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Drivers behind BIM Part 2

The article this week will follow on from lasts week’s article looking at the drivers behind BIM. This week I will focus on the NBS surveys from the last few years as well as looking at some of the industry take up and commitments towards BIM that has taken place recently.

wheel BIM

Drivers Behind BIM Part 1 can be found here

Another key driver in the push for wider adoption of BIM across the industry is the positive effects that BIM working practices will have in regards to delivering low impact sustainable buildings for the future, in an increasingly energy conscious time.  By increasing the BIM awareness and skills of the industry whilst at the same time parallel to these further increasing the industries abilities to analyse and design low impact buildings, the construction sector will be in the best position to contribute positively towards a low impact future.

The National BIM Report 2012 canvassed the opinions of over 1000 participants with differing levels of awareness and understanding of BIM for 2011. The results showed that 73% of participants agreed that the industry was simply not yet clear enough on what BIM actually was. Following on from this, NBS repeated the survey in 2012-13 titled the NBS National BIM Survey 2013, once again canvassing the opinions of the industry for the year 2012. The same question was asked and this time around 74% now felt that ‘the industry isn’t yet clear enough on what BIM is yet’, clearly with this continued statistic there is still further work to be done in regards to preparing the industry for full adoption of BIM.

Also highlighted within the findings was the lack of awareness amongst all participants. The National BIM Report 2012 established, “that awareness of BIM is (was) not universal, with 21% of participants stating that they were not aware of BIM (in 2011)”. In the repeated study, NBS National BIM Survey 2013 the same question was asked again, this time around however the number of participants ‘neither aware nor using BIM’ fell to 6%. This result is a marked improvement on previous years amongst the industry participants.  As good as an improvement as this last result is it would be somewhat counterproductive if the industry was to stand still in regards to BIM adoption and training. Similarly once again it would also be counterproductive if Higher Education institutions continued to allow graduates to leave university without any awareness of BIM themselves. I believe if this was to happen it could hinder the Government and the industry in their push for greater adoption of BIM.

Personally I feel it’s the responsibility of Governments, the firms who can realistically afford to, as well as Higher Education institutes to ensure that the necessary training is provided to enable graduates and existing professionals to succeed within an increasingly competitive industry, with a clear awareness and ability to work within a BIM working environment being one of those skills.  For those smaller companies who work to an ever increasing tighter staffing and technology budget I’m afraid I don’t have all the answers! Yes I feel that the smaller SME’s need to adapt to survive but at the same time I recognise the barriers. What is encouraging is various funding schemes that are popping up to assist SME’s with CPD funding etc. such as the Sustainable Building Futures (SBF) based in Coventry to assist SME’s in and the Midlands region.

http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/

http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/

The extent to which BIM is adopted across the construction industry depends on whether industry leaders buy into the Governments sentiments. Currently major players within the industry are making strong drives towards the adoption of BIM, with some already delivering projects at maturity level 2. Balfour Beatty has recently invested a considerable amount of funds into the adoption of BIM across their company. In 2012 Balfour Beatty “signed a three year, $12 million agreement that will help Balfour Beatty expand its adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM)” balfourbeatty (2012). Capita, formally known as Capita Symonds soon to revert back to Capita!, have also been investing heavily in the adoption of BIM they announced last year that from  “July 2012 all its new design projects will use BIM Level 2 as standard” capitasymonds. (2013). The Royal BAM Group have also recently signed a three year contract worth “(£2.8m) with software firm Autodesk to provide Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology across its global operations, including all BAM projects in the UK” building (2013). Speaking about the deal in October 2012, BAM Construct Design & Marketing director Chris Gilmour stated that BIM would be used across all projects, “Not just special projects – no matter how big or small the project, we will be fully embedding BIM” www.building.co.uk (February 2013). This review of the construction industry is by no means exhaustive; it is however a small indication of the commitment that industry is making towards adopting BIM.

