Loïc Thomas: another way to do my job
What is your background?
I am an engineer-architect, I studied in Lyon, at the INSA and the ENSA.
I was project manager for 4 years at GSE. Then I joined a design office, Bétom Ingénierie, with which I experimented with project management for all trades. In January 2017, I was recruited by OpenBox Co Design&Build as project manager.
How did you get to OpenBox?
I was looking for another way to do my job after these first professional experiences. Our job is to be an orchestra conductor, a project organiser, but I longed to do it differently: I thought that we could have a privileged relationship with the project owners, in confidence.
Meeting Bertrand Chabanne coincided with my desire to manage projects differently. The Co Design&Build proposal really struck a chord with me: Knowing that we can, as project owner and contractor, have the same interests and work together for the benefit of the project. To be side by side and not face to face...
What are your missions today?
Today, I am the operations manager.
I'm involved from the study phase of the bid by providing my expertise on the technical choices, carrying out the risk analysis and monitoring the submission of the bid. I organise the progress of the project and the workload of the teams, and I support the project managers on the operations. I ensure the consistency of the operations and guarantee their profitability.
I also participate in the development of the company's short and medium-term strategy to ensure that we remain focused on our guidelines and values.
Customer relations are also important and I ensure that transparency and dialogue are respected at all stages of the project.
I'm one of the oldest at OpenBox, I've seen the company being built: I have a bit of hindsight on what we've put in place, on our working methods that I can share, with the Co Design&Build guideline.
What do you appreciate at OpenBox?
The way this company works, which gives everyone a place. The Co Design&Build principle is also applied internally. We can propose ideas, to question choices, for the projects and also for the way the company operates, which allows us to be agile, to test, to change.
The decision chain is short, we talk about it, we think together and test.
A key word?
Trust: initiating new ideas, questioning the way things work, all this can be done because trust is established and cultivated. Your approach will immediately be well perceived, listened to, and considered in a positive and benevolent way.
Trust is the ideal framework for initiative, creativity, and the involvement of everyone.
An anecdote about OpenBox and its team?
I like our Friday morning meeting: everyone brings the croissants in turn, and we have a real moment together. Some of us are on video from a construction site. Then we have a weekly meeting where all useful information can be shared and discussed, about the projects, commercial leads, but also about internal operations and communication. We exchange and organise ourselves to move forward.
Do you have a passion?
I practice judo. I did it as a child until high school and I took it up again a few years ago. I have a black belt and I'm preparing my second dan.
Some people tell me that the way I am at work reflects my judo practice. It probably helps me to take things in perspective, step by step: in judo, you are sensitive to your environment, you listen to your opponent, and you adapt your attitude accordingly.
One of the founding principles of judo is Jita Yuwa Kyoei: Mutual aid and prosperity. It is the idea that a whole is more than the sum of its parts and it is a philosophy that I try to apply in my work.
Industrial wasteland in Lille Seclin
On a 50,000 m² plot of land, OpenBox will transform a brownfield site and build a 23,000 m² logistics centre in Lille-Seclin for P3 Logistics Parks.
Using former industrial wasteland avoids the artificialisation of new land. This project is part of a clear desire to participate in the objective of "zero net artificialisation" as Christophe Chauvard, Managing Director France at P3, points out.
"In view of the future objective of 'zero net artificialisation' set by the Climate Law and the Afilog charter to which we are a signatory, it is essential for P3 Logistic Parks to give priority to the rehabilitation of brownfield sites and the transformation of existing buildings. The future logistics centre in Seclin is a very good illustration and demonstration of our ability to redevelop former industrial sites, to accompany a cessation of activity by the seller and we are proud to be accompanied by innovative partners such as OpenBox on this project.
Demolition and asbestos removal work has begun.
Construction will start in September 2022: 4 cells and offices.
Delivery is scheduled for summer 2023.
The building aims to achieve Breeam Excellent certification and the BiodiverCity® label.
Project management: Kritéria Développement
Architect: A26 architectures
Congratulations to the finishers of the Run in Lyon half-marathon, Loïc, Thomas, Bertrand, supported by the whole OpenBox team!
Despite the bad weather and the wind, the atmosphere was there to accompany them!
Co-construction at OpenBox
At OpenBox , we are convinced that collective intelligence is a strength. This fall, we gathered out of the office, at La Bulle Work Place, to think and improve the way we work together, starting from our strengths. Transparency, agility and pugnacity are qualities that we nurture every day to satisfy our customers.
A graduate of the prestigious ESTP Civil Engineering school in Paris and holder of a Master of Science (Eng.) from the University of Birmingham, David Fitoussi, has, at the age of 49, 25 years of experience in the construction and engineering sector.
After 16 years working for general contractors (Bouygues first, then Vinci), notably as subsidiary manager, he joined the engineering and construction company SNC Lavalin, serving first as the head of their Lyon office and then as regional manager. In early 2017, when SNC-Lavalin was taken over by EDEIS, he was appointed deputy general manager in charge of the Building & Industry business.
