Let’s find out how using cloud applications and implementing an IFC-openBIM approach can help to better organize an architectural firm
The need to optimize processes and improve collaboration between different stakeholders has become fundamental in the construction industry for companies that want to remain competitive. Open BIM and IFC are two approaches to AEC collaboration that allow effective project management, considerable saving of time and resources while helping connect stakeholders..
To face the complexity of the construction industry, collaboration between different professional figures is crucial: working in a team, setting up an associated firm or an engineering company, is an excellent solution to provide an interdisciplinary package to clients and effectively address all the specialized aspects that come into play in a construction process.
Teamwork, however, involves a series of aspects to be managed and, consequently, the use of tools and applications to:
- improving communication;
- facilitating collaboration;
- managing workflows,
- monitoring timing and responsibility of activities to be carried out.
If your job involves working in a team, or if you have an associated architectural studio or engineering office, you absolutely need to get the lowdown on the techniques and tools that allow you to optimize coordination and collaboration. In this article, we will explore how IFC openBIM and cloud-based digital tools can help you better organize your technical study, avoiding miscommunication and optimizing workflows between the various disciplines.
What is OpenBIM and IFC
Open BIM is a working approach based on interoperability and collaboration between all specialistic disciplines involved in the design, construction and commissioning of buildings. The IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) is an international open standard format that promotes the exchange of BIM data while aiming at facilitating collaboration between different stakeholders and ensuring interoperability between the different tools used in the design and construction process.
A necessary condition when working in a technical studio where many professional roles collaborate (structuralists, plant designers, interior designers, etc.) using different software, is the compatibility of the files produced and a smooth exchange of documents and information. The advantage of working with IFC openBIM files is right that: seamless access to 3D models and information produced by any BIM software. You simply need to export the IFC templates to be able to open and manage them with a simple online BIM viewer.
On the IFC openBIM file you can perform a series of operations directly from the browser, such as:
- taking a tour of the 3D model online;
- producing photorealistic renderings;
- generating2D project darwings (floor plans, elevation views and cross-sections) in DWG format;
- navigating the model with virtual reality;
- enrich the model with BIM objects from the online library;
- edit geometric and information properties of BIM models;
- federate different interdisciplinary models;
- check for collisions and interferences with clash detection;
How to organize an associated architects firm or engineering studio
architectural firm management
To improve the efficiency and organization of the activities you can use a management software online for architectural firms , which allows you to control:
- information exchanges;
- information and document exchange timing;
- the collaborative workflow between the various professionals;
- quality control;
- compliance with the objectives of a project;
- the information delivery plan;
- the attachments to the BIM model.
Which are the activities that are typically carried out in an architectural firm?
The activities carried out may vary depending on involved professionals’ specialization and skills. Some of the most common are:
- design and consultancy in various fields, such as civil engineering, structural engineering and electrical engineering;
- construction management and supervision of construction projects;
- assessment and estimation of project costs;
- site activities planning and coordination;
- management of cadastral and urban planning practices;
- drafting of technical reports.
How to organize activities in an architectural firm?
Organizing your day in an architectural firm can be a challenging task, but a few key steps can help improve efficiency and productivity.
Here are some tips:
- start the day with a coordination meeting to discuss the day’s priorities and objectives;
- use an construction management software to plan and keep track of the various tasks and deadlines;
- assign responsibilities and competencies to each team member;
- establish breaks during the workday to avoid work overload;
- monitor work progress and regularly update the work plan;
- end the day with a short meeting to review the results achieved and plan the next day’s activities.
Time management and deadlines with online applications
Time and deadlines management is essential to ensure efficiency and punctuality for project implementation. Here are some tools and methods that can be used to better manage deadlines in an architectural firm:
- use a scheduling application to keep track of deadlines and appointments;
- create a shared calendar to allow all team members to view and update deadlines and events;
- assign deadlines in a realistic manner, taking into account the time needed to complete each task;
- plan activities according to priorities and available resources;
- monitor progress and regularly update the work plan to avoid delays and coordination problems.
To organize all these activities, you can also use an all-in-one online application that supports you in the management of time, deadlines but also in all ordinary activities.
Rest assured that, with a construction management software all the activities in an architectural firm are are carried out smoothly, thanks to efficient communication and a simple to use method, based on the classic kanban board. In practice, assign Topics and Tasks to users who are responsible for each task. To update the progress of the activity, simply change its status by choosing between “draft”, “to do”, “in progress”, “completed” and “closed”. Finally, you can assign a priority status to each task, determine deadlines and monitor project progresses and achievements in real time.
How to better collaborate in an architectural firm with professional chats, video calls and documents sharing services online
Successful architecture stems from meaningful collaboration. Ultimately, effective workplace communication helps drive better results for individuals, teams, and organizations.