So as you can see there are many factors at stake when we talk about the drivers behind BIM, whether it be Government, Industry or Education they all have a big part to play in the future of the construction sector. What are your thoughts on BIM, do you believe enough is being done push forward with BIM? Also do you feel it’s he to stay, or is it just another buzzword or phase that will pass?

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What does openBIM, IFC’s and COBie actually mean for BIM?

This weeks article looks at giving a brief explanation of OpenBIM, COBie and IFC’s whilst also asking a few questions on what all this means for the future of software vendors. What does openBIM, IFC’s and COBie actually mean for BIM?. With Autodesk holding a 63% (NBS National BIM Survey) share of the CAD drawing market what affect will this have on open BIM for the future? What does open BIM actually mean and what are these COBie files that we keep hearing about? With these points in mind this week’s article will focus on open and closed BIM and the interoperability of BIM software as well as asking one or two questions about what all this means for the future of an open BIM collaborative working environment.

Closed BIM generally refers to when BIM processes are carried out on a single platform whereas open BIM refers to when the BIM environment crosses multiple platforms regardless of the software vendor, in essence an ‘open’ shareable design environment using open standard data.

To achieve an open BIM project environment information needs to be shared/exported to a non-proprietary format, such as IFC’s. Currently there are strong opinions and voices behind the drive towards open BIM with the Government specifying in the BIS-BIM-strategy-Reports that Maturity Level 4 BIM should achieve “Fully open process and data integration enabled by IFC/IFD.” Many individual BIM experts are also pushing for the drive towards an open standard BIM future.
Sourced from - BIS-BIM-strategy-Report (2011) BIM Data integration COBie IFC

Sourced from – BIS-BIM-strategy-Report (2011)

To briefly explain what IFC data formats are, they are in essence an ‘open’ and neutral data format which set a data standard which if utilised can assist in the ‘interoperability’ between software packages. As stated by BuildingSMART  “Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) are the open and neutral data format for openBIM.” The data standard which has been developed by Building SMART international, if adhered to enables for the exchange of models and information between multiple software types, in essence achieving interoperability.

Interoperability is a significant word which if involved in BIM already you will be more than familiar with, if not it’s something that you will begin to understand the significance as you progress further into the world of BIM. For files and models to be shared and merged amongst multiple analysis tools and offices they need to be ‘interoperable’. If software packages have the ability to be interoperable then it means that time can be saved through not having to continually redevelop new building geometry for each tool that you wish to utilise to carry out your various analysis.  The importance of this interoperability of files and models across all the teams involved within a BIM project is a pressing concern within BIM which is continually being intensely developed.  Interoperability is a key factor that needs to be drummed home when considering BIM and is seen as being a key component in the future success of BIM projects and needs to be carefully considered at every step.

If the work produced by varying teams is carried out and outputted in an interoperable manner then it allows for multiple teams to work collaboratively on a project without necessarily holding the same software skills and licences. When reading and encountering BIM these are key words that you will soon become familiar with; interoperability, collaborative working, shareable data, data integration, IFC’s, data sharing protocols to name a few….all of these words and terms hope to lead the construction industry to one place, a ‘fully open process’ and working environment.

COBie is another tool that is also vastly becoming synonymous with BIM. COBie is a tool which allows for a multitude of non-graphical data and information to be stored in an organised manner, in essence a spreadsheet. All of this data can then be handed over to the client/facilities management department allowing for easy access to a multitude of details post-completion without having the unenviable task of sifting through a mass of fragmented documentation looking for specific details such as the manufacturer’s contact details of a door handle! With COBie the intention is that all of this information can be kept in an up-datable database which can be easily accessed and kept up to date throughout the whole life cycle of a building, from concept through to demolition. Interesting further reading on COBie can be found at NBS by Stephen Hamil.

