026 RCI 0517

RCI May 2017

BIM OPINION As-built data validation and delivery An often quoted benefit of BIM (Building information Modelling) is that through careful planning, rigorous digital processes and collaboration, the gap between as-designed and as-built will no longer be such a problem in modern day construction. However, this is easier said than done. In practice, as-built data validation is still seen as a daunting task and the delivery of an accurate as-built model is still a challenge we face today. Can the manufacturers help the supply chain solve these issues? This article explores what the current challenges are and how to overcome them. What is validation? According to BS ISO 9001:2015 – validation activities are conducted to ensure that the resulting products and services meet the requirements for the specified application or intended use. So within the UK construction industry context (BIM Level 2), this means that the information or data about construction products installed in a building should meet the Employers Information Requirements (EIR), created by the client and an FM (if one has been appointed), and in accordance with the Asset Information Requirements (AIR). However, these requirements can sometimes be quite generic. So it is worth saying that validation also applies to all specific data requirements that have been established by the organisation. For these requirements, the organisation makes an elaborate internal research about what actual data different departments will need for their work (Environmental data, DoP data, EHS data etc.) So firstly, in order to see whether a building is fulfilling the set energy efficiency requirements, we need to have them defined. We need to know the thermal transmittance of all the doors and windows in the building, we need to know the solar factor, the air permeability etc. so that we can validate whether the information requirements are met. Because this is a daunting task, we give it to the Asset Information Manager… The BIM manager challenges The Asset Information Manager must now collect the product information – usually from a random selection of manufacturer PDFs – from the O&M manual and extract the data that is required by the EIR/AIR. More often than not, they are not 026 MAY 2017 RCIMAG.COM actually sure what the information should be (as no one actually knows why sustainability rating means one thing in COBie and another in the client XYZ’s documentation), and then deliver a validated as-built model. This really makes the BIM manager’s life hard, as there is really no way to validate automatically if data is present in a PDF or not. The reason is that at the end of the project, what we end up with is some data entered manually in COBie by the BIM manager and some PDFs integrated in the O&M manual. This means that, in general, most of the key product attribute data that manufacturers can and should provide is missing, and the result is certainly not a credible as-built model. So, what can manufacturers do to contribute to this now fragmented process? The answer is DATA. Today, manufacturers have their product information available in PDF and some have been busy paying for BIM objects that designers may want to use in the design stage. However, the product that gets installed is often not what was designed. In addition, the data within the object is usually not aligned with the data requirements of the project. However, the whole supply chain needs exact manufacturers’ data! Product data in multiple BIM formats / languages so that the contractors, clients and their teams can select exactly what they need in the format they need, when they need it. Bridging the gap As with any industry that is on the digitalisation track, steps to overcome the challenges we have touched upon above have been put in place. goBIM, coBuilder’s solution allows manufacturers to digitise their data in a structured way, aligned with national, industry-wide, legal and marketspecific requirements and regulations (CEN, CENELEC, ISO, national standards, or data required by market actors). goBIM uses the Product Data Template (PDT) methodology that allows manufacturers to digitise their informationrich PDFs / brochure and paper documents through filling in a user-friendly data ‘questionnaire’ or template for each construction product. Once filled out by the manufacturer (a filled out PDT is saved as a PDS – Product Data Sheet), the PDS becomes the single source of accurate, machine-readable, structured manufacturer’s data that can be delivered to the supply chain in different data formats (COBie, IFC, REVIT, ARCHICAD), different languages and different classification systems. One of the benefits of structured machinereadable data is that it enables people to use software to automate tedious and labour-intensive tasks, such as as-built/as-designed data validation. For instance, the goBIM system is linked with ProductXchange, coBuilder’s cloud-based platform for contractors and clients. Through ProductXchange, asset information managers can collect manufacturer’s data about the actual products being installed in a building, and easily input their data requirements. The system then validates all the collected data against those requirements and enables the asset information manager to deliver the as-built model. Working together Unlocking the benefits of BIM for people, organisations, society and the environment strongly relies on collaborative thinking. Once we realise that data is not only the ‘raw material of the 21st century’ but also the digital glue that can link previously ‘unlinkable’ ideas and results in all industries, we will start seeing not only the benefits of the latest modern ‘buzz word’, but the benefits of a better built environment we create around us. www.cobuilder.co.uk By Nick Tune, CEO coBuilder UK “One of the benefits of structured machine-readable data is that it enables people to use software to automate tedious and labour-intensive tasks, such as as-built / asdesigned data validation” “In practice, as-built data validation is still seen as a daunting task and the delivery of an accurate as-built model is still a challenge we face today” Nick Tune, CEO, coBuilder UK: “Unlocking the benefits of BIM for people, organisations, society and the environment strongly relies on collaborative thinking”


RCI May 2017
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