Building better BIM


Matthew Teague, Senior Architect at Tata Steel, discusses how an in-house professional team of architects, developers and engineers collaborated to develop Tata Steel’s new BIM offering…

As the world becomes smarter, more connected and the construction industry continues to focus on meeting the needs of a rising population, new buildings need to integrate physical, digital and human systems to become smarter and deliver a sustainable future for the world’s cities. This means the industry needs to create structures, which connect to, and can provide data on energy usage, water usage and transport throughout their lifecycle.

Considering how steel could help to solve the problems faced with creating intelligent buildings Tata Steel is focussing on the development of over 7,000 BIM objects.

When considering the user experience of BIM in particular, it was important to understand how to create more efficient use of BIM in the industry so that the technology could help the industry cope with the demands of a changing world.

BIM is increasingly accepted as a modern design process, enabling improved, multidisciplinary integration and the ability to detect and resolve design issues earlier in the process where they have most potential to be resolved efficiently. This means there is potential to build a more complete picture of a construction project at the design stage, showing how it can be delivered, operated and maintained to achieve the best possible outcomes. But further than this, BIM can enable manufacturers, architects, engineers, builders and the end-users to collaborate easier throughout the procurement, assembly, operation and renewal stages to achieve smarter, more efficient buildings.

The BIM project team set about creating a format for the BIM objects that enables each member of a project team to easily access the correct information for the correct product at the right time on any given project.

To communicate this collaborative way of using BIM, it was decided to compare the similarities of a DNA strand to the BIM process. BIM information is intrinsically part of each product; it is always connected to the product. This concept of a complex and unique set of attributes that accompany Tata Steel’s products at all times can be described in much the same way that DNA determines an organism’s characteristics. Each half of a strand of DNA code (imagine a ladder cut lengthwise down the middle) can be compared to the two main strands of information contained within a BIM model; product information and project information.

Drawing further from the comparison, each code within DNA is vital to the development of a living being, with the same being said for BIM objects – each piece of information embedded into the objects are fundamental to their correct use and application within a BIM model and the completed project.

To enable users to filter through the comprehensive product information, the Product DNA™ profiler was created. Supplied alongside the BIM objects, the profiler allows users to go from more than 7,000 products to one in just a few selections, by searching for a specific characteristic such as warranty length, colour or product performance.

By comparing Tata Steel’s comprehensive BIM offering to DNA – a complex topic can be made simpler, drawing on the analogy that DNA is ‘the building block of life’ and therefore, Tata Steel’s Product DNA™ is the building block for better use of BIM in the construction industry.

Matthew Teague

Senior Architect

Tata Steel

Tel: +44 (0)207 975 8368


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