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Context of the trial

David Jellings, Director, OPEN BIM Networkby David Jellings, Director, OPEN BIM Network

In considering BIM as the process that gives all those involved access to the information they need, when they need it, efficient deployment requires three things to happen.

Ways need to be found to:

  • Create model data in a consistent format
  • Exchange that data in a common language
  • Interrogate the data intelligently.

This year, whilst working with a number of Tier 1 contractors and their supply chains, we explored the most efficient ways to deploy BIM. Universal feedback indicated that, due to the large number of ‘BIM tools’ in regular use across the lifecycle of a building, a common language for data exchange is essential. Only then can all stakeholders select the technologies that best meet their particular needs.

In response to this, the OPEN BIM Network was founded earlier this year. It represents a rapidly growing membership who believes that using open communication protocols is the only logical way to proceed, if the benefits of BIM are to be realised.

With this fundamental principle established, leading industry names provided a mandate for a ‘concept trial’ to address a topical industry problem and whether IFCs can provide a solution to the problem – i.e. be used to visualise and validate COBie data in (and extract resulting data from) the Building Information Model. The ability to do this efficiently will both help the Government agenda and advance the increasing business demand for open protocols.

From the outset, the ‘concept’ nature of the trial has been stressed, and all participants understood that even a positive outcome would be just a first step. But the journey has to begin somewhere and in addressing the three key requirements outlined above, this trial is a good place to start.

On behalf of the OPEN BIM Network, I would like to thank the contractors participating in this initial trial – BAM, Carillion, Mace, Laing O’Rourke, Skanska, Wilmott Dixon, Wates and VINCI Ltd; BIM Academy for providing parallel studies; plus several leading technology/design sources, for providing model data and technical support. Special thanks are given to NBS as the primary partner responsible for policing the trial and producing this report.

In terms of recent catalysts for change, this report may become a key contributor. I hope that it provides food for thought and informs strategy going forward.




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IFC/COBie Report 2012

IFC/COBie Report 2012