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Benefits of BIM for the construction industry

The construction industry is growing rapidly but is facing problems with profitability due to the high impact of process and exchange errors caused by the fragmentation of the industry. Extensive digitization offers a solution to the construction sector through BIM technology. This involves digitally building the project in 3D form while integrating geometric and alphanumeric data. Some software uses advanced analysis of the model (clash detection, geometric and alphanumeric verification rules, graphic substitutions according to properties) which highlights in an automated way certain characteristics or problems in the BIM model, allowing the reduction of design errors and therefore errors and delays on site. In addition, the 3D model facilitates the understanding by the field workers of the elements to be executed.

In theory, the idea sounds good, but it often happens that, in the digital phase, some ambiguities arise in the flow of information between partners using this BIM technology.

Indeed, BIM models can be built in different ways, each engineering office, architecture office, or contractor uses BIM technology according to its own conventions. But when all these parties have to collaborate together on a BIM model, these different ways of modeling regularly cause problems. Models delivered by one party may not be used by the others because of different modeling conventions, so it is often faster to remodel from scratch. Moreover, some information is sometimes missing or stored in a different way (different name and/or different folder). In addition, there is the question of file formats, as each party does not necessarily work with the same software. For this last point, an open exchange format is available in most software and allows the exchange of 3D models with all the information, it is the IFC, Industry Foundation Classes), and it is both a standard (ISO norm) and a file format.

Despite the existence of this universal exchange format, it is not easy to correctly manage a model exchange via IFC. In addition to managing the information in the native model, there is also the IFC mapping with its set of rules to respect (Pset, Qto, class, predefined types, etc.). Each participant in a project must therefore invest a considerable amount of time to achieve these configurations, without necessarily achieving a perfectly satisfactory result. In addition to the complexity of implementation in software, modelers are confronted with different demands for each project. They have to reconfigure properties and IFC mappings for each project and repeat this tedious work.

A common reference to simplify life for all actors

It would therefore be desirable if everyone can rely on a common reference: the client for the definition of needs; designers, and companies for the implementation of the models and exchanges of models. Aware of the stakes in terms of information exchange in BIM projects in the BENELUX and in Europe, Buildwise (Belgium) and CRTI-B (Luxembourg) have decided to collaborate to establish together common exchange rules and to propose a standardized approach to information delivery, the whole based on the European standard EN 17412-1 – Level of Information Need. The BIMids platform is structured by the construction elements presented in the form of descriptive sheets describing the requirements to be provided. This approach simplifies consultation for professionals in the sector who are not particularly familiar with BIM standards or classifications.

The content of the Interoperability Guide from Digital Building has been migrated on the platform and this content is updated and improved regularly with new features. Know more about it

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