Sunday 8 February 2015

NBS BIM Object Standard and shared parameters

There has been a bit of debate on linkedin and twitter over recent weeks about our NBS BIM Object Standard and our shared parameter file. As a general rule I try not get into social media discussions - but in this case, here are some views from me in this blog post.

In recent months, as part of our NBS National BIM Library website, we have published our BIM object standard and our shared parameter file. These are part of the tools that our team use to ensure that content to the BIM library is consistent and of a reliable level of technical quality.
National BIM Library tools and guides
So what is the advantage of having well-structured information? In the examples below, I have tried to demonstrate this. In addition, I've deliberately not taken any screenshots from Revit or ArchiCAD to try and make this software neutral. Imagine this information has been exported from the design software and is being manipulated externally.
Selected National BIM Library objects for example
Selected National BIM Library objects for example
The information parameters from a typical library object
Consider the situation where the user would like to analyse the information for a U-Value calculation or a BREEAM Assessment. Having this information in a standard format allows it to immediately appear as per the example below. No further post-processing or mapping is required and any software routines can read the data in a standard format.
Standardised information
If every data provider and software vendor and design/construction organisation used their own rules for naming properties then the data could still be present but the industry would be doing a lot of extra hours in manual post-processing.
The alternative
A further example is given before where a client want to answers a plain language question wanting to know how the design is maximising the use of recycled content? This is a simple question, but pulling all of this information together from various data sources is a a large task for any project team. A snippet from an information take-off from a model using National BIM Library objects is below:
Extract from recycled content report
Standardisation can create huge efficiencies here - structured data and the corresponding efficiencies can provide greater value and help with informed decision making.

The current social media debate
The social media debate appears to be centred around whether NBS is trying to force others to use our way of working. This is absolutely not the case. We are simply sharing our way of working in the hope that it is of use to others that are on the same journey as ourselves.

Over the last few years with National BIM Library we have been on a journey ourselves. It is a huge task to create consistent, high quality content for thousands of generic and manufacturer construction objects. We must firstly have our own strict internal processes - and then we are faced with a decision, do we keep this learning and knowledge private to our own organisation? Or do we share so others (should they choose) can benefit?

Other organisations I have personally been inspired by who have shared their way of doing things include:
Other points raised on social media include:

There are already standards out there for BIM - why is this even needed?
At NBS, our chief executive is chair of the BSI B/555 committee looking after the UK BIM standards. We are also executive team participants on buildingSMART UK. Our BIM object standard painstakingly references these BIM standards and brings this knowledge together in one place. We a promoting the use of BSI and buildingSMART standards and pushing this hard.

Manufacturers are being forced to get NBS to author their content
This isn't the case. In-house manufacturer teams can choose to use the NBS object standard should they wish. Where manufacturers out-source this, they can choose to ask for this authoring task to be to the standard should they wish.

In either of these situations, manufacturers that have objects to our standard can then discuss hosting options with us in terms of putting their content in front of the decision makers and specifiers on projects.

Manufacturer information such as shown in this blog post shouldn't be in a BIM object but in an externally hosted cloud library
If this is the way the industry turns, then we have this information in our NBS National BIM Library cloud library and can expose it through API. We can 'flick the switch'. But until the software vendor products work this way - our current approach is to deliver it in the objects. Scheduling and delivering information take off and analysis in the design model is how the industry currently works.

The NBS GUIDs are different from software vendor X
We are working closely with the different software vendors. Over time we'd like this to be a little smoother. Anything we are working on behind the scenes is under NDA.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe there is some merit in the 'benevolent dictator' argument for NBL forging de facto standards

    Agreed that data should be in the objects/model. That way it can be filtered, scheduled etc. That is at odds with external specifications like NBS Create though, unless you start mapping clause fields to parameters...