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Posts Tagged Interoperability

earthIES recently held our annual BIM4Analysis Faculty webinar. There were two main areas for discussion:

  1. Our new BIM Interoperability Navigator
  2. An overview of Bi-Directional workflow between Revit and IESVE

The world around us is changing; the world’s population is growing exponentially set to reach 10 Billion by 2030. Urbanisation is rising rapidly with more of us wanting to live in cities. This growth is fuelling the need for more building stock; it’s not just homes that are needed but schools, places of work, transportation and everything in between.

At the same time, we have a crisis with the health of the planet, global warming is marching forward. In 2015 leaders from around the world met in Paris for COP21. There was for the first time a full day given to the Built Environment, after all buildings account for over 1/3 of the total carbon emissions. The talks culminated in the signing of an agreement of 196 countries to tackle climate change.

Looking at our own industry, we continue drive to Digitalisation. PAS:1192 is soon to be the ISO standard to which all will conform to. Technology is rapidly evolving that we see its impact in all areas of the construction industry, Smart whiteboards connected to BIM for immediate design changes, Augmented Reality being used to super impose Design drawings on to site, the Internet of Things allowing more monitoring than ever before. It used to be the case that we just didn’t have any data about our buildings. Today the challenge is how we make best use of it all.

There is no denying we face challenges more suited to a Marvel Comic but here at IES we believe we are at the very centre of all of this. As leaders in digitalisation of construction through Analysis and Performance optimisation of buildings, it’s our mission to make our buildings better, and our cities smarter. By doing so, IES are creating cleaner, more sustainable environments playing our part in reducing the impact of the exponential growth of our population and its impact on our planet. IES see our VE users as superheroes; we’re in support as your sidekick.

When I meet with clients, they ask me, ‘What’s the best way to get my model in IESVE?’

To deliver on any given project, you will have to run multiple platforms, for example, Revit for your drawing, IESVE for your analysis, however, there are many different routes to sharing data and figuring out the best way can be challenging. This was confirmed at the poll that was undertaken ahead of our Faculty. As a side note: a surprising outcome from our poll was just how many of you are using the likes of Python Scripting to enhance your own workflows.

We understand this and that’s why we are delighted to announce our new Interoperability Navigator will be included in the upcoming VE2017 release FREE. The navigator brings all import setting, modelling guidance and functionality into one single place, guiding you through a step-by-step process to import your model from whichever drawing tool you are using into IESVE ready for analysis. This new Navigator doesn’t just bring all existing capability into one place, but adds new features:


Shell Correction (room geometry healing) has been improved and goes through a second correction phase that has an improved success rate at fixing geometry imported from other packages.

Geometry Errors can be viewed in the new ‘Quarantine Zone’ from the model tree and the model viewer. The model viewer also allows for the visible checking of surface orientations that were previously only listed in a report, which remains available.

Capping counters the issue when the source model file is not available. The capping functionality will allow multiple zones that have parts of their volume geometry escaping past the levels they should be stopping at.

One of the most common issues of importing models are gaps in the geometry where rooms in the originating source models have not been accounted for, for example ceiling voids, risers and stair access areas. Gap Filling will add in a volume to the model removing the requirement of going back to the originating model.

Data Import has been expanded to include new options, including:

  • Room Data only
  • Geometry only
  • Geometry & Assigned Data
  • Geometry & All Data
  • Import Wizard

Finally, ‘Import Wizard’ allows the comparison of an existing model that has been imported and simulated to a newly imported model geometry and data.

The new Interoperability Navigator will form the standard Model import workflow for all users, from beginner to advanced users, but it’s only the start. Users can build on this and during our Faculty, we showed an overview of the steps to achieve Bi-Directional interoperability between Revit and IES. This Syncs data between the two platforms, as you update in one, it automatically updates in the other.

So now that IES has resolved the challenge of importing your model into IESVE, you can focus on using the VE for creating better buildings and smarter cities. Time to be a superhero!

View video highlights from our BIM4Analysis 2017 update webinar on our You Tube channel.

Interested in Training?

IES is hosting 1-day face-to-face BIM import workshops. To discuss your requirements email niall.gibson@iesve.com
Bi-Directional Data Exchange Workflow – free BIM intro course. Sign up here
BIM Management for Energy Modelling Online Course – advanced hands-on BIM training. Sign up here.

BIM4Analysis – Frequently Asked Questions

Posted: June 28, 2016 by , Category:BIM

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.

If you missed it, you can catch up on our latest BIM Faculty session and previous seminars on the IESVE You Tube channel. Further information can also be found on our BIM4Analysis page.


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.

  • Waste is anything that does not add value
  • Value is anything a client is willing to pay for

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.

Interoperate Between BIM and Energy Modeling

Posted: January 15, 2016 by , Category:BIM, events

BIM Energy Modeling DiagramOn 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.

new-york building

BIM experts around the world are gearing up for the latest event in the Build Earth Live series: Build New York Live! Following the success of events in Newcastle, London, Qatar and Sydney, the 48-hour virtual design competition, organised by cloud technology company, Asite, will kick off at 12:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 21, 2015.

Through the power of collaborative working in the cloud and using a range of interoperable technologies, teams will demonstrate the benefits of an open BIM workflow in designing a multi-use development for an internationally known site.

The event’s headline sponsor, Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc., have worked in close collaboration with IES over the years to provide access to high-quality building model and building site data exchange with energy analysis and modelling applications, using the IFC file format. The connection offers interoperability between Vectorworks Architect or Vectorworks Designer software and our own energy analysis suite of tools, and is just one example of the kind of technology that will prove invaluable to the teams competing in next month’s event. Find out more about the IES and Vectorworks IFC Connection here.

The team here at IES are no strangers to the competition itself and were honoured to receive the award for “Best use of BIM for technical assessment” as part of the BIM Unlimited team at Build Qatar Live 2012. You can read more about our experience here.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to compete, why not build your own team or join forces with an existing group for a chance to win a coveted Build Live award? Registration is open now.


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