Here are some tools and methods that can improve collaboration and communication between team members:
- using professional online chat services to communicate in real time and quickly share documents, files, information and updates;
- arranging regular video calls to discuss project progress and resolve any issues or concerns, using online video meeting and conference calls online applications;
- create online shared document folders to easily store and manage all project-related files and documents;
- implement an activity management system to coordinate and monitor team members work;
- encourage training and the exchange of skills among team members, to increase flexibility and productivity of the firm.
Definitely, a cloud-based BIM management platform is the solution to ensure a complete collaboration between all the professionals working in a team. In fact, with an all-in-one integrated solution you can manage different aspects of collaboration work that involves among other things:
- exchange of files and information;
- communication, meetings, etc.;
- management of time and responsibilities;
- 3D viewing;
- workflow organization;
How to optimize design with the help of IFC openBIM and the cloud
Using IFC openBIM and a cloud-based platform brings numerous benefits for design practices, including:
- greater interoperability between the different softwares and tools used in the firm, facilitating information sharing and updating;
- project errors and inconsistencies reduction, thanks to the possibility of viewing and comparing the different versions of the BIM models;
- improving communication and collaboration between the different actors involved in the project, thanks to the possibility of accessing BIM models and documents anywhere from any device;
- increased productivity and efficiency in design, thanks to the possibility of using predefined object and component libraries;
- improved project quality and sustainability, thanks to the analysis and simulation of BIM models.
Digital tools to improve the direction of work
The use of digital and mobile tools can also greatly improve the direction of work and the management of construction site issues. Here are some tips to make the most of these technologies:
- use project management applications and software to coordinate and monitor site work, track deadlines and allocate resources efficiently;
- implement online document communication and sharing systems, such as online professional chat services and shared document folders, to facilitate collaboration between the different actors involved in the construction site;
- use mobile applications to collect and share information about the construction site, such as photos, measurements and technical notes;
- adopt augmented and virtual reality tools to view and verify BIM models directly on the construction site, allowing accurate work control and quick identification of any issue;
- implement remote monitoring and control systems of equipment and machinery to increase safety and efficiency of the construction site.
The importance of openBIM for construction project management
To summarize, OpenBIM plays a crucial role in the management of construction projects, offering numerous advantages, such as:
- improved communication and collaboration between the different actors involved in the project, thanks to information and BIM models sharing;
- errors and delays reductipm, thanks to the possibility of identifying and solving problems in advance in the design process;
- increased efficiency and savings in time and resources through the use of predefined object and component libraries and the ability to simulate and analyze BIM models;
- increased project quality and sustainability, thanks to the analysis and evaluation of the energy and environmental performance of BIM models.
Using IFC for greater interoperability between software and devices
The IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) is an international standard for data sharing between BIM software, enabling unprecedented interoperability between the different tools used in the design and construction process. Thanks to the IFC, it is possible to share and exchange information between different software and devices, facilitating collaboration and coordination between the various actors involved in the project.
How a technical studio can implement BIM in its daily activities
Implementing BIM processes within a technical studio can lead to greater efficiency, productivity and to a better work performance. Here are some key steps to successfully introduce BIM into a technical studio’s day-to-day activities:
- assessment of specific needs and objectives. Before starting BIM’s implementation, it is important to analyze the specific needs and objectives of the technical office. This is done in order to determine the areas in which BIM can offer the greatest benefits and the necessary resources for the implementation process.
- training and updating of personnel. To ensure the successful implementation of BIM, it is essential that the technical office’s staff is adequately trained and updated on the use of BIM technologies and methodologies. This may include participation in online training courses, workshops and seminars. As well as access to online resources and tutorials.
- selection of BIM software and tools. Choosing the BIM software and tools best suited to the needs of the technical studio is a crucial step in the implementation process. It is important to evaluate the features, functionality and interoperability of the different software available on the market. As well as compatibility with openBIM and IFC standards.
- definition of BIM processes and guidelines. To ensure a correct implementation of BIM, it is necessary to clearly define the processes and guidelines to be followed in the project’s different phases, from design to construction management and site management. This may include developing a BIM Execution Plan (BEP), defining information modeling and sharing standards.
- integration of BIM into the day-to-day activities of the technical studio. Once the BIM processes and guidelines have been defined, it is important to integrate BIM into the the technical studio’s day-to-day activities. This is done through the implementation of pilot projects and the progressive adoption of BIM technologies – methodologies in all phases of design and construction process.
- monitoring and evaluation of results. To ensure the successful implementation of BIM and the achievement of objectives’ set, it is essential to constantly monitor and evaluate the obtained results, identifying any areas for improvement and development opportunities.
By following these steps, a technical firm can successfully implement BIM processes in its daily activities. OpenBIM and IFC represent a revolution in the construction industry, offering innovative tools and methodologies to optimize the design, engineering and construction sites’ management. Thanks to these standards, it is possible to organize a technical offices or studios, improving its efficiency, reducing costs and project implementation times, thus offering more sustainable and high-quality projects to their customers.