Copyright © 2009 Integrated Environmental Solutions Limited. All rights reserved
In January 2016, the IES team, alongside special guest speaker Jean Carriere of Trailloop, hosted another instalment of our popular IES Faculty BIM webinar series. The event provided an update on our BIM4Analysis strategy and interoperability development work.
Based on participant feedback from the event, we compiled the following list of FAQs which have been answered by our experts. You can also access the full FAQ document here.
Q: Is a full version of Revit necessary or just a viewer will do to perform exporting of the gbxml?
A full version of Revit would be required as it generates the gbXML from the geometry within the software. A viewer would not have this capability.
Q: Do you often come across examples that the architect is not willing to change their workflows to create the Revit file according to your workflow? Any thoughts on how to educate the architect to set up the Revit file to accommodate this process? A big part of this process is ensuring the initial Revit model is created with energy modelling in mind and my experience says changing the Revit file, if it is not done right, usually takes the modeller more time to clean up than starting from scratch…
A number of years ago this was very much the case, but the business benefits and time saving identified by a collaborative BIM process have made/should make it a no brainer for teams to collaborate to make it work. For an architect the process of building a Revit model to export a clean gbXML is much easier as it requires much less detail. We’ve included links below to some related resources that we hope are helpful.
We are in the process of creating a new basic modelling video which will be available soon on our YouTube channel.
Q: How do you prevent the analytical wall from trying to resolve against the architectural wall in Revit?
This can be performed with Revit MEP. Just head to our BIM Integration Features (IES BIM Faculty) video, fast forward to 9 minutes 30 seconds into the video and follow the steps.
Q: There was an element shown as an obstruction in the import, is this normal?
Yes, if you have set up your Revit model to allow for overhangs etc. this would be normal.
Q: I have noted that the plug-in is only available for v2015 Revit. Is a 2016 version on the way?
The Revit plug-in is automatically installed with all IESVE software installations. The 2016 version is available with our current release which you can download here. If there is ever no plugin you can always use the Revit export function from the file menu within Revit.
Q: Do you think it is best to setup customised space templates rather than use built in Revit functionality?
If you are referring to space templates within the VE, there are benefits to both processes. The trick is to identify the best process for your organisation and the way that you want to work.
Q: If you create one wall that overlays with another wall in Revit, they try to resolve against each other. How does Jean’s process deal with this?
You would need to choose one of these to be the primary room bounding element so as to avoid any conflict in the gbXML that Revit creates.
Q: Presumably all geometry modifications, such as BCO zoning, need to be done in the Revit model to maintain consistency in terms of room names and numbers?
Yes, it would make it easier from a consistency point of view as the room names are the key to synchronising data between the different models. In saying that it is not essential as you can make changes in the VE, but just be aware that you have varying room names. In addition, consideration to the number of differences that you make between the two models has to be assessed before you make any modifications.
Q: As an architect interested in transferring a clean model over to the virtual energy modelling environment, what are the basic tools that I need to be convinced the translation has occurred successfully? Is the Revit IES VE plug-in alone enough? I do not necessarily want to purchase a full version of the IES VE software but want to do my part to support a very smooth process.
You can use our free plugin and use that to load up the VE for free and check models. You can also check models within Revit before you export using its gbXML export dialogue. No need to purchase anything.
Q: Can IES update official guidance on interoperability as last guide was issued over 1 year ago.
Yes, this is in progress. We’ll be in touch as soon as the updated guidance is available.
Q: Another software provider has claimed IES do not comply with the full BIM Level 2 requirement by not forming a closed loop between energy analysis and re-working the design (i.e. architects model). Is there any justification to that claim?
No, there are processes and tools within the VE software that will help you to achieve this. IES VE software is one of few platforms that allows you to utilise data throughout the full lifecycle of an asset, not just in the design, but right through into operation, from one source.
We are also working to providing videos of this so keep checking back to our YouTube channel.
Q: Can you show us how to import properly from Revit to IES VE?
We have online videos on our YouTube channel as well as live e-training sessions we offer that take you through how to import from Revit to the VE. If you need any further assistance please contact our support team.
Q: Is BIM to BEM a good option? If yes, what is the effective way to do it?
