Level 3 BIM and the data explosion

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Level 3 BIM, location intelligence, and the explosion of data are all considered here by Paul Marshall of Landmark Information Group

The AGI’s Foresight 2020 report contained some astonishing facts and stats relating to big data and the management and analytical value of data that is being captured and utilised, for tasks such as BIM.

It reported that 90% of data had been created in the last two years, and the volume of data we produce is growing by as much as 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day!  This is set to grow as more and more data, including geolocation data will be captured via new applications, tools and sensors that are being installed into a huge range of assets via the so-called ‘Internet of Things’. Neither should we forget the data that is captured in real-time via the ever-expanding number of personal mobile devices.

What particularly stands out to me in the AGI 2020 report, however, is the view from the lead author, Dr Anne Kemp, into the convergence of BIM and geospatial to deliver more ‘location intelligence’. Dr Kemp was quoted as saying:  “There is far more to location intelligence than maps. It’s all about data, what you do with it and what outcomes you can provide that counts. We are seeing an explosion in the volume of sensors and mobile devices in cities, homes and workplaces which are producing torrents of data. The role of location intelligence in the management of these datasets is vital, with it becoming the glue to connect them.”

As we head towards BIM Level 3, which is also known as ‘Digital Built Britain’, I believe location intelligence really comes into its own.

This new level takes BIM to a fully integrated and collaborative era, which will see processes enabled via online services.  It is hoped that all members of the professional and construction teams will have invested in the right technologies and will have the trained staff. It is also hoped that delivered design information, due diligence data, costs and project planning information (and a range of other relevant data and materials) are available in the single, centrally managed BIM model so that everyone can access and update it in real-time.

By doing so, we will see collaboration extend from sharing isolated files and data between various sources and systems, to instead having all relevant data and materials being fed concurrently into one single model that can be accessed and modified by all parties, in real-time, using open data standards.

In my view, this is where BIM starts to come into its own.

It has been suggested that between now and 2025, the UK Government and industry will move to fully adopt Level 3 BIM. This is where we shift to deliver fully transparent data sharing across the supply chain. There is, of course, a lot of work that needs to be done to bridge the gap between the construction process and the ongoing asset or facilities management, while ensuring that all information that is delivered assessed and managed through the model is appropriate, current and available to all stakeholders.

Where BIM comes into its own is the ability for all stakeholders, at varying phases of the lifecycle of a building, to add, query, amend or update information in the model to support their own role and share this data with other relevant stakeholders, at any time.

For example, essential geospatial information, which contextualises the overall surrounding of the building, campus or site is an important element of a model.  By having insight into data relating to the surrounding location, in addition to technical documentation, legal conveyancing search documentation and key environmental risk analysis, such as flooding, ground stability or land contamination, must not be overlooked.

If we merge this level of data into BIM, it adds a wealth of accurate geospatial data to the mix that will ultimately create more information-rich models – it delivers the ‘location intelligence’ Dr Kemp refers to in the report.

For example, by cross analysing the location of the model with real-time environmental data, designers, surveyors and engineers involved in a project would instantly see if the site has any risk of surface water or groundwater flooding or ground instability risk. They will also know whether any nearby planning applications may impact the site, or if any utilities are hidden below the surface. It would all be there, available to view within the model.

Managing any ‘big data’ project does, however, require a huge amount of coordination, backed up by robust software and technology. For BIM, a Common Data Environment (CDE) provides a structured, organised online hub where collecting, managing and disseminating information among all stakeholders takes place. The management of this is vital to ensure the data is current, secure and follows agreed BIM protocols.

From where I am sitting, it is exciting to see the continued evolution of BIM.  When intelligent geospatial data is fully integrated, it provides real context and brings the whole model to life.

Earlier this year we participated in the BRE BIM Prospects event, and it was interesting to hear not only from firms already utilising BIM for their projects but in hearing about the work that continues to take place to upskill existing workforces. In addition to this, universities are doing great work on their current and future approach to BIM to ensure students are equipped and prepared for BIM-compliant working upon graduation and entering the workforce.

While greater collaboration and data sharing will bring with it a huge information management requirement, there are obvious and clear benefits to it, and we welcome the advancement to the next phase of BIM and a more data-driven, connected approach.

Paul Marshall
Account Director
Landmark Information Group
www.landmark.co.uk
Please note: this is a commercial profile

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