Sourced from http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/cobie-uk-2012/ BIM COBie Spreadsheet

Sourced from http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/cobie-uk-2012/

It is argued that this topic of interoperability of file formats and software packages will be a major factor in determining BIM’s success and whether it’s a smooth transition from isolated design practices to a truly collaborative BIM environment. Software programmes such as REVIT can sometimes be referred to as closed BIM, but I feel this is not a clear defined point as REVIT does have the capability to export file types in the ‘open’ BIM IFC format which allows for interoperability between designs and models. For instance REVIT can export all of the information and modal data from REVIT in the IFC data format which can then be imported into various other software packages, beyond the Autodesk circle of software.  So with this in mind you have to be careful when considering what is truly open BIM and what is closed BIM as the boundaries are not always clear.

The voices behind ‘open’ BIM are actively encouraging BIM practitioners to utilise the IFC data formats and open BIM standards, with part of the hope that no one software vendor will have a monopoly on the market. According to the recent NBS NationalBIM Survey 2013, within the scope of their research pool Autodesk currently hold a 63% share of the CAD drawing market so clearly they have a large proportional share of the market. What will be interesting over the years to come will be to see how this large market share affects the progression and evolution of BIM in the coming years. Will Autodesk’s share open up or close down the interoperability of BIM? Are Autodesk going to be happy to push forward with open BIM or is it in their interest to actually tie practitioners into their product package? This is something that will be interesting to see how it pans out and how far down the open BIM road BIM can progress with Autodesk and the other software contenders a clear defining factor in how ‘open’ BIM becomes.

 

To collaborate efficiently with a goal at reducing cost, time and carbon central to the ethos of BIM then in my opinion surely we need to push forward with an open approach to BIM sharing standards. I feel that with the research being continually progressed by the likes of BuildingSMART, NBS and the OPEN BIM Network as well as many others a collaborative open BIM future is possible and with the likes of the big guns within the software industry supposedly on board than surely it’s just a case of how do we get there rather than should we head in that direction?

 

Do you feel an open BIM future is or should be the only way forward for BIM or do you think one software vendor will end up ruling the roost and lock down the market? Please feel free to add to the discussion further.

 

Information/opinions posted on this site are the personal views of the author and should not be relied upon by any person or any third party without first seeking further professional advice. Also, please scroll down and read the copyright notice at the end of the blog.

 

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What is BIM? Part 2 – Building Information Modelling and BIM Maturity Levels

It’s clear that BIM’s popularity is on the rise, with an estimated 47% of the participants who took part in the NBS National BIM Survey 2013 stating that at some point they had reached Level 2 BIM. What I’m interested in hearing this week is how far down the BIM maturity levels are you today and what gains do you feel BIM tools and protocols are bringing to your design and management processes? A look at the BIM levels of maturity and BIM for Professions ;
 
How we use BIM tools can differ depending on each each party involved, whether you’re coming from an Architects point of view or whether you’re looking at it from the Facilities Management angle, what gains you take away from following BIM practices can vary. Some of you out there may see and use BIM tools purely to enhance the communication of 3D designs in an isolated design environment.  While others may be at BIM ‘Maturity Level 1’, still preferring to work in 2D yet adopting the ‘Information’ protocol aspects of BIM to enhance file based collaboration. According to the NBS National BIM Survey 2013  47% of you out there have already at some point reached BIM ‘Maturity Level 2’, which is great news for BIM. Within the same NBS National BIM Survey 2013  8% stated that they have reached the iBIM Level 3 of maturity at some point, working within a fully collaborative and integrated environment, does this mean the future is surely bright for?
 
The UK Government has mandated that all public building projects will have to be using BIM design processes at level 2, fully collaborative 3D BIM with Library Management, or higher by 2016. To briefly outline the levels of maturity to give you a general idea of what all this means here is the BIS-BIM-strategy-Reportsmaturity level definitions;

Sourced from - BIS-BIM-strategy-Report (2011) BIM maturity Level BIM task group

Sourced from – BIS-BIM-strategy-Report (2011)

0.Unmanaged CAD probably 2D, with paper (or electronic paper) as the most likely data exchange mechanism.