Yes, just follow the guidance in our BIM + Building Performance Analysis White Paper to keep it simple. Contact us if you’d like us to provide a demonstration of this.
We are delighted to announce that last night IES received a coveted H&V News Award in the ‘BIM Initiative of the Year’ category. The award was in recognition of our ongoing BIM4Analysis Campaign for best example of promoting, educating or implementing Building Information Modelling within the industry.
The results of the H&V News Awards were revealed at the esteemed Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London, where 1100 of the HVAC industry elite came together for a night of recognition and celebration of the sector’s achievements. With 22 targeted categories, the awards cover every aspect of the HVAC and building services industry, from Air Movement Product of the Year to Renewable Project of the Year.
With the UK Government mandate for BIM Level 2 deadline fast approaching, we felt it was essential to educate and engage the industry on the important role performance analysis has to play in the BIM process. Our educational BIM4Analysis campaign, launched in January 2015, seeks to show the industry how performance metrics can be integrated within the BIM process, throughout design, commission and operation, in order to deliver value, cost and carbon improvement on all projects.
To date the campaign has involved a series of educational events in which we have looked closely at the BIM enabled analysis workflow and the benefits it can offer projects using real case study examples from VE users including HLM Architects and CBG Consultants. We also created informative online and print content which was disseminated to the industry at exhibitions such as Ecobuild, and through respected publications such as CIBSE Journal, Construction Manager and MBS. As part of the campaign our experts have also given talks at high profile events such as Build4Quality, Digital Construction Week and we also sponsored BIM Prospects 2015.
Our next educational IES Faculty event, Big Data in Building Services, will take place in London on Wednesday 27th April. During the session, our speakers will be looking at how the huge amounts of data created by BIM can be used to optimise building performance. You can register for the event here.
Do you know what BIG DATA is? You must have heard of it? The exponential growth in the volume, velocity and variety of data generated each second and the corresponding increase in processing power, algorithms and databases which have developed side by side. These databases are used to collate, store, analyse and leverage insights from the multitude of data lakes, warehouses and ecosystems which we are discovering every day. Many industries such as financial services, aerospace, health, biotech and manufacturing have benefitted from applying big data tools and techniques but it has been slow to permeate building services, design and operation.
Buildings generate more data than you might think? We started with simple monthly energy and gas bills. Now we can get sub-metered data on a half hourly basis for electricity, gas, heat and water. Not to mention the thousands of BMS points you find in a typical building, each generating and storing data every minute. Layer on top of this, occupancy and climate data, indoor air quality data, data from connected devices and you get a rich, granular, high velocity, voluminous and varied data set being dumped in your Amazon database each night. The question is what do we do with it?
Using operational data to inform the design and optimisation of our buildings hasn’t been the traditional approach used by designers and engineers. We now have the tools to be able to link accurate building performance models to real data. Leveraging these enhanced operational models is a superior way of not just designing with the end performance in mind, but also to better manage existing assets. By integrating this capability into our Virtual Environment (VE) software, IES are enabling and empowering users to put to good use the new wave of big data being generated by our buildings and cities and combine this with our core building physics and building services applications.
IES are running a free faculty event. ‘Intelligent Big Data in Building Services’ will be held in London on the morning of 27th April. You can register for the event here.
My colleague Dan Tuohy and I will be sharing our thoughts on using big data in the built environment and how, at different stages of the building lifecycle, that data can be put to best use.
I’m also excited to announce a special guest speaker. Thomas Bouriot, from TFT Concultants will be sharing his insight from the client’s perspective and how buiding owners/users’ needs can be met by leveraging and combining real data with building performance modelling tools.
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.
On the lead up to our free BIM4Analysis webinar taking place on Thursday 28th January, we’ll be publishing a series of blogs to preview some of the topics that will be covered during the session. First up is a post from our guest speaker Jean Carriere of Trailloop, who will be presenting the most recent thinking on his approach to producing building loads for systems sizing and energy modelling from an integrated modelling process.
Build clean models before exporting the gbXML file and avoid integration errors before they happen, yielding predictably good results across many applications.
The AEC industry is familiar with creating building loads for systems sizing and then producing energy models with the Performance Rating Method (ASHRAE 90.1 or NECB). Although these project deliverables are typically done independently from each other without any integration to the project’s architectural and MEP systems design.
