Tuesday 16 October 2012

BIM Arguments

The BIM twittersphere seems to have descended into a bit of an argument over the following: Which is best: (a) sharing data between software platforms or (b) pressing on with new innovative software?

Do we have to sit in one camp or the other? I personally think that both are pretty good. I strongly believe it doesn't have to be one at the expense of the other.

For example, at NBS we have software that exports to open-standard COBie format and have some pretty innovative research work into IFC. We also have plug-ins that work directly with the ArchiCAD API and another that works directly with the Revit API. It is definitely not a case of picking one over the other.

A couple of examples that attempt to demonstrate my point:

Example 1
I was at the MicroCAD conference earlier today and Simon Dickinson demonstrated some of the latest technologies from Autodesk. A sold-out conference room watched as Simon showed a design model rendered in virtual-reality on a QR code card. He then showed this model be uploaded to the cloud and then rotated in augmented reality from an Apple iPad.

Live demonstrations of fantastic technology - absolutely brilliant stuff. I've sat at other software vendor events and have been equally impressed with similar technology.
QR codes and virtual reality building models
Augmented reality on an iPad
Example 2
At NBS we are working quite closely with the Finnish company Solibri. Solibri products work of buildingSMART IFC format that can exported from all of the main BIM design packages.

The example below shows a COBie data view of an IFC file at run-time that is linked to the 3D model. Note that Microsoft Excel is nowhere in sight. This is a well-structured relational database that the user can use to jump to the relevant space or component in the model as you click on it.

I think this is absolutely brilliant too. It shows that well-structured standardised data formats can work and that record information can be passed from one software product to another. As part of the open BIM network COBie trial we have seen this work from Revit, ArchiCAD and Vectorworks to IFC and then coming through to tools such as Solibri.

COBie as a integral dataset
Click on your object in COBie - see it in the model and the info behind it
As a final thought…
Technology must advance in an open market without restrictions. But user groups must keep the pressure on the software vendors to keep improving their quality of import and export to open-standard data formats. As we've seen in examples such as HTML5 and jQuery from the software development community - open-standard data formats can greatly improve user experience and help with innovation.

1 comment:

  1. These graphical interfaces are opening up the construction industry to a wealth of young tech-savvy recruits. You try talking to 'Jay' and 'Robbie' about German fasteners...