Imagine all the people sharing all the world. It may be hard to do right now, but 45 years after this seed was sown, its collaborative, compassionate sentiment is gaining momentum.
A recent survey revealed that 48.2% of British people agree. Despite the UK’s current political direction, we are starting to realise that the best way to solve the five main problems in the world – climate change, corruption, inequality, war and BIM – is by working together and looking at the bigger picture. While this is true of people, it’s also important for software platforms – and even buildings – to be able to talk to each other on common terms.
Among the many movements progressing under the BIM banner today, collaboration, interoperability and smart cities have been gaining traction recently.
The best way to solve the five main problems in the world – climate change, corruption, inequality, war and BIM – is by working together and looking at the bigger picture
Many of us have enjoyed an afternoon trying to convert native formats to IFC and back again, or chuckled at the irony of the growing number of competing open data standards. Certainly, the future of collaboration needs to be supported by software platforms that integrate seamlessly – but that is proving easier said than done. Google has made its contribution in the form of Google Flux, which offers to translate between formats automatically, saving the user the hassle of doing it manually.
Once you convert file formats, you have to make sure the information is labelled consistently, and reconfigure analysis tools so the data is useful. And this is before we get onto cloud-hosted updated-live, shared models.
If you flick through PAS1192-2, you’ll find that the person responsible for making all of this happen is the information manager (for more on this, check out John McDermott’s blog post The curse of the BIM manager). Anyone who’s worked on a BIM project will be aware of the importance of this role being done properly; it can make or break a scheme. So what is CIBSE doing about this? The CIBSE BIM Steering Group has recently reshuffled to focus on three areas: guidance, product data templates (PDTs) and messaging. In brief:
- A new series of guidance is being released at the end of July, explaining EIRs, BEPs, PQQs, and CDEs. Perhaps an annoying acronym reference guide (AARG) will be released next?
- After nearly three years in development, the PDTs are now available for public use. A common data format is exactly what is needed for designers and installers to make instant like-for-like comparisons without constantly relabelling data fields.
- We’re keeping up with what’s hot and what’s not; informing CIBSE members; communicating with other sectors; maintaining a presence at events, online and in publications; and offering professional recognition for BIM practitioners in the MEP industry.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on MEP BIM topics through this column; feel free to tell us how much you like us/send us pictures of cats at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ben Roberts MCIBSE is the BIM delivery manager at Hoare Lea and a member of the CIBSE BIM steering group