Rob Roef

Rob Roef

First name: Rob

Middle name: BIM Captain

Last name: Roef

Chapter: Benelux

Role: Chair

Where do you live?

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Work history:

For a very long time I have been working at the intersections of BIM, Geo and digitization. In - mainly - commercially oriented professions I have been working for over 2 decades as an executive with software vendors. The last few years I have been connecting government, knowledge centers and businesses in construction and infrastructure.

How long have you been involved in openBIM and buildingSMART?

I have also been involved in buildingSMART for over 15 years, I remember when the association was founded in the Netherlands and I was soon assigned a role. Then I got "infected" with the IFC virus and it has really gotten to me in this time!

What do you like the most about your work in your chapter?

What I really like is that I am part of a connecting role between the different stakeholders in the sector. In my work I come into contact with many companies and institutions that need to exchange meaningful building information, through my role in our buildingSMART chapter I am well aware of the possibilities in this respect.

The greatest success achieved within your chapter?

We have recently taken a new course, more professionalized, focused on the actual implementation of projects. We take our role very seriously and make connections and drive the various working groups. Our staff has been very driven (and still is) but more and more initiatives that arise around in our region are joining or finding a home in our chapter.

What does openBIM mean to you?

I have written and lectured so much about this. Back in 2014 I promised to stop making a point of open BIM vs closed BIM (at that time I was also chair of our chapter by the way). I can only say one thing; OPEN BIM, IT WORKS!

What is the biggest challenge the community is facing today?

Collaboration between multiple disciplines happens with as much, and more, different software. Parties are still forced to connect to other, mostly closed, proprietary systems. It is now really time for an open community!

What challenges do you encounter in your country?

At the moment it is difficult for companies and organizations to determine which standard they will work with and who actually manages that standard. That has been one of the reasons to change our course and to become more prominent. buildingSMART Benelux wants to be a rock in the beacon that parties can rely on when it comes to BIM implementations.

What are the main opportunities for your market?

The Benelux in general and the Netherlands in particular have always been frontrunners in the adoption of open BIM. Belgium is playing catch-up (passing everyone) and the progress Luxembourg is making is unparalleled. I am really proud that our small region has proven to be so adaptive.

Digitalization is more and more present today; what do you do in your chapter to meet the challenges it poses:

As I mentioned, in the Benelux, digitization is no longer an issue. Everyone is working on it, on a large and small scale. Only by mobilizing and activating our community can we scale up and continue to support the sector.

What vision, as a chapter leader, would you give to the whole community?

What I really want to give away is that one should just start with BIM, take small steps forward instead of waiting. There are many obstacles, there really are, but it is an adventure that is always worth the effort.

What is your overall vision of the future?

On this I wrote a paper in 2021, as a co-author. I envision a network of predictive digital twins of all assets in our physical environment. BIM is - plain and simple - an important part of this. By means of semantic linked-data models we link FAIR data and make our living environment more liveable, sustainable and circular.

Would you like to add something else?

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In the past decades Rob has mainly worked on the intersections of management, commerce, marketing, operation, and finance. As chair of buildingSMART Benelux, co-chair of the Building Room and founder of the Airport Room of buildingSMART International, Rob has gained extensive international experience. He uses his experience in connecting people in his network and allows teams to work better together.