Founded in 2000, Urban Platform provides an operational platform that aims to build a European centre of creative and technological expertise with the capability for innovative, sustainable urban and architectural projects on any scale. Read more in this fascinating interview with one of its founders, Cédric Franck.

Cédric, thank you for welcoming us.
Who is Urban Platform (UP) today?

We are a team of 18 people, including 4 partners. We operate in Belgium, particularly in Brussels and Flanders, with some projects in Wallonia. Two thirds of our projects are in the private sector. We create residential projects, community facilities and urban planning studies.

The firm’s name is the result of a profound reflection about the way we work.

UP aims to be at the centre of a project team – a platform of expertise – for which it provides the guiding thread, deploying its architectural expertise. Urban settings add a complexity that we value, because complexity stimulates creativity within this platform.


This vision immediately guided our choice of tools.

To facilitate this teamwork, compatibility with our project partners is essential. For producing the plans, the initial choice was naturally AutoCAD, which we’d been using for 15 years. But by thinking in 2D, we reduced architectural expertise, which is intrinsically 3D. In addition, in 2D, the number of sections is even more limited and there is a good chance that a section will be missing in several critical areas. For 2 years, we had been thinking about how to adapt our tools to 3D so we could gain a more accurate picture of the completed project.

Is that when you began to consider BIM?

There were several incentives: private sector clients were beginning to announce their future requirements in this area, and the sector was increasingly talking about it. The trigger was the fact that the public sector was beginning to demand a BIM process in its contracts. So we embarked on an active strategy of evaluating the solutions available.



What were your selection criteria?

In terms of functionalities, most of the software was more or less equivalent. But we had key criteria around the capacity to interact with project partners, the availability of trained staff and development opportunities abroad. We talked to all our partners and went through CVs with a fine tooth comb: Revit stood out.


By calling on TASE,

we have been able to find a suitable solution for every project situation: online assistance, training, coaching, modelling subcontracting.

This was followed by a gradual implementation phase.

The transition will have taken a good year. It includes the progressive training of all employees in Revit, and the conversion of projects not yet underway from AutoCAD to Revit. The team is young and enthusiastic! I should say that before being trained in the tool, we gave employees a grounding in BIM methodology, so that they could assess what they needed to learn. Today, every new project starts in Revit.


The benefits of BIM rapidly became clear.

Firstly, the architects can spend more time doing their job, rather than coordinating their documentation. In a profession that is becoming more complex, this is vital. Secondly, 3D modelling highlights a multitude of technical issues to be resolved. Finally, 3D is used for design and communication work at 4 levels: validation of the design, reflection as a team, collaboration with partners and with the client, and external communication for marketing purposes.

Support in implementing BIM has proved useful.

By calling on TASE, we have been able to find a suitable solution for every project situation: online assistance, training, coaching, modelling subcontracting. We know that we can rely on TASE for the next steps, which is extending BIM to all project phases, exporting measurements, perhaps in combination with the C3A tool, and finally collaboration in BIM with design consultancies. We encourage you to call on TASE too!