The building loads are produced from an early snapshot of the building’s form and features, then the compliance energy model acts as an auditing tool when the design is complete. A framework that incorporates these familiar industry deliverables would improve the energy performance of any building, by integrating and using information effectively during the design process.
The objective is to create the building loads from the architectural design model and then use this information to design and right-size the HVAC systems. With a clear and robust framework for measuring and verifying energy performance indicators, the design team can make informed decision based on actionable metrics. This process is designed to promote iterative energy simulations in order to achieve certain energy performance targets, such as net zero and beyond.
In order to make this process work, it first starts with the integration of BIM for energy modeling applications. This is accomplished by exporting a good quality gbXML or IFC export file from a BIM project. These files can be imported into most energy modeling applications, which then creates a digital link between BIM and energy modeling. As the federated BIM project evolves in complexity and level of detail throughout the design process, the energy modeling integration link is lost, but the information parameters remain. If the geometry or spaces change after the integration, the modifications can be copied back using the 5 fundamental modeling techniques into the integration model and then re-integrated in order to maintain the BIM link between applications.
We can use these information parameters to exchange data between the two applications. That could be a third party defining space and component properties in Revit and sending that information down to the energy modeler. Or it could be the energy modeler producing building loads or systems data to be inserted within the relevant space and component parameters. This way the building’s information resides inside the BIM and the simulated data is accurately representing the architectural and mechanical/electrical design.
The process of exchanging information bi-directionally between BIM and third party application is where the UK is heading with their BIM mandate for 2016. They define level 2 BIM as “a single environment to store shared asset data and information; accessible to all individuals who are required to produce, use and maintain it.” In essence, we’re opening up a portal to move information between energy modeling and BIM applications. If you’ve maintained the integration model throughout the process, then exchanging information after an energy simulation is as simple as copy/pasting data in Excel, and in a few minutes your BIM project is filled with important and relevant data.
Want to find out more about Jean’s approach? Sign up now for our free IES Faculty BIM webinar.
Got a question you’d like to put to Jean or one of our IES BIM experts ahead of the webinar? There are a number of ways you can do this – submit your question 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 be collated into an FAQ document which we’ll circulate after the event.
We were hugely encouraged by the attendance at last week’s Faculty and would like to thank everyone again for joining us and for your patience with the spatial availability! This Faculty is number 10 in our series and more popular than ever, surprising as we had been worried that the subject matter would perhaps fail to draw much interest. We were wrong!
In preparing the content the aim was to condense the vast amount of information into a digestible half day seminar. At the same time we aimed to identify opportunities for our customers in helping to address the requirements, add value. As a secondary objective we wanted to highlight efficiencies of using the Virtual Environment suite.
Naghman and I reviewed the literature including design guides, technical memoranda, applications manuals, regulatory and voluntary requirements for the 4 main building types selected – Educational, Commercial, Healthcare and Retail.
Not surprisingly the two main areas of literature pertain to Education and Healthcare and we noted a marked difference in the ‘structure’ of the information. Healthcare is organised with an overarching set of documents driving improvement forward whereas the schools information was a bit disjointed. Having said that the Education Funding Agency has provided an overarching set of requirements upon which funding depends. However, whilst the lighting design guidance relevant for all schools has been updated to reflect the EFA requirements, the ventilation, thermal comfort and IAQ has not.
As an addendum to this there is a working group, including IES, currently looking at updating Building Bulletin 101, the EFA requirements form part of this discussion. The timeframe is as yet undecided. If the EFA requirements are extended to all new schools and major refurbishment and adopted as standard this might help to drive improvement over time.
A common theme within the EFA requirements and the Healthcare standards is Performance In Use (PIU) – the move away from ticking Design Criteria boxes during design to closing the loop between design and operation. Something very close to our heart!
As always the Faculty provided a good opportunity for like-minded individuals to get together and share ideas, we have attempted to capture some of the discussion points below;
We also had a few questions related to VE capability and application;
Due to the success of this Faculty we have decided to take the event to Glasgow on Tuesday 17th November so I look forward to seeing some of you there. You can get your free tickets here: http://ow.ly/TLsGC
Got a design guidance question you’d like to ask Sarah? Use the comments section below.
