This article is for anyone who wants to create a shared library of BIM objects in their business. Are shared object libraries really necessary? At BIM & CO, we think they’re vital. While a lot has been written about their benefits (we’ll come back to this later), many organisations are having trouble setting them up.
Fortunately, these problems are common and easily solved. This is why, in this article, we want to focus on the right way to mobilise teams internally to support this project, and how to implement it while avoiding pitfalls.
What is a shared BIM object library for?
While it may not a silver bullet, a shared BIM library can be especially helpful if you:
- Have teams that include different professions but that don’t work together much or are not located in the same place.
- Are constantly creating items based on already existing elements
- Are developing a data repository.
- Have a user experience with consistency issues.
- Waste a lot of time looking for the latest versions of items to use
- Sharing and collaboration: the members of the BIM management, model design or business study team create a common language that considerably streamlines discussions.
- Efficiency: resources are no longer wasted! Now objects are only designed and developed once. Production speed is increased, and design and development costs are reduced. The time it takes to complete the project and the time is takes for partners to appropriate it is accelerated.
- Optimisation of team time: this enables designers and architects as well as engineers to work in areas where they add the most value (designing new models, etc.) and prevents them from having to spend most of their time adapting to other professions’ requirements as well as their software and data set constraints.
- Consistency and quality: the user gets a project model where the user experience is seamless, due to clearly defined properties, which are therefore easier to process and assimilate.
What is a shared BIM library?
A little history
The idea of standardising a library is not new. In 1992, Autocad became the first software company to code things this way with the “AutoCAD Electrical” symbol library.
They were symbols that could be used for different standards (IEC for example). You could also find out how to use them in buildings, industry, and aviation.
The appearance of products in “digital” form has added a new technical dimension to the need for a single modelling repository. Visual items are not only drawn from now on, but coded, which also means objects have to be updated much more frequently.
The library, a blend between the tangible and the intangible
In the years since 2005, other companies have also created their own libraries of what became known as BIM objects and, little by little, the notion of a shared library emerged. This library concept is closely related to the classification system idea, because it is a structured whole that can be broken down into elements and sub-elements, like a logical or mathematical system. These objects are interconnected, reusable and adopted by a community of people who are themselves connected. Three experts in object libraries define the concept of an object library as follows:
A BIM library is officially how your company drafts and builds digital buildings.”Rémy Maurcot – BIM Product Manager at BIM&CO
Eric Pruvost – BIM Transformation Plan Director at SYSTRA
“A BIM library is an ecosystem of objects, models, guidelines, data and processes, that meet the requirements of a project or an organisation, to create a specific, well-designed outcome”.
“A shared BIM library provides data consistency in any downloaded object. This is important because consistent data gives us the ability to integrate it into any other process or workflow and guarantee seamless collaboration. Content reliability through Onfly helps to automate our processes and gain in productivity. ”Melle SCHOORDIJK – BIM Director at ENGIE Services Nederland NV
A shared library is neither a modelling charter, nor a series of folders containing object files – or at least it shouldn’t just be that. The whole point of a shared library is to use a communal language between various businesses and teams on one or more projects. It centralises the objects from each project and enables you to see them in perspective. It also enables teams to be more autonomous and more efficient in designing their models, while freeing up time to focus on high added value activities.
Learn about the different types of objects that make up a shared BIM library and how to set up a BIM library in the second part of this article Shared BIM Library – Part 2: Objects and Set-up.