Guardian Glass: A Guardian for BIM


“Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the next generation of digital representation for architectural projects,” says Lance Altizer, Marketing Director for Guardian Europe

Whereas previous digital objects have been used to quickly and easily port 2D or 3D images into systems like CAD (Computer Aided Design), BIM takes a new approach by offering many more properties to the objects. This allows specified product data to not only facilitate the initial design; it also provides a background data set which runs the life cycle of the project. Although BIM initially debuted in the late ‘80s, technology has only now caught up with the concept.

Guardian Industries Corp. is a global manufacturing company with leading positions in float glass and fabricated glass products for commercial, residential, interiors, automotive, and technical applications. Its products include both float and value-added coated glass-products, low-emissivity (low-E) glass, mirrored, and insulating and reflective glass for a wide range of construction projects.

Guardian’s BIM objects have been created through the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and are carefully designed and considered to ensure the optimum flexibility and utilisation within the BIM environment. BIM objects carry a vast amount of information for glass, including geometric data, light analysis, the properties of building components including the manufacturer’s details and performance data, as well as providing the ability to produce accurate building product quantities. This means that any BIM object used on a project has a complete record associated to it that can help facilitate replacements (if needed) during the building’s life. The system even tracks warrantees (where applicable) and takes into account geographic information to help the architect or designer make the right choices on the glass specified for the project.

Architects and designers are keen to take this format on board for glass and glazing products, as it helps to ensure the right quantities are purchased for the project. Product information is embedded in the BIM object, so the architect or designer has a prepared specification written as soon as a product is selected, saving both time and money. In fact, BIM is designed to enable easy design changes, an example being that a glazed area can be easily increased as BIM takes account of the design change and automatically adjusts the other parameters to account for the alteration.

There are many drivers in the UK towards a move to Building Information Modelling, including owners and building proprietors who are better able to manage the cost of a project from “as designed” to “as built.” Another leading driver is the UK Government, whose Chief Construction Advisor Paul Morrell announced at the start of 2011 that all Government projects over £5 million must adopt BIM. In June 2011 the Government published its BIM strategy, which defined that 3D.

BIM must be supplied with all projects and asset information, documentation and electronic data for projects by 2016. The most recent study on BIM integration prepared by RIBA showed an increase from 13% manufacturer participation in 2011 to 54% manufacturer participation in April 2014. Clearly the drivers for BIM are achieving the desired response.

Guardian’s BIM objects allow glass to be specified either as a design material in its own right, or in single, double or triple glazing, with data variations to account for laminated glass and other glass processes such as heat treatments. All of Guardian’s products available for commercial construction have been modelled from clear annealed float to laminated and coated products such as ClimaGuard® low emissivity glass, and Guardian SunGuard® high performance solar control glass, which includes the SunGuard® SuperNeutralTM series and offers highly selective glass options with a high light transmission, low solar factor and a low U value. Decorative products have also been modelled such as Guardian SatinDeco® acid-etched, translucent glass. To ensure all products are easily accessible Guardian has a listing in the National Building Specification BIM Library, as well as objects hosted on their website product pages at

Each of Guardian’s BIM objects have been made available in Revit and IFC format, which are the leading systems for running BIM software. To help architects, designers, and other BIM professionals understand how Guardian BIM objects work in the BIM environment a short educational film has been produced by RIBA. The film is available on the BIM home page at

Guardian PlusTM – Technical Support on glass

When you think of glass in building, think of Guardian. Guardian not only offers full support on glass and glazing specifications, it also offers access to the Guardian PlusTM Technical Centre. Access to the Technical Centre is free of charge and offers a wealth of support including access to a vast technical library which uses a search engine to trawl through the hundreds of technical documents on glass and glazing available and offer answers to most technical questions.

There is also an acoustic calculator which provides acoustic information including decibel ratings and octave centre frequencies for the majority of glass constructions. You can find out the performance values of different glass combinations by downloading the Guardian ConfiguratorTM as well as support on BIM where you can download objects via the BIM Generator.

In line with the technical theme of Guardian Plus, there are educational video’s demonstrating how glass is made, how different coatings are produced and perform, applications for glass and glazing and the functions of different glass types.

Through Guardian Plus you can also complete CPD accredited training modules which provide detailed technical information on glass and applicable Standards and Regulation like Building Regulation Document L. There are ideas for glass applications through the “Glass as a design material” module, which teaches the right application for the right types of glass and so much more.

To learn more about glass, join Guardian Plus for free today.


Steven Scrivens

Marketing Manager

Guardian Glass

Tel: 01405 726882


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