Costain plays key role in BIM Level 3 collaboration project


Costain demonstrates how it is an industry leader in BIM through its involvement in a project aimed at solving some of the issues surrounding the implementation of Level 3…

Construction firm Costain has played a key role in a two-year project that examined how to overcome some of the challenges surrounding the implementation of BIM Level 3.

The project, ‘Clouds for Coordination’ (C4C), was part-funded by the government’s innovation agency Innovate UK and industry partners from organisations such as BRE, Cardiff University, IBM, and AEC3.

Costain’s design & BIM manager David Owens said: “BIM Level 3 presents challenges around who owns the data (and is therefore liable if part of the model is wrong) and trust in the data.

“The BIM Level 3 process will need an evolution in the way we share data in construction and how contracts view these transactions.”

The C4C project aimed to ensure the right people are able to gain the right data at the right time. To do this each party involved can create its own BIM data, but instead of uploading it to a central electronic document management system it is instead stored on the project team’s own servers or cloud. C4C then retrieves the shared/published data. These files are merged and distributed as a suitable .ifc (Industry Foundation Classes) file to their project partners.

“To achieve that, C4C successfully developed a ‘cloud’ facility which followed the BS1192 protocol and respected the need for Check, Review, and Approve of all project data and the range of suitability levels and extent of project partners and their staff,” Owens added.

“C4C tracked that process, and once data (including 3D) met the clients’ criteria and only that criteria, those objects/data were instantly shared with other project participants’ servers.

“This can then be used as a reference model for the other disciplines – for example the architects can share the building envelope with the structural engineers.

“Key to this was to ‘tag’ each and every object with a ‘suitability’, at present we only declare suitability at a file level.

“C4C has helped us take a significant step towards full collaboration between all disciplines using a single, shared model.”