Wanted: Standard-based properties in BIM software
The AEC industry has finally woken up to the benefits of data-driven analytics and performance. Construction product manufacturers are ‘setting their data free’ from PDFs and the Designers, Contractors and Facilities Managers are starting to utilise this data to improve efficiencies in the sector. With the rise of Building Information Modelling (BIM), the importance of standardisation within terms and definitions to support a seamless communication between actors in the construction industry is of the highest importance. Therefore, in order to explore the full potential of data in BIM we have to look at how such standards are implemented in the tools we use.
The European Context
In order for manufacturers to be able to sell their products within markets such as the European Union, the EU commission has created procedures on how to prove performance and intended use, for construction products (via the Construction Product Regulations – CPR), electrical equipment (via the Low Voltage Directive – LVD) etc. The testing and associated data that is created in meeting legislative frameworks such as the CPR and LVD provides the basis for most of the data that a manufacturer will need to share with its supply chain.
Moreover, the associated EU standards under CEN/CENELEC provide a common technical language to assess the performance of products and systems for construction works and infrastructure. In Europe, governmental programs to define a “common context” have been established in order to agree on properties and definitions. Expert groups are set out to validate datasets, set out in national standards based on EU standards and ISO standards.
These resources are what product data experts such as Cobuilder use in order to incorporate a common technical language and standards-based construction product data structure when creating Product Data Templates for the European construction industry.
These unified test methods are the foundation for manufacturers’ data,
and therefore define what manufacturers data is for the market.
– Lars Chr. Fredenlund, CEO and co-founder of coBuilder
Utilising manufacturer’s data and properties in BIM software
One of the problems with getting manufacturers up to speed with BIM, is that they already have all the data the industry requires, but it is unstructured and often stuck within PDFs. That is why Cobuilder developed the goBIM tool – providing Product Data Templates that allow manufacturers to create Product Data Sheets based on standards (CEN, CENELEC, IFC, COBie etc) that are machine readable and interoperable with all languages and proprietary BIM software solutions. Find out more.
Without providing interoperability solutions for product names and their associated parameters, the move of the manufacturer’s data towards BIM is hindered by the fact that the predefined parameters in proprietary BIM tools have their own language for product parameters. This therefore makes it hard for manufacturers’ specific data to be easily incorporated directly into BIM.
goBIM – Cobuilder’s tool allows manufacturers to populate PDTs with their data, and it is then made available in hundreds of different languages and data formats. The data is now structured, interoperable and clients can select the properties they require in the format/language they require them in. All properties in goBIM are developed in accordance with harmonised standards under the CPR (Construction Products Regulation) as well as with LVD (Low Voltage Directive) and open BIM standards such as IFC and COBie. Even the basic free PDTs are available to all construction product manufacturers globally with Regional (e.g EU) national, and openBIM formats.
By mapping and importing the data from the manufacturers based on the CPR, LVD, IFC etc. through goBIM, you can make your data available in different languages openBIM formats and even use the standard-based properties into BIM software like Revit, Navisworks, ArchiCAD etc. That is how the collaborative philosophy of BIM can unite software providers such as Cobuilder and Autodesk in order to help manufacturers, specifiers and contractors to jointly provide accurate and verified as-built data to models and CAFM systems.