From the largest to the smallest AEC project, there is one common issue that is very serious – collaboration challenges. For any building project to be successful, there are a number of professionals who have to collaborate and be able to seamlessly exchange information. These professionals may belong to different organizations (may be architecture firms, engineering companies, general contractors or subcontractors). These team need to collaborate, despite their different styles of working and diverse priorities. This seemingly Herculean task has been made possible by model based design (BIM) collaboration.
Understanding the Two Approaches of BIM
BIM provides more meaningful data to each team of professionals, reducing the scope for misunderstandings and errors. This technology has evolved in two ways – one with a “platform” approach and the other with an “open” approach. In the prior approach, the software solution is proprietary and collaboration takes place using the different parts of the same solution. In the latter approach, there exist different software solutions.
Understanding the Open BIM Approach
The open approach to BIM promotes the open collaboration of workflows. Rather than the conversation taking place at the data level, it takes place at the workflow level. This approach makes data a medium of exchanging information.
Benefits of the Open BIM Approach for the AEC Industry
The most important advantage with open BIM is that people participating in the project can be professionals who have expertise in that required tasks rather than in the software being used.
There is system independence, providing the different participating firms with the option of using those tools that are best for their purpose. Even with different firms using different tools, there is no loss to the model-based collaboration.
Different participants need to maintain the ownership and responsibility for their design data. Parallel workflows using open collaboration ensure that the integrity of the BIM project data is maintained, as there are parallel data structures that are developed and coordinated.
Workflow transparency is another important advantage of open BIM. For open collaboration, it is essential to have workflow compatibility. This is achieved through transparent protocols and data interpretation, which provides any software or solution to connect via an open interface.
Thus, the open approach ensures easy accessibility of data for the complete building lifecycle, including design, construction and maintenance.
The cutthroat competition in the AEC industry cannot be ignored. With little difference in design, technology and building materials, “sustainability” can enhance the worth of a project in the market. The involved members (including tenants, future owners and operators) can now utilize the digital building model effectively and in a much better way.