The term BIM started to invade the construction world a few years ago.
Originally, BIM effectively meant a 3D symbols library, and a BIM object was the digital modelling of an air-conditioning unit, a window, or a concrete block. Data quickly entered onto the scene, making BIM an information and property catalyst, turning the way we think about construction today on its head.
The BIM object – making the link between players
BIM’s promise is to bring players together to collaborate on a construction project in a centralised way. A BIM object’s first quality is therefore using a common language for the architect, the electrician, the thermal analysis company, etc. It includes all the information relating to a building product, which is then distributed to the whole value chain involved in the digital model (the 3D model for the architect, heating information for the heating engineer, or electrical information for the electrician).
In order to be legible to all the diverse players involved, the BIM object’s properties must be structured in a standardised way, according to a format compatible with each party’s software. This is the main challenge for manufacturers, and the condition for the quality of their objects.
Interoperability and adaptability
From its conception to its operation, a BIM object’s behaviour must be adapted to the digital model’s level of development. For example, an air-conditioning unit will be represented by a simple geometric cube with a basic level of information at the beginning of the project, then with a progressively higher level of information, most notably including complex properties, as time goes on.
Example: Hitachi exterior group depicted in LOD 200 and LOD 400
In the same way, the BIM object must be able to cater to the specific features of each type of software, like, for instance, the possibility of managing multiple layers in REVIT software.
How do you evaluate the success of your BIM object? Do an IFC export to generate the digital model – if the data remains structured and doesn’t undergo any loss, you have succeeded.
Understand BIM in order to succeed
The challenge for manufacturers is to create objects whilst being aware that many potential partners will be brought in to be involved on it. In order to do this, manufacturers must begin by understanding what a BIM object is. This is to challenge their partners, and ask their clients about the software they use in order to adopt the appropriate standards and formats.
As you will have understood, an understanding of the formats and software is not an option for the success of your BIM objects. It is a crucial condition of being recognised as a reliable manufacturer by all the players in the construction’s value chain.
One of BIM&CO’s distinctive features is having identified the classification of existing objects, and the software and properties required by this software. Once they have been referenced, this knowledge base is regrouped within a unified dictionary, thanks to which each property can be named in a standardised way and can therefore be exploited by any software, whatever the country. That’s one way of undoing the ‘Tower of Babel’ effect!