BIM adoption remains a challenge due to the fact that its many supporters don’t focus upon it’s true relevance, the efficient life-cycle management of the built environment.
While any new technology has barriers to adoption, changing the “status quo”, the fundamental nature of how a business sector does business requires a major event. The cultural and process changes associated with BIM, namely the need for all stakeholders to collaborate, share information in a transparent manner, and share in risk/reward, remain chasms to be crossed by many/most. Fortunately, those currently or previously involved with Integrated Project Delivery and Job Order Contracting (the latter a form of IPD specifically targeting renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction) have experience with these “novel” business concepts. Both IPD and JOC have proven track records and have clearly demonstrated the ability to get more work done on-time and on-budget to the benefit of all involved parties.
A key aspect of BIM, collaboration, can only be efficiently accomplished with a commonly understood and shared taxonomy including terms, definitions, and associated metrics.
So called “open BIM”, such as buildingSMART International’s Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs), are important to enabling collaboration as well as interoperability between BIM software applications. COBie, a naming convention for facility spaces/components, etc., and its counterparts OMINCLASS, including MASTERFORMAT and UNIFORMAT, etc. … can be leveraged and generated by IFC appears a goal worth additional focus on a local and global level. That said, support for COBie, OMNICLASS, IFC, etc. varies and, far from mainstream.
As noted in the IFC / COBIE Report 2012, BIM’s success depends upon the ability to:
- Create model data in a consistent format
- Exchange that data in a common language
- Interrogate the data intelligently.
There are multiple knowledge domains, technologies, and process involve in the life-cycle management of the built environment, all of which need a common data architecture, taxonomy, set of metrics, etc.
The IFC / COBIE Report 2012 correctly points out that pressing needs remain:
The need for standards
The need for guidance
The need for enhanced IFC import export routines from BIM applications
The need for agreed descriptions of who requires what data and when
The need for an improved audit trail to allow greater confidence in collaboration.
Also, and I paraphrase / embellish…
- “Enforcement” of IFC by buildSmartalliance and all BIM “proponents” is required.
- Domain experts must leveraged and queried to deliver structured data templates accordingly. The industry needs well defined model view definition for each COBie data drop. From this can come clear guidance on the “level of detail” required at each COBie data drop. This will give a shared understanding of what information is required from and by whom and at what stage. For example needs of Facilities Managers are required to inform the content of the COBie data drops. Facility management must be considered as early as the briefing process.
- Weaknesses in the IFC import /export processes exist in current software product implementation. These weaknesses make manual checking necessary and reduce confidence. Improvement is vital here.
- While IFC can be used when generating COBie data, people will use whatever works and is available. The market requires. complete flexibility to choose what systems they use. Innovation should not be stifled by mandating a process to achieve the required data.
- COBIE is far from complete, but a good starting point.
- Microsoft Excel provides a view of the structured info of COBie data and one way 0f reporting data, however, in NOT a good authoring tool, nor does it support hierarchal relational data schema.