Blue Thorn Technology
Unit A1 | The Icehouse | 180-182 Fazeley Street | Birmingham | B5 5SE
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Building Information Modelling

1. Introduction 4. General Solution  
2. BIM Compliance 5. BTT AutoCAD BIM Strategy  
3. Level 2 BIM Requirement 6. BTT Revit BIM Strategy  

1. Introduction

First of all let’s ask the question – ‘What Is BIM’. Many people refer, incorrectly, to the BIM model meaning the 3D graphical model. This is, in fact, only a part of the Building Information Model. The entire model consists of all of the relevant information/data on a project. The raw data becomes a model when that data is properly structured allowing interrogation and distribution.

Understanding the concept above is key because, all too often in recent time, the requirement for BIM has been misinterpreted as a requirement for Revit, leading to the production of data poor, inaccurate models that have ignored the strongest points of Revit and relied heavily on its weakest elements.

There is no single piece of software that can be used to make you ‘BIM Compliant’ without you understanding what it is you need to achieve.

2. BIM Compliance

Understanding what it takes to be BIM compliant is clouded by the weighty documentation that must be waded through. When these volumes are condensed they basically say to be compliant you need to give your customer what they require and much of the documented process is detailing the procedure to go through to obtain the customer requirement and how to work to achieve it.

This then opens up another can of worms because, often, the customer doesn’t really know what they require and so request a lot of stuff they don’t really understand but read online and you’re back to square one – producing a dodgy Revit model with unconvincing families and systems because this is what the customer has asked for.

3. Level 2 BIM Requirement

The BIM requirement is actually quite simple. It is about the management of assets and the ability of the construction industry to provide information about those assets that is gathered during the normal process of a project. What is to be delivered is a clash free solution accurately reflecting what has been installed and the availability of data on maintainable assets used within your area of the project.

This process should be complemented, after the build phase of the project, by a defined system for the assimilation of the data and the future management of the project assets. This needs to be put in place by the client.

4. General Solution

We believe the solution is to deliver the basics. Clash detection and hyperlinking have been part of CAD for a long time and offer no new challenges. Assimilating the data is a new challenge for the industry but is not an overly onerous one. The execution of a ‘Facilities Management’ strategy is in the hands of the client but they should be encouraged at every opportunity to implement a suitable system.

The overriding requirements for a project should be

  • To provide all model and date in a Common Data Environment (CDE)
  • To provide graphical models in 3D
  • To clash detect the graphical model and identify any issues prior to install
  • To provide hyperlinks to URLs stated by the Facilities Managers
  • To provide the required data, in the required format (COBie or otherwise) to supplement the data gathering of the Facilities Managers.
5. BTT AutoCAD BIM Strategy

Blue Thorn has developed a system to store and output (in COBie format or otherwise) all of the Asset data from an AutoCAD environment.

The final data outputs will detail all of the asset information and highlight where there are anomalies between the equipment tech-sub schedules and the graphical model information.

This system is able to retrospectively assign hyperlinks to equipment so, if an FM specialist is not available at the start of the project, hyperlinks may be added easily at a later date when the FM specialist decides what links they need. These links may also be added to labels so clicking on a drawing label may activate a hyperlink.

For a much more detailed look at this process follow the link to out news item.

6. BTT AutoCAD Revit Strategy

Blue Thorn has undertaken several projects in Revit. We have wide experience of setting up families, linking data and implementing data assimilation and downloads.

To get Revit working effectively we need to engage with the client that understands the Revit system, decide what service families are to be used and identify the strengths and weaknesses of those families. It is also crucial that we work within the tolerances of Revit, particularly the distance from origin. Everything modelled  should be within 3 kilometres of the 0,0,0 point as required by AutoDesk.

The data downloads are less forgiving than on our AutoCAD system so we need to be sure, at the start of the project, exactly what the data fields required for the families are.

If we can get these fundamentals sorted we can proceed with a successful Revit project and produce the data drops that are normally required.

There is no denying it however, while the House Keeping of Revit in looking after the drawings and the facility for parametric block making are very good, the final output still disappoints and a great deal of compromises need to be made when undertaking a project. In recent times, however, we have started trialling Sysque software which allows much more accurate fittings to be used and, possibly more importantly, version 2016 of Revit allows interactions with CADMEP libraries and files, seemingly to allow much more accurate models to be created.