Structural E-Permit: BIM for the construction administration process
Structural E-Permit: automatically checking and verifying if the structural project complies with a certain regulation for issuing an authorization. Here are the details of the project
The term E-Permit refers to automated processes that allows to obtain an automatic control when a competent authority managing a BIM project issues a building permit.
In practice, after defining a specific regulation (example: a building regulation or a technical standard), all the project validations provided by regulation can be carried out automatically on the Open BIM IFC file format.
Thanks to E-Permit, the competent authority releasing authorizations can have the possibility to manage the practice in a completely automatic manner: a special Code Checker will be able to verify projects and issue an authorization or generate a report whereas verification operations are not satisfied and thus having the opportunity to modify the project.
Research project, partners and general aspects
The Structural E-Permit research project, winner of the buildingSMART International Awards 2019 in Beijing, aims at delivering automated authorizations for building.
This research project was carried out by ACCA software, which had a coordinating role and developed the software and the platforms as project’s backbone, in collaboration with:
- Campania region (Italy);
- University of Napoli Federico II – Faculty of Engineering – Department of Dist Structures;
- Genio Civile di Avellino (Public body responsible for the control and archiving of the structural project and seismic verification);
- Municipality of Montemarano (Avellino, Italy).
The project purpose is the application of the Open BIM for defining an E-Permit procedure aimed at obtaining a permit by digitizing the results of structural calculations to be submitted to the competent authority.
A new construction or an intervention on an existing building envisages the management of an administrative process between public/private client and public body that can be divided into three phases:
- submitting the structural project and seismic verification to the competent authority for approval / rejection;
- release of approval or request for integration;
- end of building works and verification.
The Structural E-Permit develops the entire process in a completely digital form, placing the BIM model of the building in IFC format at the centre of the and data exchange between public/private client and public body.
The process is divided into different phases corresponding to the traditional form:
- submitting requested data and documents (technical reports regarding material characteristics, calculation reports, structural design, architectural project, geological report, seismic verification, etc.) in digital format with integration to the BIM model in IFC format. The control is carried out in part as automatic Code Checking of rules implemented on the platform and partly in semi-automatic form through the assisted analysis of the geo-referenced data on the IFC model;
- issuing document approval or request for integration on a BIM collaborative platform with notifications, resolution of Issues and online chat integrated to the IFC model delivered;
- integrating the data generated during the execution phase of the structure on a BIM collaborative platform and on the IFC format model with additional documents (declaration of practical completion, verification) and the verification results of tests performed on materials used during construction.
The project involved the study and systematization of structural design data consistent with the Open BIM process, the IFC standard format and the MVD specification.
Research objectives were also the development of special software, collaborative platforms and practical experimentation of a new digital process through a practical case study.
Structural E-permit and the Open BIM standard
Structural E-Permit enables efficient data and document sharing between public/private client and the competent authority during all the phases of the structural project planning application and seismic verification, determining effective data archiving and reducing paper works.
The use of Open BIM, particularly the IFC as open format, has been fundamental for enabling a better communication between the stakeholders and for the effective integration of the processes in the delivery flow. The structural calculation and seismic verification, for example, can be performed through the use of different software on the market.
Therefore, the open IFC format support and the study of a MVD that all software can easily read and write is necessary for a free selection of data production tools and services. Consequently, it also results in a correct development for the software market.
The same considerations are also valid for all the other phases of the process (planning application, checking, updating, archiving). Furthermore, the use of an open format is the only one that can safeguard the competent Authority, which can guarantee perpetual access to data acquired independently from the software version that produced such data.
Structural E-Permit also demonstrates how the use of an open format allows the use of information produced by a process for different purposes.
Recorded data have been, for example, used for an immediate compliance check through automatic Code Checking, but it is also possible to develop statistical analysis services on archived data or apply AI (artificial intelligence) technologies, predictive analysis, etc.
The real advantages of the Structural E-permit project
Structural E-permit allows to obtain significant advantages for all the actors involved in the process of planning application of the structural project and the seismic verification of the building.
A planning application through a Structural E-permit system, differently from a traditional application, will bring advantages in terms of time saving, costs reduction, increase of quality results and service satisfaction.
The application used as a case study is relating to the structural project of a school.
The advantages encountered by all actors involved in the process during the analysis:
- the applicant was able to produce all the documentation and data necessary for the structural project application with a single operation and through automatic generation thanks to the calculation software used, with obvious savings in terms of time and quality of the result
- the file sent in digital form to the portal went through a first automatic check to verify the formal correspondence of data and documents.
- the competent authority has met greater completeness and readability of data and documentation submitted. The integration of data and documents to the BIM model in IFC format allows a much faster identification of any critical issues.
- communication and clarifications between the applicant and the Entity on calculation aspects that are useful for approval or integration have taken place in a collaborative manner on a platform with an increased effectiveness of understanding, reducing approval times and increasing the mutual satisfaction of the parties.
- the integration of data collected during the construction phase enables the archiving of the as-built digital twin of the building integrated with design data while providing a complete access to information regarding the structures and opening a completely new perspectives to data analysis.
buildingSMART international award 2019
ACCA software has been awarded the “buildingSMART international Standards Summit 2019” prize in the category “PROFESSIONAL & STUDENT RESEARCH” with the “Structural E-Permit” project.
In this regard, buildingSMART has published the finalist project videos on its portal.