 
1.Managed CAD in 2 or 3D format using BS 1192:2007 with a collaboration tool providing a common data environment, possibly some standard data structures and formats. Commercial data managed by standalone finance and cost management packages with no integration.
 
2.Managed 3D environment held in separate discipline “BIM” tools with attached data. Commercial data managed by an ERP. Integration on the basis of proprietary interfaces or bespoke middleware could be regarded as “pBIM” (proprietary). The approach may utilise 4D Programme data and 5D cost elements.
 
3.Fully open process and data integration enabled by IFC / IFD. Managed by a collaborative model server. Could be regarded as iBIM or integrated BIM potentially employing concurrent engineering processes.
 
This week additional to briefly discussing the Levels of BIM I’m going to be giving a brief outline of how BIM tools can assist a differing selection of disciplines;
 
BIM for Architectural Design and Modelling
As many are aware BIM models can be used to allow the designer to present and communicate 3D designs in a clear, easily accessible way for all to see. BIM models and information analysis packages provides a platform for multiple discipline teams to analysis, interrogate and navigate the project further, beyond the limitations of 2D design. Once the information is data dropped to the core model further clash detection analysis can take place, reducing issues and conflicts. As discussed earlier having all of the information centralised in one core model will inevitably lead to improved design and document efficiency. It is these added values that take BIM beyond that of a simple 3D visual model.
 
Sourced from- www.arupassociates.com ARUP BIM Structure Model ECB Coventry

Sourced from- www.arupassociates.com

BIM for Structural Modelling and Analysis

BIM software can assist the structural designer in their analysis of the structural performance of a structure. Employing one core structural model means that there is no need for multiple models to be created for each different structural analysis that’s needed. Time is saved through not having to continually transcribe information from one design package to another. All the related information to the project can then be easily shared and accessed by multiple project disciplines.
 
BIM for MEP Modelling, Detailing and Energy Analysis
Creating MEP details in a BIM model allows building service engineers’ and Architectural designers alike to be able to visually appreciate how the services within a design relate to the building as a whole, ensuring that clashes and issues are identified early on. Using MEP and energy analysis software many analytical programmes can be run to test the overall efficiency of the design. This should result in a circle of design – analysis – redesign, with an aim at establishing the most energy efficient design at as early stage as possible.
 
BIM for Programming and Scheduling (4D BIM)
BIM 3D models can be utilised to assist contractors in the programming and scheduling of BIM projects. This is achieved by adding programming and time data to a BIM project, once the data is married to the building project then the 4D programming schedule can be established. The 4D programme can then be used to assist contractors and designers to improve and refine the schedule of the project.
 
BIM for Quantity Schedules and Costing Information (5D BIM)
Quantity Surveyors and Designers are able to produce accurate quantity schedules and cost information for building projects. Standardised data can also be integrated into BIM models ensuring that all the building components meet the required Building Regulations. Your probably picking up on the theme here…. all of this information can then be stored and accessed within the BIM core model by all those involved in the project.
 
BIM for Facilities and Asset Management (6D BIM)
The management processes and time that it takes for a facilities management team to continually assess and maintain their asset stock can be considerable.  For instance if you think of a University estates team, with tens of buildings to manage trying to find a detail specification of a fixture or fitting in a building that was built 40 years previous you can imagine, it can be a tough task. Having all of the information available within one core model could be invaluable, at the click of a button the details, manufacturer, performance criteria and cost could be accessed almost instantaneously.

How far down the road of the BIM maturity levels do you feel you or your offices are at today? What gains if any, do you feel that BIM tools and protocols are bringing to your design and management processes within your working environment?
 
Feel free to comment and discuss the topic further.  
 
Information/opinions posted on this site are the personal views of the author and should not be relied upon by any person or any third party without first seeking further professional advice. Also, please scroll down and read the copyright notice at the end of the blog. 
 

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