BIM collaboration platforms: characteristics and advantages
A BIM collaboration platform offers the building professional all the necessary working tools in order to operate correctly with the BIM methodology.
Working with the BIM methodology means using technology to integrate the various design disciplines involved in a project.
Hence the need for a BIM collaborative platform based on open systems.
Specifically, a BIM platform is able to support architecture, engineering and more generally, the building industry professional to create and manage BIM models in a correct manner and under every specialized aspect (architectural design, energy analysis, structural analysis, construction site management and facility management) all within a single data sharing environment (CDE – Common Data Environment).
Common Data environment. What’s it about?
The common data environment is an information technology infrastructure for data collection and management and it defines technical requirements. This platform must manage:
- role accessibility for all those involved in the process;
- project data revisions and tracking
- support of a wide range of data types and formats and their re-processing;
- support an intense flow-rate of queries and simplified access protocols (open data exchange protocols);
- storage and update over time;
- confidentiality and cyber-security.
The data sharing environment is a virtual environment (cloud, server) to which all role players involved in a given project must submit their specific discipline related part of the project (file). A structural organisation of project data allows users to track the progress of activities in accordance with their granted permission levels, to identify roles and responsibilities, make project related information available to everyone and guarantee constant data updating and completeness.
This kind of environment is definitely the one in which all collaborative and integration aspects, main characteristic of the BIM methodology, can fully express themselves.
In other words, without a data sharing environment, the BIM process couldn’t even take shape!
BIM collaboration platform characteristics
The first requirement for a BIM platform is to meet the requirements of a Common Data Environment.
In addition, a BIM collaboration platform must have a series of functionalities to increase productivity levels for both the individual and that of the entire design team to obtain the following advantages:
- automate information coordination (BIM coordination software);
- the information transparency of processes, data ownership and temporal availability of information;
- the automated management of project revisions and data updates;
- the reduction of redundancy and risks associated with data duplication;
- communication among the various involved parties.
Furthermore, a collaboration platform should support the development of a project (project development) with a series of technical requirements:
- Mobility: accessibility from mobile devices, notebooks and desktop applications as well as browser support;
- Simplicity and usability: use of modern interfaces and optimized user-friendly interactions such as drag and drop of files;
- File manipulation: easy access to documents, data synchronization and sharing
- User productivity:
- Collaboration: creation of work environments for editing team documents and traceability of any actions taken;
- Content Management: metadata classification, simplified search tools and audit trail
- Workflow:creation of processes to describe file actions, task notifications and user permission management.
- Security and data protection: in relation to connected devices, documents in transit and those deposited
- Integration: integration with CMIS (content management interoperability services) and design tools.
- Data storage: with use of a centralized repository and storage space for users.
All the advantages of a BIM platform
The construction industry has been completely revolutionised by the introduction of BIM technology with numerous benefits for the whole sector. Certainly, the big change implies more efficient execution of projects and the connection of teams, data and workflows through BIM platforms.
A BIM platform enables interoperability between different project teams allowing professionals from different disciplines to collaborate regardless of their preferred tools and software providers.
There are many benefits a BIM platform offers, such as:
- storing data in a secure, reliable cloud space that is shared with all project stakeholders
- collaborate in real time on the same BIM model and its documents
- keep entire BIM teams synchronised and make better decisions.
usBIM.platform, the BIM collaboration platform
usBIM.platform is designed and developed to meet the requirements express by PAS 1192 and BS 1192.
The data shared environment created in usBIM.platform is completely customizable according to the organizational schemes provided for in the documents.
usBIM.platform has been designed to obtain the maximum operational support for client’s project, who can obtain two fundamental objectives thanks to this platform rather than with other technological solutions:
- BIM model, visually navigate directly from the internet (#freeMDD)
- creation and control of all design and works execution steps (#GATE)
With usBIM.platform, the customer is able to use a BIM model to navigate through in a visual environment directly from Internet with the full potential to create and control the entire design and execution steps that determine the progressive definition of the BIM model.
Two value-added platform features, which allow to obtain greater control and transparency of results, are:
freeMDD – navigable BIM model
Preserving/structuring of models, documents and data in open formats (free Models, Documents and Data) in usBIM.platform, allow to obtain a BIM model that can be navigated through visually from the Internet, combined with the specially designed functions guaranteed by our usBIM.browser plug-in.
The platform becomes a BIM model that you can navigate through from the internet from where you can browse and manage:
- the IFC model composed of the federation of models obtained from various design disciplines and processes;
- data and documents in open formats structured and linked to the model or its objects through specific platform functions;
GATE – creation and control of all steps
The creation of a GATE allows the construction of specific controls for every design or execution phase, for the description and implementation of revisions/validation procedures for the project documentation. GATES represent important points to define the BIM model (for example the sharing or delivery phases of models and construction documents).
Certification to the IFC data schema of Building SMART international
BuildingSMART is a non-profit association that deals with research and development of open standards to support information exchange necessary for the correct development of the digitalization process of the construction industry.
It therefore defines the Open BIM principles; a set of universal rules for the development of collaborative design and construction management of buildings and infrastructures based on open standards and processes. BuildingSMART’s Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) is the vehicle responsible for information exchange between customers, the teams that develop the project, the contractors that build it and the companies that manage and maintain it.
A guarantee of correct software compliance created to support professionals in the construction industry is the certification that buildingSMART issues following a series of tests on the applications. They verify that tools correctly support the IFC data schema, an open standard for the correct exchange of information between the various actors in the supply chain.
It is not certified against the entire IFC data schema but against a defined subset, i.e. what is called the Model View Definition (MVD). An MVD is a formal declaration, the subset of the IFC data schema necessary and sufficient to make operational one or more information exchanges as described in the Information Delivery Manual (IDM), which are manuals for information exchanges within the construction industry.
The IFC format and the IDM manuals are international standards and respectively refer to:
- ISO 16739 for Industry Foundation Classes
- ISO 29481 for Information Delivery Manual.
usBIM.platform is the only IFC certified platform by buildingSMART
The usBIM.platform collaboration platform is an open platform, because it is based on buildingSMART IFC standards.
The buildingSMART certification guarantees that the creation of files in the usBIM.platform is consistent and coherent with the structure of the IFC data schema and that the correct management and sharing of documents and digital models among professionals of the construction sector are guaranteed no matter what BIM software is used for the development of the digitization process of a building project.