Over the years the green agenda within building design has become increasingly important. It’s only until very recently that designers, and other construction colleagues, have had the technology and know how to validate how our buildings are performing in real terms in comparison to what was expected from the design stage. The results prove interesting with a common thread, often the building isn’t performing as predicted. Invariably the divergence in results show the real building performing far worse than expected. We can see this in simple terms, by comparing a buildings Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) against its energy bills and Display Energy Certificate (DEC). Why is this?
IES’ recent Faculty held on the 24th September at the Institute of Medical Sciences discussed where the Performance Gap comes from and how the industry can minimise it through better understanding of design analysis and learning from buildings in operation. This Faculty is one of many from the Faculty series, which is a free event for IES Virtual Environment (IESVE) users to discuss and debate current topics among like-minded people. IES’ new Cloud Services brings together Design and Operation through its new FFD technology.
Simulation modelling for building performance actually comprises of a number of different models, these model types are:
1. Compliance Model = Actual Building
2. Reference Model = Notional Building
3. Design Model = Best estimate of the REAL building
4. Operational Model = refined Design Model with REAL Building in operation data, usually a heavily manual process
The VE allows you to analyse each of these models within a single software suite for your project, however this can lead to confusion. The Carbon Trust published a report, ‘Closing the Gap’, in April 2012. One of the key findings is the confusion that Compliance models should somehow suffice for design analysis and in some cases mistakenly used as a form of operational energy prediction. The compliance model is simply a benchmark exercise and omits key elements within the building in its calculation. For example, unregulated loads such as plug loads, server rooms, external lighting and so on. This is ultimately why the EPC, currently, won’t align with the DEC, however your Design model could, and a growing number within our industry would say should. The Carbon Trust report further concludes that during the Design process we should distinguish between these model types and focus on the Design model rather than being driven by compliance. In addition the report concludes that we should also develop our understanding of soft landings and post occupancy building monitoring, and increase their application to benefit our Design decisions through lessons learnt.
There is an increase in clarity of these different model types, helped by the sophistication of BIM Analysis for building performance software suites such as the VE. In addition to the technology has been the need to introduce standard methodology to assist designers. CIBSE TM:54 outlines a methodology for developing the compliance model to evolve to a detailed Design model. This comprehensive technical memorandum, helps to reinforce how many of us already tackle projects and it’s a positive step forward to have an independent body produce a standard process for doing so. Everything you need to follow this methodology can be achieved within the VE.
We carried out a poll at the Faculty to understand the impact of TM:54 almost a year after publication. It’s interesting that approximately 5% attendees had actually used it, 10% had read it, and around 50% had heard about it. Why is this? TM:54 was published October 2013, maybe we need more time for the TM to distribute, or maybe its market demand. It seems to us that this should be standard practice on every project, but we are maybe a few years away at the moment. One response at the faculty pointed the finger to client demand. Saying that the client won’t pay for a more advanced model, and so they get a compliance model. Indeed one of the commercial editors of TM:54 later confided that their business has yet to deliver a project following the methodology and struggling to sell as a service. Maybe though we should have more confidence, and as the experts, help to educate our clients on the benefits.
Understanding our analysis at Design Stage is only one half of this challenge, the other is understanding how buildings are operating and learning from them. Historically we’ve periodically undertaken volume benchmarking of buildings, i.e. CIBSE Guide F (table 20.1 is one I personally remember well, from design days of past). This approach requires a huge amount of effort and quickly becomes dated. We have had recent attempts to create independent formats for example ‘Lessons’ and ‘CarbonBuzz’. While these appear to be robust platforms with good intentions, designers & building owners are reluctant to post predicted and operational building performance key indicators on a public forum. The feedback from the Faculty suggested the lack of a driver. Why would designers commit to their design performance so publicly?
