Communication of BIM data – key success factor
Architects, contractors, and building owners can profit from integrating Building Information Modelling (BIM) into their building process. However, they can only do so if they are able to successfully communicate BIM data. What is required for this success? This article looks into the needs of stakeholders and the possibilities for communication.
The need for exchanging information
Integrating BIM into the building process gives direct access to all relevant information which is needed by all stakeholders. BIM means integrating all this information into one central model. The communication within the model takes place by means of files that need to be exchanged between the different stakeholders.
This may sound easy, but there are two risks which become prominent when one takes a closer look. Firstly, as the different stakeholders have different tasks and goals, they also have different needs which have to be fulfilled. Secondly, the different stakeholders possibly use different tools and software. Especially for larger organisations, changing these existing programmes and tools is no real option.
Types of BIM data: input and output data
Within the BIM model, two different types of data are needed: input data and output data.
Input data is required in the design stage. It relates to products and components which are to be used in the building. This data needs to contain parameters, visuals, and specifications. Architects and designers need to add this information into their model. This can be done as generic files or native software files.
Output data is required after the design stage. Architects and designers need to create output data of the BIM model for the build and operational stage. As with input data, also the output data can be done in software-specific files. But there is a valuable alternative to this: open output data files like IFC. IFC stands for Industry Foundation Classes and is the open and neutral data format for the exchange of BIM data. The standard can be used by several partners in the building chain with different software.
IFC files as support for the philosophy of BIM
Using IFC files in the BIM model allows every stakeholder to show their model as a reference. However, options for modelling are disabled and correct data transfer requires good coordination from the whole team involved.
This is a key factor for the successful implementation and communication of BIM data. In other words, the idea of BIM is that one common model forms the essence of the building design and construction process. If communication works along these lines, the different stakeholders can fulfill their different needs and use their different tools in a building process based on BIM.
If you want to learn more about communication in the BIM model and the benefits that all stakeholders can gain by integrating BIM, you will find more insight in the BIM Whitepaper