Nickolai Dubovitsky (Bentley Systems): Russia may not only step but jump forward in infrastructure construction

Nickolai Dubovitsky (Bentley Systems): Russia may not only step but jump forward in infrastructure construction
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What is the future for the application of BIM technologies in Russia

Infrastructure construction has been in the focus of the authorities’ attention lately. According to Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities, Mikhail Menn, next year the government intends to support infrastructure projects. Director General of «Bentley Systems in Russia and CIS», Nickolai DUBOVITSKY, speaks on the industry’s condition and the place of BIM technologies in it.   


Mr Dubovitsky, how long has the Bentley Systems company been present on the Russian market and what are its missions? 

— The company was founded in 1984.

Since then, for almost ten years, we have tried to convince our customers to introduce and use advanced technologies in the sphere of infrastructure designing, construction and operation in Russia.


— How do you assess the condition of infrastructure construction in Russia? There are different points of view in this regard, including those that are not very positive…

— These evaluations are partly fair because the infrastructure level in Russia is well below that in Western Europe and the USA. I do not think that it is dramatic, but the infrastructure could still develop faster on the whole. And I am glad to see that it has been paid more attention lately. 

As a Moscow citizen, I can say that three years ago the infrastructure here was quite different, and much has improved. The reconstruction of outbound routes and new hubs have made the Moscow road network more convenient. 

— They say: «There is Moscow and there is the rest Russia». Do you see the same tendencies in the regions?

— There is also development in the regions. For example, one of the most interesting projects concerning water supply and water discharge systems’ management has been implemented in Ufa.

The local enterprise has developed a model making it possible to localize leaks and emergencies in several minutes. Besides this, they save electricity power and money due to the use of a hydro-model.

Ufa is situated at different ground levels, and pumps are used to deliver water to the upper levels. Due to the model’s quality they have managed to calculate the consummation peaks and to optimize the work.


— The infrastructure investments are long-term ones. What is the attitude of state and private investors towards infrastructure projects in Russia? 

— Our company annually analyses the top 500 companies and organisations owning infrastructure. The strongest 10 include 4 companies from the USA, three companies from the EU and three from BRICS, representing Russia, Brazil and China. 42% of these 500 organisations are localised in the USA. Russia is in the 11th place with 3%.

So, the share of large infrastructure objects and their owners in Russia is not proportional to the territory or economy size and is smaller than in the USA, China, Japan, Great Britain, Canada and France.

Thus, there is potential for development.


— Are there concerns that the results of your work in Russia will not be as good when taking into account the stagnation of the Russian economy?

— Of course, the economy has become more complicated. But I do not think it is stagnation. From my standpoint, there is some reconfiguration taking place at present, with inefficient projects, technologies and companies leaving the market. And vice versa, the projects with a distinct economy and using efficient software products receive support and develop.

The project of the reconstruction of the M-7 “Don” highway by the “Avtodor – Engineering” company may serve as an example. The project makes it possible to both optimise the expenses for the reconstruction and to calculate the optimal way of the large infrastructure object’s operation.


— Are you interested in it because it is a unique project each time?

— We are interested in it because the return of this work is rather high, and we have international experience which we can offer for such objects. These are such complicated tasks that the functional opportunities characteristic of Bentley software and the requirements conditioned by the object’s nature are very well combined.

For example, designing the platform for the Filanovsky depot on the Caspian sea used the most complicated equipment containing thousands of joints and assemblies. And there must be a powerful system to create the model, and that’s to say nothing of its support and maintaining all the attributive information necessary for the construction, expenses’ optimization, work sequence scheduling, etc. 


We may speak of both large-scale things and common construction because BIM technologies are becoming popular…

— And what do you mean saying BIM?


Computer simulation of the construction process and the control of all its stages from inside the office …

— I like the way you are wording it, because we often come across the understanding of BIM as an intellectual model of an object, meaning that it is a 3D-model with some additional attributes. 

Our company perceives BIM as an informational model of an object that makes it possible to transfer and distribute the attributive information about an object collected at the stage of designing and at different stages of the life-cycle (construction, operation).


How do BIM technologies take root in Russia and are there any peculiarities of their implementation in our country?

— We are now passing through the stage of a big public discussion on the process whereby the understanding of what BIM is is being formed. And there then appear real projects for infrastructure objects providing control of the entire attributive aggregate assembly during the course of the whole life cycle. 

For example, the Complex system of the road traffic organization, which is the project based on the Bentley GIS-platform containing all information about the road infrastructure, marking, traffic signs and parking spaces inside the Third Transport Ring Road in Moscow. It makes it possible to schedule the traffic online and support the actual transport infrastructure from the engineering standpoint. 


— How do you assess the Construction ministry’s initiative to make the application of BIM compulsory at the state order construction sites?

— The RF Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities is interested in decreasing expenditure and increasing efficiency. And. as far as we are concerned, they may expect full support. I think it is good that such a decision may be adopted at the governmental level.

It is surely an innovative approach of the Ministry, which will positively influence the industry. 


What are the prospects of  infrastructure construction development and the use of high technologies in Russia? What are you expecting in 2017?

— As a citizen of Russia, of course, I’m expecting that both I and my children will live in more comfortable conditions. I consider infrastructure to be the most important factor determining life in the country.

And though we represent an American company, all our employees are Russian citizens and, of course, we shall do all our best to apply world experience in Russia with greater efficiency for the Russian economy. 

We can make not a step but even a leap forward if we apply the experience accumulated for decades, and we shall avoid a number of mistakes and gain an economic advantage. Thus we shall move to the next stage of development from the viewpoint of infrastructure readiness for business tasks and the life quality growth of the population.


— Would you please say some words about yourself? Do you have enough time for both work and family?

— I am busy with what I like. That is why I do not separate my work from my life and family. I think I’ve got a good balance between work and home, and my family support me.

If you like your work, you will manage all the difficulties. And I do like it!

Thank you. I wish you all success in your business!