How to deliver as built data

Delivering as built data for BIM Level 2

How about delivering as built data?

It is a well-known fact that most major UK contractors have become early adopters of BIM in their processes. With the BIM level 2 deadline being just around the corner, all contractors – big and small – are getting prepared and COBie becomes the first thing on their minds. In this article, we are presenting an overview of the difficulties contractors have went through in order to pave the road to delivering accurate as built data in BIM, as well as the challenges that contractors still face when perusing BIM compliance.

Revise – REFORM – BIM-ify

Fact is, BIM level 2 has led to a major revisit of all the stages of construction as it made it obligatory for all actors within the supply chain to look at their processes in order to understand the benefits of BIM standards (PAS 1192) and how exactly to implement them. For contractors this means that they are to look at how they can collaborate with fellow construction professionals and find a way to work in a common environment across the supply chain. It is also a contractor responsibility to work closely with the clients/owners in regards to the information requirements (EIR – Employers Information Requirements) and then to understand what data the supply chain wants, starting from the client and all the way through the designer and to the end user.

Once all the requirements are established, the contractors’ main job is to draw a plan of how they can deliver that data – the BIM Execution Plan. After completing the BIM execution plan they have to employ information managers, model managers and BIM managers to basically control this process and make sure they are delivering as built data and information that is accurate at the precise time throughout the construction process. Sounds like a lot to do, doesn’t it?

It does however, pay off at the final stage, when they hand over the building with all the correct as built data delivered, fully interoperable and invaluable when it comes to managing the building/asset efficiently. As a matter of fact, this is one of the main reasons the industry decided to implement BIM in the first place. So, has everyone gone through that scenario?

Difference between BIG and SMALL

We are still moving along a huge learning curve in regards to BIM adoption for level 2 within the UK. The main contractors and big architect companies, designers and engineers have done quite a lot to be ready to take the BIM journey in the right direction. There are, however, still quite a lot of smaller SMEs that are not fully prepared for the BIM impact in April. They still need a better grasp of the requirements that BIM level 2 poses upon them. In this regard the industry is really making strides towards BIM adoption, but we need to make sure that the small businesses come along in the wave and join in the BIM revolution at normal pace. Let us now look at some issues that need to be considered so that the smooth BIM sailing can be ensured.

The contractor-manufacturer link

All construction supply chain players big and small should understand that at this stage BIM cannot be avoided. Outputting data in COBie is not only the contractors’ concern and there is no BIM without the manufacturer! In regards to BIM level 2 for manufacturers this is a really important point as manufacturers are now required to share the data about their products in common data formats that are compatible with BIM. It is vital that manufacturers and contractors work together so that they as partners can: on the manufacturer side – learn how to structure their data and get it share-ready in openBIM formats and on the contractor side – collect and deliver as built data to facilities managers, owners and designers again in BIM formats such as COBie and IFC. This is the only way that the industry can take advantage of BIM as an efficient process.

Is COBie a problem? We focus on getting it right the first time around.

Nick Tune, CEO of Cobuilder UK says “It has been my observation that COBie as a mandate, in particular, has been quite an obstacle for contractors, since they have been struggling to understand it and thus have not been able to output it efficiently. A part of the reason for this is that construction professionals use different proprietary tools in their jobs and within that software they have hard time taking the right data out of tools such as REVIT, ARCHICAD, Navisworks and putting it into COBie because those tools are not specially designed to be compatible with COBie. Hence the reason a lot of contractors are using products such as Solibri to check and verify that the data is at the right places.”

goBIM and Cobuilder Collaborate (previously ProductXchange) – the perfect pair for delivering as built data

That means that we need to ensure the as built data is delivered being 100% accurate before we pass it on to asset or facility managers. At this moment, people are mostly doing this by hand which is a hugely time-consuming issue and often incorrect. It is so much harder to work retro-actively in order to verify accuracy when you can prevent that stage by getting it right the first time! So, what does Cobuilder do to solve the COBie issue? We are working predominantly with manufacturers and the contractors at the moment, aiding manufacturers to share their data in various BIM formats. Via our tool goBIM we are helping manufacturers share their product information by turning it into structured data. Having transformed their product information in structured data we can then help them input the data that is required within the COBie data structure (as well as in many other common data formats e.g. REVIT, ARCHICAD, IFC etc.).

As to the contractors, we are actually helping them collect the information about what they are buying and installing in their projects on site. This is possible through Cobuilder Collaborate (previously ProductXchange) – a tool that helps contractors collect this as built data throughout the construction phase. The manufacturers has a crucial role here. If they have their data available in BIM we at Cobuilder can help the contractor populate the as built model with the accurate manufacturers’ data as the construction period unfolds. Thus contractors are then enabled to deliver the accurate as built data at the handover stage when they need to complete the as built model with all the right construction product data in COBie format.

Moreover, Cobuilder Collaborate helps all actors keep product information live by linking the right data so the asset information model stays live and up to date, which is a great advantage throughout the O&M stage and whenever replacements and refurbishments are made. Cobuilder Collaborate is exactly the smart data repository that lets you do that.

So to conclude, with the help of the right partners BIM Level 2 is starting to work, it is starting to happen and we are glad to be part of the revolution that will forever change the way we build for the better.

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