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In simple terms Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a paradigm shift within the construction industry. It is moving the industry from an analogue age to digital. BIM encapsulates a code of practice that brings a standardised approach and classification to the built environment. It is an approach that can be used for buildings and/or infrastructure. The true intention of BIM is ultimately to reduce waste and add value.
To date, BIM is described as Building Information Modelling, use of the term modelling has resulted in confusion for many practitioners leading them to think ‘I need a model to do BIM’. In fact, BIM is more concerned with Information Management than Information Modelling.
Within the context of Information Management, there are two considerations;
1. Structure information so it is shareable-IFC, gbXML, Excel.
2. Decide what information is required, when, who produces it, who will use it for what. (Please visit CIBSE’s BIMTalk Glossary for more information).
BIM Level 2, as mandated on all centrally funded public projects from April 2016 (England) and 2017 in Scotland, is a project based requirement. The mandate requires projects to be set up so the information can be shared. The right information accessible at the right time to the right people.
Many practitioners consider BIM to be a tool, an application, when in fact BIM refers to an environment within which various tools and processes are applied. It has been easier for organisations to invest in technology to ‘do BIM’ than to effect the sort of organisational change that true BIM exploitation requires.
Is there sufficient understanding/appetite/momentum within the industry for the scale of change required to fully exploit BIM? There is a mandate but few construction clients understand their role in setting out their Information Requirements (EIR) in a BIM brief at the start of the project and are led by the industry and their suppliers into paying more for 3D models that are of very little value downstream, particularly from an FM perspective. What we see is ‘new’ technology shoehorned into existing process and that is the fundamental issue currently causing frustration amongst our customers.
Bim4Analysis is a campaign to integrate analysis within the BIM process, enabling VE users to take advantage of valuable information during design, commissioning and operation. The strategy is concerned with implementing BIM as a mechanism to deliver Value, Cost and Carbon Improvement on all projects.
The holy grail is a single workflow. From an engineering perspective this means engineers inputting information into a 3D model format to inform coordination. When the coordinated layout changes the update is seamless and bi-directional. There is currently no robust solution on the market to facilitate this. Engineers use a mix of formats including spreadsheets – uncontrolled, inconsistent; standalone analysis and some integrated analysis (eg MagiCAD).
We consider the VE as a single platform for creation and capture of performance data useable and useful during design, commissioning and operational life of the building. Compliance (Part L, BREEAM, LEED) is a necessity on most projects. Currently this requires a separate workflow to Design. Our solution is to develop a single ‘analysis’ model from the BIM model at the appropriate stages of the project and to run the calculations from that one ‘analysis’ model thus ensuring that the designers are using the most up to date information. When the design changes, the BIM model is again imported, with the relevant data and the various calculations are run again with results sent back to the BIM models (Interoperability). When the project is set up for collaboration and the process is understood it becomes easier.
The views expressed in this blog post are based on discussions with stakeholders from within IES and from our customer base (predominantly UK with some US input) and within the context of the work being undertaken by the UK Government to achieve BIM Level 2 on all public projects by 2016 and BIM Level 3 beyond [BIS BIM Strategy http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/BIS-BIM-strategy-Report.pdf].
On Thursday 28th January, we hosting the next instalment of our IES Faculty BIM webinar series. We’ll cover our BIM4Analysis strategy plus interoperability development work, helping you on your BIM journey ahead of this year’s Level 2 mandate in England and the BIM adoption strategy scheduled for 2017 in Scotland. Sign up for free here.
We want our customers to continue to influence our BIM4Analysis approach so we’re requesting questions and feedback on the lead up to this webinar. There are a number of ways you can send us your question – submit it here, tweet us using the #BIMfaculty hashtag or post on the IES Facebook page, and we’ll do our best to report back during the seminar. Questions and answers will also be collated into an FAQ document which we’ll circulate after the event.