Lee JonesSince May 2015, leading UK provider of innovative and design-driven bathroom solutions, Ideal Standard International externallink, has partnered with NBS to host its Building Information Modelling (BIM) objects on the NBS National BIM Library, writes Design Manager Lee Jones.

Ideal Standard logoThis means that Ideal Standard, Armitage Shanks and Sottini brands all have a complete portfolio of BIM products available for commercial and residential housebuilder projects. From April 2016 all governmentfunded construction projects will need to incorporate BIM in their plans. With its long history and extensive experience, the company is keen to invest in advanced technology to help improve the building and planning process.

All manufacturers, of course, already have extensive data. The challenge is structuring this in a way which is BIM-compliant.

Ideal Standard has committed to hosting 3,000 products within the library, which is the primary source of BIM content in the UK. Before submitting its initial objects for cataloguing, Ideal Standard conducted extensive research into the key points needed in order to successfully create BIM objects. It found that structured data and geometry in the simplest form possible were the main priorities, along with keeping file sizes small.

BathroomProducts are rarely manufactured based on BIM models, so there is no need for them to be as detailed as production models, in most instances. The object is used only for the client to aid specification, layout planning and operation through the data it holds. Ideal Standard has used Revit and Inventor as its software options for geometric perfection.

All manufacturers, of course, already have extensive data. The challenge is structuring this in a way which is BIM-compliant, as different amounts of information are needed at each stage of a project. Ideal Standard uses COBie to cover the main brand and product-specific data, while IFC is used to outline the most basic data. NBS Create, which will eventually supersede the current building specification system, is incorporated for specification purposes.

Since Ideal Standard first worked with BIM, the process of structuring data and geometry has been improved immeasurably by the support offered by NBS, including the provision of free downloads and criteria, such as The NBS BIM Object Standard, which outlines every requirement needed to achieve Level 2 BIM compliance.

The process of submitting the finished object is also ultra-simple: Ideal Standard simply submits the object which is checked against relevant criteria by the NBS and awarded a pass or fail. Clear feedback is also provided so that corrections can be easily and efficiently made.

Ideal Standard has found that working with BIM has provided a high reward for a relatively small investment; an ideal scenario for any business when working with planning and specification.