[Interview] BIM at the heart of Knauf Insulation Technical Solutions’ Strategy – Romain Carayol and Laura Raggi

It is always a pleasure to welcome a Product Manufacturer to ABCD blog, especially when it is a leader in its sector. This week, we are pleased to welcome the two specification managers of the Technical Solutions division of Knauf Insulation, Romain Carayol who manages the French market, as well as Laura Raggi, responsible for Italy, Iberia, UK and Latin America.

The technical Insulation division of Knauf Insulation deals with everything related to the insulation of HVAC pipes and ducts, or MEP (in English). Thanks to their BIM solutions, they have managed to facilitate the integration of insulating products into projects.

Hello Romain and Laura, welcome to ABCD Blog. Could you both introduce yourself, tell us about your background and explain your arrival and your respective roles at Knauf Insulation?

Laura:

I have been working at Knauf Insulation TS since 3 years after 15 years spent in HVAC and insulation companies. Now I am technical responsible and specification manager for Italy, Iberia, UK and Latin America. I implemented BIM in our business division.

Romain:

When I came out of graduate engineering school, I first worked in the automative industry, then in Hilti for 19 years and I’m now in Knauf Insulation Technical solutions since January. My job is to develop our relationship with specifiers in France and Belgium towards the industry and HVAC specialists.

For those who do not yet know the Knauf group, can you introduce it in a few words?

The Knauf Group is a family-owned company which originally produced conventional gypsum building materials. Today, the Knauf Group sells systems and complete solutions for the construction industry throughout the world. Knauf Insulation is one of the world’s most respected brands for insulation materials, with 30 years’ experience in the insulation industry and continuing rapid growth of the company.

Concerning the Technical Solutions Division, since when has it existed and what are its products?

Our plant in Novi Marof, which produces most of our TS products, is 40 years old. Our experience enables us to make energetically and structurally optimised insulation material products, that protect the environment. Our customers are mainly in the process industry, HVAC and shipbuilding.

Are you leader in your sector and how are your products innovative?

As one of the most relevant mineral wool manufacturer in technical insulation, we are offering our whole product range with our biological binder ECOSE® Technology, in both rock and glass mineral wool.

Renewable raw materials in the binding agents have replaced almost all fossil fuel-based materials. We therefore save energy, and reduce power consumption and CO2 emissions. As well as this, products with the formaldehyde-free binding agent have a high insulating efficiency for thermal comfort, and are also non-combustible for personal safety.

Mineral wool insulation materials with ECOSE® Technology therefore meet all of the relevant standards and also ensure for an excellent indoor air quality.

When was the BIM department created and for what reasons?

We have started to integrate BIM in our division one year ago, with the aim to help designers to enhance their projects with smart BIM solutions and high quality technical insulation products.

Was the first brick of BIM the creation of BIM objects for project managers? How many objects are we talking about and what types?

Yes, we started with our whole HVAC insulation and fire protection portfolio. We are able to create BIM objects also for other products on demand. All our solutions are available on our website here, but also on BIMObject.

Are they more architects, engineers or installers that use your BIM objects?

In most cases, MEP engineers and architects in design phase and to a lesser extent, installer companies in execution

Does BIM really help specifiers ?

Clearly, yes, since our BIM objects include all necessary informations on the product, including geometry of course but also information about certifications and thermal and mechanical properties. Including our products very soon in the project can help to prevent future problems as clashes or late changes in the design.

Did very strict regulations encourage you to push the subject of BIM?

Our BIM solutions were implemented at global level. For sure the national regulations about BIM in the different countries were determinant for its development in our company.

What benefits does BIM bring?

In more and more projects, in both HVAC and industry, energy efficiency is a key. To reach the ambitious project targets, high performance insulation is needed in limited thickness. If the insulation is not integrated in the design phase in the model, the problem could be unsolvable in the execution phase.

Knauf Insulation Technical Solutions plugin for Revit

BIM allows optimization in the earlier stages, hence better energy efficiency, which is good for the building energy performance and for the environment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In order to support specifiers during the designing phase, do you have also developed Dynamo nodes?

Yes, we have developed Revit Dynamo nodes to apply in a faster and easier way our insulation materials to pipes and ducts.  Our nodes are available for free and open to be customized by expert Dynamo users. They are available on our official website www.ki-ts.com or on BIMobject.com here and the tutorial is there. In the next months a new generation of KI TS Dynamo nodes will be available!

Do you have some nice references of projects where your BIMized solutions have been used?

 Our BIM solutions are more and more used in the projects and the references will be available on our website www.ki-ts.com

Do you know how many users use your BIM solutions worldwide? And which countries are the most dynamic?

 Our BIM solutions are used by thousands of specifiers in the world. South European and Central/Latin America countries are the most dynamic.

Do the countries where BIM is compulsory use your solutions more?

 Yes, sure. Local regulations are a powerful engine for BIM.

Is BIM at the center of the Knauf group’s strategy?

Absolutely !  It’s one of our key initiatives, both to bring better services for our customers and to develop our relationship with the specifiers. BIM will change the way the contruction industry players collaborate. As a leading supplier of building material and solutions, we have a role to play in this evolution.

What are your development projects for the future?

We are planning to develop a new generation of Dynamo nodes and BIM build-ups for our systems. We are in continuous investigation to stay innovative ! Follow us and discover our news !

Did you know ABCD Blog and what do you think about it?

(Romain) ABCD Blog is part of my morning routine : every innovation or new development happening is on ABCD : it’s an excellent source of info. Congratulations for that, Emmanuel 😉

Is there a message you want to convey to our readers?

Think BIM as soon as possible in your projects, don’t neglect the accessories and especially technical insulation that is an essential part of your projects!

Laura, Romain, thank you very much for your time and for this interesting presentation about your solutions. We wish you great success for the future !

Thank YOU Emmanuel for having us, long live ABCD Blog !

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