Interestingly the BREEAM assessment Version 2014 includes the reward of credits for submitting building performance metrics. However there seemed to be a difference of opinion at the faculty on this, with some hesitant to share any information, whilst others happy to comply for credit attainment. There is a need to learn more from our buildings in operation. It’s all well and good believing a building is sustainable because it appears to do so at design, but how sustainable is it in reality? How do we know if we aren’t checking? It’s well-known that there are some new high profile sustainable buildings which perform far worse than expected, TM:54 gives the example of the National Trust HQ in Swindon. Soft Landings is keys to this, but we need to correlate building performance against the design. We need to quantify the Performance Gap in the same level of detail which we analyse buildings in simulation software. IES has been working hard to provide a robust technology platform to do this, and announced at the faculty its new Cloud service called ERGON, which allows operational data to be used within the VE, through Free Form Data profiles (FFD).
ERGON, certainly got the discussion going at the Faculty. Being able to use real building data at design stage is a leap forward. Imagine not having to rely on NCM profiles, but actually using real building data. ERGON is essentially the introduction of a new fifth model category, the Enhanced Operational Model. Where previously the Operational model would involve site visits and laborious data analysis, the Enhanced Operational Model automates much of this and allows a much more efficient and effective workflow. Take the example of designers who are sector specialists. If you have data of how the schools you have designed perform, you can directly use that to benefit the design modelling of your future school projects by using more accurate and relevant data. The Faculty presented a couple of ERGON case studies of real metered data against predicted (using compliance data), with one case study showing the metred lighting load at 200% of predicted.
No-one knows better than the designers who design the building, how that building should operate. We currently have very poor handovers from the design team, to the construction team, and as one Faculty attendee shouted out, don’t forget the handover to the FM team. Using the new FFD service designers now have the ability to extend their services beyond the traditional handover. Using the same technology they are used to for design, they can now feedback valuable information to the commissioning team and FM team. As pointed out in the Faculty, a service contact with building owners to provide annual health checks, could be another opportunity.
While the Faculty discussed some of the new features of the VE, there’s much more to come. It’s a very interesting and exciting time we live in with the advancement of smart building technology evolving at speed. Only a couple of years ago the only thing connected to your home broadband was your laptop. Now with the movement of the Internet of everything (IoE), all manner of devices are connected. It’s easy to question the value of having your fridge or washing machine connected to the internet, but the popularity of being able to control and analyse your home technology from your smart phone is hard to argue with. Just look at NEST’s smarts smoke alarm and their smart thermostat. Ok, it’s great to turn your heating on or off from the office and to check your house isn’t on fire but the real benefit comes from a sub benefit of the products being connected to the IoE. i.e. if the smoke alarm senses Carbon Monoxide it can tell the thermostat to turn the boiler off.
The evolution within the domestic sector is clear but what about the potential of the non-domestic sector? It’s an exciting time and with all the development being carried out in various Smart cities projects around the world, were only at the beginning. It’s hard not to be distracted by this; but our first step to this must be to close the Performance Gap.
Find out more about ERGON by signing up to our free training webinar on Monday 10th Nov (3pm GMT).
There has been a growing awareness for some time that many ‘low energy buildings’ use more energy than the designers thought they would. As energy costs have risen, this awareness has started to spread to building owners, who hear much about low energy buildings and subscribe to programmes that rate the design of the building, only to find that their ‘low energy design’ turns out to have a typical energy bill. The performance of low energy designs is often little better than that of an older building they have replaced, or supplemented.
There is a mismatch between the expectations around the performance of new buildings and the reality of the utility bills. This difference between expected and realised energy performance has come to be known as the ‘performance gap’. CIBSE TM:54
Join the IES Team in London on Wednesday 24th September (4pm – 6pm), for the return of the next instalment of our popular interactive Faculty series, where we explore the Performance Gap phenomenon in detail. We’ll discuss what we can do to improve the accuracy of our design modelling, with an insight into the newly released CIBSE TM:54. Following on we’ll discuss the advantages of Soft Landings and what recent advances in Building Simulation can allow you to use real building data to improve the Design Process of new buildings.
Can’t make the seminar in person? Don’t worry, we’ll be providing live updates throughout the event on our live twitter feed, using the #PerformanceGap hashtag. Not only can you follow our World Green Building Week event live but you can also play your part in the discussion taking place, by filling out this quick survey below and by putting your questions and issues to our team using the #PerformanceGap hashtag or the comments section of this blog post.
The Faculty seminars are a place for interaction among the industry and the more feedback that is provided, the better we can start to address the issues we are all facing. It’s time for us to close the #PerformanceGap.