Nick Tune, CEO of coBuilder UK defines the meaning of BIM Level 2 as we meet the April deadline and justifies the importance of structured data for a seamless BIM operation…
The 4th of April is an important date for the UK Government’s current BIM programme as it is the day the BIM Level 2 milestone will be officially set out for all centrally procured public sector projects. The UK government reports that BIM Level 2 has already achieved 20% cost savings as part of the Government’s Construction Strategy for its construction procurement. Additionally, The Ministry of Justice BIM pilot project has identified BIM as the process innovation having enabled £800,000 of savings in the development of the Cookham Wood Young Offenders Institution1. As this date is fast approaching, all eyes are on the benefits of the second level of BIM maturity and all minds are on how to better implement it.
What is BIM level 2?
For the unversed in the BIM particularities, BIM Level 2 is about a group of standards, set by the UK government around the adoption and use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for the digitalisation of the construction industry. Essentially, BIM itself is about using one coherent system of processes for designing, building and operating construction assets through the advancements of the digital medium – open data, 3D models and digital documents. In this sense, Level 2 BIM is the stage of BIM adoption intended to standardise the process of sharing high quality digital information through platform-neutral digital formats such as COBie and IFC. At the highest level, BIM Level 2 is really a set of processes and standards of how to work better within the different stages of construction in order to gain efficiencies in quality and cost in the way we build and operate buildings.
Digital data is crucial for BIM level 2
The generation of the 3 dimensional model of the asset is an important part of the BIM agenda. However, it is a great misconception that all of the supply chain members have to invest and work with expensive software such as a Revit or ArchiCAD etc. That is a very critical point, especially when up to 95% of construction and civil engineering firms in the EU are micro-enterprises or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMES)2. More often than not, SMEs just have to provide the information in the form of digital data to the main design team or the main contracting firm about what products they are installing in the building or infrastructure. In order to tackle the information hunger that is driven by BIM Level 2, contracting firms and their numerous sub-contractors need to step-up and find a way to deliver structured data that anyone can use and understand. BIM Level 2 for contractors or delivering as built data
So what ProductXchange – the coBuilder tool, actually does is help contractors and their supply chain collect all the right information about what’s being built. The platform builds a digital repository of information and data that is collected through all the stages of construction, ensuring as designed matched as built. Once collected, the data can then be shared with the supply chain in multiple formats such as COBie, REVIT, IFC or ARCHICAD that can be then outputted or attributed to the 3D model. Putting accurate, interoperable as built data together with the model at BIM Level 2 is quite simply the act of sharing that data with the supply chain, ensuring seamless digital data flow through all further levels of BIM implementation.
BIM Level 2 for manufacturers or making the data interoperable
At coBuilder we like to say that BIM level 2 is not a one man job. Manufacturers have a significant share of the responsibility for making BIM Level 2 work. With manufacturers’ data still distributed in unsearchable PDF catalogues and inconsistent online databases, BIM Level 2 is still far from being achieved. In order to become BIM-compatible, manufacturers need to share their product information as digital BIMified data. The fastest and most affordable way of doing that is through Product Data Templates.
BIM level 2 is coming
Along with making the most out of the detail-rich 3D models at BIM Level 2, the construction industry is striving to enter the era of digital data. There is no way of achieving this goal without properly handling product data properties such as a product’s height, width, strength, fire rating etc. The shared knowledge of such data, along the construction supply chain, is crucial to BIM Level 2 and thus to the whole idea of BIM in general – improving the quality and reducing the cost of building and operating facilities and infrastructure.
Through our BIM enabled software, we at coBuilder allow the construction industry to create, distribute and use the essential data or DNA of each building, so all actors in the supply chain are able to have the accurate information (data) they require when they require it. ■
1 Digital Built Britain http://www.digital-built-britain.com/about
2 European Comission Data http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/construction/index_en.htm
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