Uncovering the Foundations of BIM and openBIM: Exploring Enhanced Data and Information Management in Design
The construction sector encompasses a vast range, from architectural to engineering design, residential to infrastructure and nodal systems. Communicating components and features solely through geometry, as typically done in graphic representations, falls short in conveying crucial information. Geometry alone cannot explain an object’s functioning within the technological system of design or management work. In this article, discover how BIM, openBIM and IFC offer a new perspective on the built and unbuilt environment.
Creating an Information System for Construction Objects
To overcome limitations, it’s essential to attribute information to objects within our project. Labeling a parallelepiped as a “wall” immediately clarifies its identity, addressing potential ambiguity in graphic representations. This label allows defining characteristics such as length, width, thickness, stratigraphy, constituent materials, finishes, and U-value. Traditional 2D and/or 3D representation approaches often lack these labels, making the interpretation of graphic representations ambiguous.
Limitations of Graphic Representations
Reading plans, elevations and sections might be straightforward for those accustomed to this language but becomes complex, even for experts, in detailed projects or systems. Performance characteristics are often separated from graphic representations, residing in technical reports and data sheets. This division complicates information management and interrelation.
The Emergence of Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building Information Modeling (BIM) methodology emerge to address these challenges. BIM utilizes 3D models to represent objects and integrates performance information within these models. This approach creates a centralized database of information about the work, enhancing data organization and management.
The Key Role of OpenBIM
In parallel with BIM, openBIM has developed, promoting interoperability among different BIM software and systems. This open approach allows seamless collaboration among project stakeholders, regardless of the software they use. OpenBIM breaks down barriers between disciplines and enhances communication.
The Importance of IFC
At the core of BIM and openBIM is Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), a data schema defining how information should be structured and interrelated. IFC files are interdisciplinary, coordinated and interoperable. Capable of handling data related to any aspect of the asset, ensuring better information sharing across disciplines. With IFC, the need to aggregate geometric data and object information in a single model is addressed effectively.
Details and Specifics of IFC
IFC can represent highly detailed and specific data, including object shapes, geometries, performance characteristics, materials, thermal properties and more. These details make IFC suitable for complex projects, facilitating more informed decisions in design and construction.
Open Standards and Global Sharing
IFC is an open standard, accessible globally and not subject to exclusive ownership. This promotes international collaboration and global sharing of data and information in the construction sector. IFC is actively promoted by organizations like buildingSMART International, working to keep this standard at the forefront of building technologies.
For in-depth insights into IFC, check out this article: “IFC File: What It Is and How to Open It.”
The Challenge of Balance
Engineers, architects and construction professionals must balance project needs with available resources. Striking the right balance between quality and cost is crucial. BIM, openBIM, and IFC help optimize this management by providing comprehensive and interconnected data. Therefore improving the quality as well as the efficiency of design and management decisions. To delve deeper, read “Optimizing Construction Companies’ Activities with OpenBIM and IFC.”
BIM, openBIM and IFC represent a turning point in the construction sector. These methodologies enable more effective management of complex data, overcoming the limitations of simple graphic representation and traditional project relations. Improving communication among involved disciplines and ensuring greater efficiency in design and work management.
To achieve this, indispensable software includes BIM authoring tools for creating 3D models (architecture, structures, MEP, etc.), BIM tools for aggregating data (construction timelines, costs, energy performance, etc.) into the BIM model. As well as BIM management systems to organize processes and data in a collaborative cloud environment where architects, engineers, surveyors, builders, maintainers and owners can work together effectively.