The BIM Technology Alliance – support for open standards and the BIM workflow
It is vital to the wider adoption of open standards that they are supported in the range of software the contruction industry uses. In turn, this is critical to the success of the Government's strategy for BIM adoption. The BIM Technology Alliance is the group that represents these software vendors and we invited them to tell us what their organisations are doing to support the UK Government's push for open standards within the BIM workflow. Their responses below tell us about the commitment within the industry to make BIM and open standards widely adopted.
Head of Specification – NBS
NBS is the leading provider of structured and maintained construction information in the UK and fully supports the UK Government's BIM Strategy, including the requirement for COBie data drops. The current version of NBS Create supports COBie by permitting all systems and types defined in the project specification to be exported to COBie. The exported COBie files are in comma separated values (CSV) format that can be viewed in spreadsheet applications such as Microsoft Excel or imported into other BIM tools. Furthermore, NBS is investigating ways of enhancing the NBS tools to COBie export. By linking NBS National BIM Library objects in the graphical design model with NBS Create systems and products the resulting COBie dataset contains richer and more useful information. NBS are committed to delivering content and software to support the UK's BIM initiative through the use of collaborative processes and interoperability.
Client Executive – IBM
IBM has invested significantly in the development of our products in the BIM domain to develop interfaces which support commonly-used open standards and protocols including SOAP, XML and COBie. We are active participants in the definition of open standards at both Government working group level and at the Institution of Civil Engineers' BIM panel. We are also developing generic, repeatable processes to ensure the benefits of BIM extend into the operations and maintenance phase. In addition to a broad portfolio of BIM related software (e.g. Maximo, Tririga, Tivoli etc) and services, we also possess an extensive ecosystem of partners and SMEs who we collaborate with to deliver high value, end-to-end solutions to our clients.
Managing Director – Tekla
Tekla provide software to enable BIM processes within the structural supply chain and manage models and information from all stakeholders on a project. A key strategy for us over many years has been the provision of tools to allow effective collaboration of geometry and information with all other project partners via our preferred IFC format. We believe the Government and increasingly the private sectors push towards BIM will increase the requirement and usage of open standards such as IFC and the COBie subset which can only be a good thing for the whole of the construction industry and are fully behind that initiative. Tekla have supported buildingSMART and the development of IFC's for many years and will ensure we provide the tools for our customers to be compliant with the Government requirements and to embrace smarter ways of working. Having seen the benefits that IFC and the inherent data that can be passed as well as BIM has had on our home market in Finland we feel we are at the forefront of development of these open standards and are happy to continue supporting these initiatives, the UK Government and our customers implementations of BIM.
Executive Vice President, Strategy – Causeway
Causeway's solution vision is to fully embrace the opportunities of BIM and integrated projects, including support for the objectives and challenges outlined in the Government Construction Strategy.
Causeway has long understood the value of BIM and embraced it within existing applications. The focus now is to simplify BIM adoption and to unlock the operational benefits that are available. It is Causeway's belief that solution development should fully support a shared and collaborative information model through the lifecycle of any project. The ability to work with accurate and structured information will unlock the savings being sought within the construction strategy, from initial concept stage through construction, operation and maintenance.
BIM is a process that requires effective collaboration, information management and interoperability between all parties and all technologies to release its potential. Causeway's solution vision has BIM as a central component in delivering the next generation of technology solutions. This requires support for interoperability and open standards to allow integrated teams to connect with each other and to provide an environment that fosters innovation. Whether it is the ability to link different models to produce a COBie drop or to enable the many applications that support the lifecycle of a project to be able to access, enhance and share model data; open integration is fundamental to BIM success and at the heart of our approach.
GRAPHISOFT UK – Managing Director
GRAPHISOFT's ArchiCAD offers architects open design collaboration workflows with leading engineering solutions worldwide. GRAPHISOFT has been active in supporting Building Smart's Industry Foundation Classes (IFC's) for many years. IFC's are the non-proprietary standard identified as forming the basis for the future delivery of BIM information in the BIS BIM Strategy Paper. ArchiCAD supports the import, export and data structure of the latest IFC release: IFC2x Edition 3. We use IFC technology to enable collaboration between architects and engineers regardless of their discipline or the name and version of the application they prefer working with. COBie is a subset of IFC relating to Facilities Management. Given that this is the case, and that on many projects COBie data will be produced by consultants using a variety of software, Graphisoft feel the use IFC's rather than a proprietary route to COBie is preferable. ArchiCAD uses its robust IFC data exchange capabilities to produce data output that is easily converted into COBie documentation. For a detailed explanation of how to input and export data to COBie from ArchiCAD, please, go to the following GRAPHISOFT website: http://www.graphisoft.com/support/ifc/downloads/.
If you have any questions or interest in COBie production or IFC support please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Industry Sales Director – Bentley
Fully committed to COBie, Bentley Systems successfully participated in several FM Handover/COBie Challenges and has provided implementation support via Bentley Professional Services for several years. COBie support is currently being implemented in AECOsim Building Designer, Bentley's interdisciplinary BIM application, to produce COBie-compliant IFC (SPFF) files and COBie spreadsheets (from Bentley i-models).
In addition, our Bentley Facilities application includes utilities to import IFC files, and associated meta data from XLS / XFM sources, and format the results to align with a user's own data model . Bentley Professional Services consultants are available to configure COBie import to ensure all the data remains intelligent, and the workflow supports subsequent iterations and updates when new information / changes to the dataset are received.
Industry Manager, Government Affairs – Autodesk
Autodesk fully supports the UK Government's BIM requirement for COBie standard files. We have made the production of COBie as simple and straightforward as possible for our Autodesk Revit users by providing direct COBie output functionality within the Revit interface.
This Revit plugin has been successfully used and tested in the Government's early adopter projects and it will soon be available as a free download at the end of 2012 from the Autodesk website. Please register your interest below with Daniel Teuten or Marek Suchocki.
In addition, Autodesk provides certified IFC 2X3 export for geometric data exchange and supports third party preparation of COBie data from Revit platforms and AutoCAD platforms.
Chief Technical Officer – 4Projects
4Projects's Document Collaboration system is already used to address the collaboration challenges of authoring, distributing and versioning COBie data files across a supply chain. High profile users of the system include the UK Government's Ministry of Justice early adopters, where both 'Cookham Wood' and 'Featherstone' projects have used the system to manage the capture and publication of COBie data (at Drops 2a/2b and Drop 4 respectively).
As part of the 4BIM Technology Strategy Board project, 4Projects is extending its core collaboration product to provide a full lifecycle COBie data management system. This product aims to eliminate the manual, error-prone processes inherent in current COBie generation workflows, through the introduction of a COBie management system. In addition to managing COBie data in a structured web-based database, the system enables authorised members of the supply chain to capture and review and amend the data, enabling more accurate and complete data to be provided in the COBie drops. This cloud-based system utilises an OpenBIM approach, allowing data from BIM design tools to be imported from source models, merged, refined, validated and finally exported in a number of COBie formats, for delivery to the client, FM team or a COBie compatible CAFM system.
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