Thursday 24 January 2013

BIM Objects from Manufacturers

Throughout last year I blogged and spoke a lot about BIM. We launched the National BIM Library and there were further developments to our specification product that is “built for BIMNBS Create Most of my blog posts and presentations were around the need for generic structured information and the need for this information in the central BIM to be coordinated with the information external to this (such as the specification model).

Throughout all of this, what is really nice to see is that over recent months the volume of NBS BIM contents from manufacturers is really growing. Looking at the National BIM Library it can now be seen that there are now a number of manufacturers on board. Also, there are a growing number of manufacturers that have objects in development.
Fig 1  - Manufacturers now live on National BIM Library
Leading the way working closely with manufacturers and producing this content is Drew Wiggett our Head of Product Information. Drew has many years in practice working on projects using BIM. Prior to joining NBS he was one of those that rolled out a BIM way of working at Ryder Architecture and worked on projects such as Durham Johnson Secondary School and many other education and commercial sector projects.
Fig 2 - NBS Head of Product Information Drew Wiggett
The construction industry is sending out a clear message to the supply chain. This message is that manufacturers must digitalise their products so that this information can be used in the design, construction and operation of buildings. This message again was reinforced in the UK Government’s Pipeline for Growth report that was published before Christmas.
“… work with the trade bodies to ensure that construction manufacturers can supply BIM information to the industry”
NBS are here to help manufacturers in their BIM journey and the three unique reasons we find that manufacturers are joining National BIM Library are as follows:

1.  Engaging with the whole market

We've had over 50,000 downloads of objects on the National BIM Library. Looking at the statistics of what BIM platform users are downloading the proprietary objects for is fascinating. This market share is represented in the pie-chart below. Revit is clearly has the largest market share. However, although this is significant, it is still less than half of the market of those using BIM design tools.

What is unique about National BIM Library is that all manufacturer content comes in ArchiCAD, Bentley, IFC, Revit and Vectorworks formats. This ensures that a manufacturer can get their content to the entire market.

A nice analogy is to ask whether an organisation would invest in a website that only worked for customers running Internet Explorer on a PC? – the answer is clearly “no”. The website would be expected to work on within Google Chrome and Safari on the Mac, and the iPhone and the Android phone and surface tablets.
Fig 3 - BIM tool market share

2. Consistency and quality of information

The second unique benefit of National BIM Library is the consistency of information between generic objects and the proprietary objects. As a design develops concept objects will be replaced with generic objects, these generic objects will be replaced with proprietary objects. There will be times during a projects development that there is a mix of objects. To truly see the benefit of BIM it is crucial that there is consistency between the naming of the property sets within the objects.

The screenshots below shows the depth and consistency of the property sets comparing generic and proprietary objects from National BIM Library.
Fig 4 - A Knauf AMF ceiling object scheduled against a generic ceiling object
Fig 5 - A Kalzip roof object scheduled against a generic roof object
In terms of standardising property set terminology and levels of details NBS are on the groups defining this with representatives on the BSI B/555 BIM Standards Committee and buildingSMART UK.

3. Being part of the entire project work-flow

Finally, the National BIM Library is not a simple silo of BIM content. The objects link to other related information that construction professionals throughout a project timeline. From discovering new construction products and technologies with to browsing catalogues using Products can then be specified using the NBS specification products, before the objects can be dropped into the model. Finally detailed installation and maintenance manuals may also be found on

The screenshot below shows an example of this related information from Triton Systems:
Fig 6 - Triton Systems - related information
So exciting times as the National BIM Library grows and grows. We have more exciting plans for new generic content in 2013 – so keep an eye on and this blog for more information in the coming months.
Fig 7 - A quick render using objects from Jackson Fencing
Fig 8 - IFC property sets showing sustainability credentials from Kingspan Insulation
Update 27th January - I promoted this blog post on our National BIM Library linkedin group and got this really nice response from John Evans Associate Director at Capita Symonds Ltd:
Fig 9 - Linkedin Discussion group

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