Manufacturing the future BIM

Paul Surin, Vice Chairman of BIM4M2 summarises how manufacturers are engaging in the BIM process and how the BIM4M2 group will take a lead role in its future…

Paul Surin is the Head of Built Environment at Wienerberger AG and also the Vice Chairman of BIM4M2. He has extensive knowledge of sustainability and planning regulations, alongside an impressive tally of industry qualifications and accreditations, including membership of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a BSc (Eng) in mechanical, electronics and architecture engineering and an Eco-Building Design Postgraduate Diploma. Furthermore, Paul is also a BREEAM Accredited Professional, a CODE for Sustainable Homes Assessor, Passivhaus Designer and a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Building. He is also a BIM Accreditated Professional and BIM Level 2 certified practitioner.

What have been the key priorities of the group this year, and where will the focus lie next year?

BIM4M2 will be focusing around defining the right formats for PDT’s and helping manufacturers to be well equipped for the April 2016 BIM Mandate. Now is the time for manufacturers to help shape BIM. At Weinerberger we want to be at the forefront of making the construction industry more efficient. BIM4M2 will keep encouraging manufacturers to play a vital role in the creation of models with clear, concise, structured and relevant product data embedded, which will allow customers to make informed investment decisions.

How are manufacturers engaging with the BIM process, and is there enough uptake?

We want to support architects/specifiers/structural engineers and contractors with our technical services and BIM knowledge. I believe manufacturers need to show and demonstrate what good and efficient construction process looks like, by trying to help bridge the training gap and keep encouraging BIM adoption. Now is the time for manufacturers to help shape BIM. BIM4M2 will be at the forefront of making the construction industry more efficient. Manufacturers should provide free to use objects and make them as widely available as possible with strategic focus on placement and coverage. These objects should then be updated as and when, with third party contracts. Manufacturers should always stay on the leading edge of object creation and push and respond to the changing needs of the market. Benefits can be seen from thought leadership programs, as well as utilising strategic partners (including bimstore, coBuilder, CIBSE, NBS ) for the development of objects and tools, evolving business opportunities. Excellent value propositions in niche markets can be delivered by considering the advantages provided over the competition for offering a full design and services function which is fully “BIM enabled”.

What challenges do manufacturers face?

There are a lot of challenges for manufacturers such as:

  • Establishing BIM from “scratch” is not easy. BIM as an acronym is being used in many different ways – all are correct and have a place, but only one should be used to describe what BIM actually is in the broader sense – Building Information Management. The others are either an activity or a result of the process and it’s the management of information that is the key thing for BIM, without a focus on accuracy and sharing, how you will demonstrate savings, and if it’s just a model then that costs time and money to implement and create, how has that saved anything? Well, the model does bring benefits, it’s like a GUI (graphical user interface), it’s just a pretty picture that allows you to get access to a huge array of data and information all related to the asset in one place. This will allow funky cool things like clash detection, intelligent objects that won’t allow you to use them unless the situation is correct and more. This will save you some time and money, but the real savings come from utilising the BIM method and approach to information and information management for the lifecycle of the asset.
  • BIM is moving forward at a serious • pace with new innovations and directions being taken seemingly each week. Technology is growing around BIM and opening doors not previously considered at the inception of the movement – a Digital Built Britain is becoming a reality. Who would have considered that a handheld device could scan and map a room or an object and deliver a detailed drawing to your computer? And yet that’s exactly what point cloud technology delivers, opening new methods and uses for contractors seeking to obtain accurate dimensions for a refurbishment.
  • Model Creation Firms offer part of the solution to the puzzle and it is difficult for any manufacturer to pick and choose “the right” partner; quite often we only get one shot to make BIM work for a manufacturer.
  • BIM is Building Information • Management – creating objects but also linking that to the relevant associated product information. A key challenge is – who sets the standards for that information and who governs the information being made available? Each manufacturer must take ownership and responsibility.

What does BIM mean to “our” customer from the manufacturers point of view?

This depends on who you are. BIM benefits the entire chain, but every contributor will gain different advantages from the pioneering technology. For architects it’s easier to understand. They are supported by improved clash detection, improved liability cover, reduced time wastage, duplicated workflows, improved margins and the ability to offer cheaper constructions without the need for lowering the quality of design and materials. It’s easy to see why over 60% of architects are already using BIM in the UK. The contractor – thanks to BIM – is provided with a comprehensive and fully accurate brief and design. This leads to improved effectiveness, reduced time lost due to double checking project data, earlier collaboration in the build process (dependant on contract type – if D&B, they control the process), and the ability to virtually rehearse constructions, achieve early clash detection in labour and plant, lower costs and increase margins.

What will the initiative with CIBSE, the CPA and NBS achieve?

There has been too much focus on the digital world (i.e. exchange formats, IFC, bsDD etc.). These are obviously very important, but we also need to deal with the real world (i.e. what people want, how they describe products etc. in a coherent way to aid their process). The initiative will focus on the real world descriptions that the industry is familiar with, but this information will be mapped to IFC and the bsDD to ensure it can be exchanged correctly in the digital world. So far, the PDT process has stalled because we’ve been too concerned about how this fits in the virtual world which is not actually our concern. The initiative will hopefully pave the way for a single and unified approach to product data, using a common language that can be understood by the entire manufacturing profession.

Article first published in BIM Today