As construction digitises, the value of BIM consultants and software keeps growing
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When Brunelleschi built his famous dome on Florence cathedral, he had to design his own scaffolding. He built lifts for moving materials above ground level. He created airborne kitchens, so workers needn’t descend all the way just to eat lunch.
Plug-and-play building technologies have improved since the 1400s. Yet a surprising amount of any project is still administered manually, in a way Brunelleschi might have recognised. A disruptive, digital revolution is imminent.
Every building project demands coordination of vast amounts of information. Realising a vision from brain to bricks and mortar depends on marshalling it successfully. For architects and engineers, building owners and contractors, digitisation is here to help — and to stay.
Building Information Modelling (or BIM) sits at the heart of a project. BIM is not just a 3D design or virtual model of a finished building. It is a data-rich collaboration process. The goal is to place every product and component within a comprehensive model. BIM creates a virtual building, long before anyone puts a spade in the ground.
The benefits of BIM
BIM may sound daunting at first, yet its purpose is total transparency. BIM marshals all relevant information about a project and makes it accessible to everyone who needs it, whatever their job. BIM makes building design intelligent and adaptive.
The digital model — end-point of a successful BIM process — becomes a centralised store for up-to-date information on specifications. An accurate model minimises design and engineering errors down the line. It smooths the process of multidisciplinary collaboration which is essential to almost any build. Mistakes can be costly; effective BIM helps eliminate them before they happen.
The result? Boosted productivity. Architects freed to focus on design — and builders on construction. Evidence suggests BIM has substantial business benefits, reducing project costs and improving a final building’s design and function. Studies in the USA suggest BIM also improves site safety during construction.
Because everyone is working from the same “living” model, delays are cut, correction loops are minimised and completion times are shortened.
Here to help? Where to onboard BIM expertise
For those with BIM experience and others venturing into it for the first time, embedding BIM consultants from the outset could streamline a project. The right BIM team will coordinate specification and design — ensuring the implications of changes to either are fully understood. Specification becomes integrated and efficient, rather than a bolt-on once creative work is complete. This can be especially valuable for door and security specification, which is often complex and time-consuming. To render door solutions accurately, architects can then introduce security solutions as soon as possible in their design, so building aesthetics and usability are not disrupted at the last minute. Practical solutions are agreed before any building work takes place.
Consultants from ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions can bring additional, independent security and safety expertise. They help to coordinate knowledge transfer between stakeholders through the full planning and construction life-cycle of a building.
ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Specification consultants offer a comprehensive BIM library with specifications and objects formatted for seamless integration with architectural design software. Each object in the library has detailed geometry and specifications to populate a design. Comprehensive product information in place as early as possible means fewer revisions down the line.
Where relevant, the specifications include manuals and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), required for green building certification schemes. Everything for regulatory approval and compliance is included within objects and time-saving ready-made libraries.
Making software work for the BIM process
Specialist BIM software also plays a key role. It can serve as a conduit between architectural design software and databases holding specification data. Openings Studio, for example, delivers detailed door solution specifications directly to popular packages such as Revit and ARCHICAD.
Instead of Excel spreadsheets and PDF floorplans, Openings Studio updates everything automatically with the latest design or specification information — resulting in fewer errors and less time wasted. It eliminates hand-keying door by door as well as the constant juggling of multiple versions of documents.
To save time, users can easily add new door hardware into place to compare alternatives or run simulations for different hardware, access control devices or entire door solutions. “What if…” questions become quick and easy to answer. Openings Studio automates electrical elevations in Revit and other popular formats.
“Openings Studio software introduced us to a whole new way of thinking and efficiency,” says David Zarhy, whose firm Zarhy Architects designed the Broadcom R&D Center at Tel Aviv University.
Openings Studio becomes a digital resource for everyone involved in the project, as well as an always-open communications channel. “A direct channel between requirements and supplied solutions was very important,” adds David Zarhy. “The software allowed us to manage all the data efficiently and keep it up to date.”
Over the lifetime of a project and building, Openings Studio remains current and accessible. Handover from construction to facility management is smoother. Everyone working on the building, now and in the future, finds the information they need quickly in Openings Studio. This final resource can inform site audits, health and safety policy, maintenance schedules, refurbishment projects and more through the lifetime of a typical building. The digital model helps a building to keep living.
ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Specification and BIM consultants have experience supporting projects from a single door to more complex buildings. To learn more, please visit: https://www.assaabloyopeningsolutions.co.uk/en/project-specification/specification-bim/assa-abloy-openings-studio/