The Impact of Manufacturer’s Technical Data Structuring within BIM

Introduction: The progress of BIM and its impact on construction practices

Over the last 10 years, BIM (Building Information Modeling) has seen increasing development and has become an integral part of many projects, particularly in the area of manufacturer’s technical data.

This revolution marks a significant change in the building design process for clients, architects and design offices.

This means that teams will need to upgrade their skills by adopting new tools, and high quality BIM objects will be required to create relevant digital mock-ups. But what is a quality BIM object?

The Quality of a BIM Object: Beyond Geometry

We often associate a good object with precise geometry and ease of use. But this ignores the main advantage of BIM, which lies in access to structured data.

This data will enable better design and more efficient studies.

For manufacturers, it’s a real headache to provide up-to-date data in business applications. However, disseminating BIM data offers real advantages, although it does require adaptation to standards and markets.

Manufacturers' Technical Data
Onfab software – Technical data management for BIM objects.

Overcoming Data Structuring Challenges for Manufacturers’ Technical Data in the Electrical Industry

If we take the case of an electrical equipment manufacturer, we can see the advantages of a coherent and rigorous structuring of data for BIM objects and above all how this facilitates collaboration and the exchange of information.

BIM objects have a large number of properties, making them a wealth of data.

This data is useful for a large number of players in a construction project.

Needs vary from one profession to another: design office, architect or maintenance company.

For example, when designing, the design office needs to know the circuit-breaker rating (current and number of poles), whereas a maintenance company will need to know the maintenance frequency. A circuit-breaker BIM object has several hundred properties, so it is essential to make them legible for everyone.

The Importance of Legibility and Data Structuring

Data therefore needs to be centralised so that it can be distributed to the right people.

At BIM&Co, we see the object as a single place to centralise all the data for a product, and deliver just the BIM data and files that everyone needs. Structuring this data in a coherent way has therefore become imperative. Each piece of data must offer a specific service, delivered at the right time and to the right person.

The consequences of poor structuring: a challenge for Manufacturers’ Technical Data

If manufacturers do not structure their objects, they become almost useless to their customers. In addition to poor legibility, the lack of structuring will make it very difficult to automate queries and integrate objects into a collaborative model.

A poorly structured object also means very heavy IFC mapping, which increases the risk of error, and in the end the processes become much more time-consuming and the value of BIM collapses.

Nothing is more frustrating for a user than having a badly structured object, because it won’t be usable and will have to be reworked. For a manufacturer, this creates several problems:

  • If the number of objects reworked by third parties multiplies, this leads to a loss of control over these objects and therefore, once again, a risk of error.
  • A damaged brand image.

This second point reveals an evolution in the missions of a manufacturer, who must now not only master internal data but also be able to provide consistent data to the outside world.

The Impact of BIM Technical Data Structuring on Manufacturers
The challenges of technical data management for manufacturers

BIM Object Continuity

The structure of the objects must be consistent throughout.

Well-thought-out and well-structured objects allow requirements to evolve as the design iterates, while providing the right data depending on the configuration of the object.

In the opposite case, we can imagine a user (such as a design office) looking for another reference from a competitor, which would be a lost business for the manufacturer.

Structuring requires a great deal of work on the part of manufacturers, but above all it is a way of taking care of customers and thus increasing the chances of winning their loyalty in the context of the BIM revolution.

Facilitate collaboration and the exchange of information by structuring reliable quality data

As we have seen, structuring data enables manufacturers to considerably improve the user experience of the various players involved in a construction project, particularly at the design stage.

Although this requires a considerable amount of upstream work on the part of manufacturers, it allows the power of objects to be multiplied, data to be brought to the right place at the right time and, above all, collaboration to be simplified.

Data Structuring: A Bridge between Various Software and Solutions

The BIM model becomes a common reference, clarifying the data for installers. This prevents errors and queries during construction.

In the event of a modification, it will be easy to restart the calculations with clearly designated data. They will be correctly integrated into all the solutions.

By structuring the data in the right way, it is possible to create a fluid bridge between these two software packages and reintegrate all this work into the digital mock-up.

We can imagine other gateways between different solutions, and of course this doesn’t stop at electrical equipment manufacturers.

In all areas (plumbing, HVAC, metal construction, joinery, etc.), the need remains: data must be properly structured.

But collaboration isn’t just between the various parties involved in a project, it’s also an internal issue for manufacturers.

International Challenges and Linguistic Adaptability

Similarly, for a company operating internationally, adapting the documentation, and therefore the BIM objects, is essential. Here again, a good structure makes it easier and more efficient to translate the data into the various languages required.

Most electrical equipment manufacturers only provide their data in English. For an international manufacturer, the number of references can be in the hundreds of thousands.

At BIM&co, we recognise the need to adapt our data to the various markets. This adaptation will be a distinctive element for our manufacturers.

Conclusion: The Crucial Importance of Data Structuring in BIM

95% of complex BIM objects are the result of poorly structured data. The structuring of data in BIM objects is self-evident: a well-structured object is a used object.

This effort, required of manufacturers, is essential to bring continuity to BIM processes. It reconnects manufacturers and improves the experience, work and analysis of product use.

With more accurate data, manufacturers will be able to improve their products in line with projected needs. Indeed, the consistency of products within objects facilitates flexibility and modifications.

Despite the challenges encountered, this upstream work maintains the manufacturer’s competitiveness and promotes the use of objects. In conclusion, BIM continuity and collaboration depend essentially on good data structuring.

An unstructured object is not collaborative.

Manufacturers will need tools to centralise, organise and connect their data.

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