In his new role as general manager of OpenBox, he will shape operations from design to successful completion and will be responsible for organising and managing the company.
His duties will also include helping to devise the strategic plan and to accelerate growth by diversifying products and services in tandem with Bertrand Chabanne, OpenBox's chairman.
“I was won over by Co Design&Build straight away,” said David Fitoussi. “You have to be bold to base your business on being innovative in the way you enter contractual relations with customers, but this is win-win for both parties! My aim is to support the development of OpenBox by drawing on my experience and encouraging agility, transparency and the inventive spirit that make the company DNA.”
“We are delighted to welcome David Fitoussi,” declared OpenBox's chairman Bertrand Chabanne,. “His technical skills, managing expertise and his contacts will enable us to nurture our strategic vision and pursue our growth goals.”
A duo of such entrepreneurs, benefitting from the support of the OpenBox team, perfectly encapsulates the founding values of the company: collaboration, co-construction and commitment.
A day at OpenBox
8:30am: I arrive by bike at OpenBox. A sunny day in Lyon, between Fourvière and the Incity Tower, is a real delight! I hope Clément hasn't forgotten the croissants. Thomas is walking in! Others take scooters from the nearby train station.
Loïc - Project manager on the move.
10:00am: A stand-up meeting with coffee in hand. It's my turn to take the lead. We do this every fortnight, it's our way of keeping every up to speed with what's going on, ironing out any little creases and taking quick decisions, from the most trivial (“how about we adopt a cactus?”) to the important operational ones about projects. In addition, we share our experiences. It may look chilled out but it can be serious stuff and we take notes for anyone who is absent. Everyone plays a part. Frédéric – Design Manager.
11:00am: I head over to the Pichon work site in Veauche. I have to get a status update about the ongoing work from Philippe, the site manager, and meet the client. I like the fact that my work is split between the office and the field. I'm going to check out the footbridge that has just been laid. It's very satisfying to participate in a project where the building's architecture and its integration into the landscape have been so carefully planned. Loïc – Project manager still on the move.
1:30pm: Companies have started replying to the invitation to tender for our latest development. I have to compile a shortlist. Good news, with a little optimisation, a few technical adjustments and some negotiation, I should be able to complete the necessary purchases within the budgets. Then we have to bring in the companies before making the final choice. In late afternoon I have a meeting to confirm the successful completion of our project in Meyzieu. Using Finalcad® for the removal of contingencies should make things go quicker.
Jean-Christian - Concentrated Projects Manager.
The day is over, and the last person out flicks the switch to off. Outside, Lyon, the city of light, is still bustling!
At the end of December 2018, the general shareholders' meeting of OpenBox approved the accounts closed on August 31st. For the third consecutive year, growth has been fundamental for OpenBox with turnover of more than €25m, up by 134%.
The company is being restructured and recently hired a new project manager, bringing the number of employees to eight. We are pursuing growth, but remain attentive to controlling our overheads. The economic model remains the same: we convert fixed costs into variable costs (support services provided by BEG Ingénierie) and our team is 100% operational. OpenBox can provide design/execution services at competitive prices thanks to a light and agile structure.
After Jadéo, GLD, Transports Charvin and the developer DCB Logistics, other companies have entrusted us with their projects, such as Papeteries Pichon (Manutan Group) and France Machines Outils. A big name in retail sector also entrusted us with the refurbishment of a platform in the Paris region in early 2019. We will soon start a 70,000 m² project in the west of France, and a 37,000 m² project in the Paris region.
OpenBox Co Design&Build currently manages more than 150,000 m² of works.
Thomas Mohr joins the team
Thomas Mohr joins the OpenBox Co Design & Build team as Project Manager. With a degree in Civil Engineering, Thomas Mohr capitalise more than 10 years' experience as Construction manager of logistics platforms and business buildings, acquired by two major design-builders.
He led 24,000 m² and 66,000 m² projects for Goodman, Prologis and Intermarché.
As Project Manager, he will lead Co Design & Build operations from design to SAV. He joins the OpenBox Technical team composed of 3 Project Managers and a Studies Manager.
Bertrand Chabanne's interview at the SIMI
At the SIMI, Salon de l'Immobilier d'Entreprise, Bertrand CHABANNE details the current and future projects of Openbox Co Design&Build.
A Design Department at OpenBox
OpenBox is growing and being restructured. Since April 2018, price studies, which had been partially outsourced until now, have been carried out internally by the newly created Design Department. We use the ATTIC + costing software.
“This software can set up an intelligent digital model and survey the measurements automatically as the project takes shape,” says Frédéric Lamblot, Head of Design.“ We can share our models with architects, clients and subcontractors, which improves efficiency. Moreover, internalising the price study enables us to be increasingly relevant in the responses we provide to our customers: technical details, options, resolution of inconsistencies, we review the project globally and transparently.“
In the process of being put in place following a first training session in September, this tool should be fully operational in early 2019.