capabilities such as task management, issue management, snagging, real-time reporting, etc., that are commonly needed on the field (Figure 4). A recent addition to Dalux Field is Sitewalk, a reality capture of the construction site for site inspections and visual walkthroughs enabled by stitching together videos taken with a 360° camera mounted on a construction helmet. Another compelling feature is TwinBIM, which uses augmented reality to superimpose the BIM model on the live footage of the site viewed through a mobile device, making it easier to track progress and identify issues (Figure 5).
Both Dalux Box and Dalux Field have a viewer for BIM models, and Dalux provides a standalone version of this viewer for free. This is the Dalux BIM Viewer, and it allows models to be brought into the project in a variety of ways. IFC models can be directly imported, and there are also Dalux plug-ins for popular BIM applications like Revit, Archicad, Solibri, Tekla, and Navisworks to allow their models to be uploaded directly to the project. In addition to viewing and navigating the model, the Dalux Viewer includes capabilities such as sectioning, hiding and isolating elements, and viewing element properties. A neat capability is the ability to combine 2D and 3D views, as shown in Figure 6.
And finally, there is Dalux FM, which combines the BIM models and documents of the project into a consolidated system for facilities management once the construction is complete and the building is occupied. The entry point to the system is a map that provides a quick and graphical overview of the building portfolio with easy access to floor plans and the option to print out drawings as needed. There is an accompanying mobile app for conveniently accessing this map and navigating through buildings in 3D, as shown in Figure 7. Additionally, the mobile app allows the operations team to manage work orders, maintenance requests, order supplies, and keep track of scheduled maintenance. There is also a separate but associated app for the building occupants to create maintenance tickets easily and quickly by automatically detecting locations through GPS. Each ticket is automatically routed to the correct responsible Facility Manager based on location and topic.
As mentioned earlier, implementations of Dalux are growing around the world and the application is particularly strong in Europe where it is used by many of the leading contractors and FM firms including Multiplex, Jacobs, Ferrovial, Kajima, Ramboll, Cmb, and WSP Sweden, to name a few. For example, the construction giant Ferrovial, which is one of the world’s leading infrastructure operators and municipal services companies with more than 63,070 employees and a global presence in 6 main markets, is going to start implementing the new SiteWalk reality capture feature of Dalux Field to save time on checks and documentation and allow them to work more efficiently.
Other recent implementations, shown in Figure 8, include the use of Dalux’s TwinBIM augmented reality technology by SRV for a large project in Finland; the adoption of Dalux Field by Mostostal Warsaw across all of their projects; the adoption of Dalux FM by DTU (Technical University of Denmark) across its campuses allowing all students and employees to report issues and submit maintenance requests; the choice of DaluxFM by Danish cooperative DLG a.m.b.a. to manage building operations in their new head office in Fredericia, Denmark; the use of both Dalux Box and Dalux Field by YIT Slovakia for collaboration and construction management across their projects; and the use of Dalux FM by Loredo RES, a Warsaw-based property management company, to “stand out on the Polish market of FM services.”
I found Dalux to be a well-rounded and sophisticated suite of applications, extending into construction as well as facilities management. The accompanying mobile apps that make the project information available on phones are particularly well-developed and easy and intuitive to use, which is compelling as the use of phones for all tasks related to construction and facilities management — and life in general! — is only continuing to grow.
It is especially heartening to find cutting-edge BIM solutions being developed in different countries around the world so that AEC firms can have access to solutions developed closer to home as well as access and nurture development talent in their own backyards.
Lachmi Khemlani is founder and editor of AECbytes. She has a Ph.D. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, specializing in intelligent building modeling, and consults and writes on AEC technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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