Monday 6 September 2010

buildingSMART Summit Week - Day One

After a pretty smooth journey on the Sunday from Newcastle to Copenhagen by air followed by a train journey across Denmark to Nyborg I attended the first day of the buildingSMART summit.

The amazing rail and road bridge at Nyborg

The first presentation was from John Mitchell from the University of South Wales in Australia. A couple of case studies were shown to demonstrate the main benefits of BIM.  The main benefits of an open BIM is in passing the model between the disciplines. For example, The Ark Project in North Sydney had the Structural Engineer and Architect working off an ArchiCAD BIM, but exporting to IFC for clash detection in with the M&E Engineer’s Revit MEP BIM. The classic example from Australia is the Sydney Opera House. This was modelled in Bentley and then exported using IFC to ArchiCAD. Potential clash detection between the structural elements and the M&E systems is clearly the main driver for interoperable BIMs. John also presented results from a survey of over 250 professionals that showed BIM was getting used to a degree by over 75% of these. Of those not using BIM around 75% intend to use it in the next 1-3 years.

The Ark Project

Francois Grobler from the US Army Corps of Engineers presented a number of drivers including top-down mandates in the US to improve efficiencies in the construction industry. For example, all new federal buildings in the US must be designed to be net-zero-energy use by 2020. On particular development that seemed very interesting was the COBie XML file format that the US Army are using for information transfer once the project is handed from the construction team to the building operator/owner. It seems to be a more simple way of documenting materials and spaces without the complex geometries of a CAD BIM model.

As always I was fascinated by the IFD project. Jacob Mehus presented some very interesting developments in Norway where the Norwegian Defence Agency have said they will now procure their projects using IFD. So any manufacturer who wants their products to be used on any of these projects must add them, defined by IFD, to a searchable database. The designer can then feed in data from their IFC BIM model into the engine and compliant products will be returned. This all sounds very interesting and I look forward to attending the IFD workshop day in Copenhagen on Thursday.

Following the IFD presentation, Thomas Liebich then “unveiled” some of the improvements for the IFC 2x4 release. The many improvements include geometric, efficiency, support for light and texture and improved documentation and samples. It will be presented to ISO as a draft standard next year and hopefully released in 2011. A couple of quotes, “The most encompassing and complete open specification for BIM”, “It has been seven years in its making – we’ve gone for quality over speed in release management”. At the end of the presentation there was discussion as to how fast the software vendors will implement IFC 2x4 import and export following its release. Thomas indicated that the certification tests will be tighter than in the past.

Inham Kim from Kyung-Hee University, Korea , presented how BIM was used to judge the design team competition for the KPX Headquarter relocation project. This was a $45m project with over $2m being spent on the design. All designers entering the competition got free software (ArchiCAD, Revit, SketchUp) for three months. The designs were judged entirely on the BIMs that they submitted. The BIMS were used to generate rendered images, perform energy analysis, clash detection analysis and generate animations.

BIM specialists Gravicon from Finland did an interesting presentation of their role on the design of the Helsinki Music Centre. The use of the BIM to test the acoustic performance was fascinating, how it was possible to tilt the seating areas in the x, y and z direction to get the optimal acoustic performance. Following this was the final presentation of the day by Martin Tamke who compared the BIM tools used by the manufacturing industry with those used by the construction industry. This included some beautiful curved surfaces in buildings that can only really be generated, fabricated and built using BIM technology.

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