The Value of OpenBIM

The value of OpenBIM
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Building Information Modeling is a process that involves the generation and management of digital representations of a physical and functional characteristics of a building or a structure. It aids the AEC professionals to accurately design, plan, construct and manage the facilities. BIM process is made possible through various tools and technologies. BIM models are files which are not always in proprietary format and they don’t always contain proprietary data that can be extracted, exchanged or networked. The sharing of information can take place in two formats OpenBIM or Closed BIM/Native BIM.

OpenBIM is a progressive approach that ensures longevity, easy data sharing and accessibility and workflow transparency. With OpenBIM each and every stakeholder can gain access to the 3D model without hampering its native format. OpenBIM can be best understood with an analogy. If any individual wants to write a document, it can be done by using Microsoft word or apple pages. Once completed it is typically converted in a PDF format than shared. The main reason is that native files like word files are closed format and the other person needs to have same application to view them. PDF on the other hand is a lightweight file with open standards that can be accessed by everyone however it can’t be edited. OpenBIM is akin to the PDF file here.

The BIM workflow begins by creating a model in a software like Revit, Tekla, ArchiCAD etc. It is here that architects, designers or even engineers are working in a native format. However, with increasing collaboration being an important part of BIM Services the files will need to be shared at some point with the involved stakeholders. In order to view the 3D model which is shared in the native format they must have the same software with which it is compatible. The model can be instead published in an open exchange format like IFC, BCF etc. then the data in the BIM model becomes viewable, usable and measureable without any loss or distortion. However, it not possible to make changes in the open format and they have to made back in the modeling software.

Why is OpenBIM important?

At the very core of OpenBIM lies the idea that interoperability between project stakeholders shouldn’t be the ground for competition. Open standards would ensure no candidates are excluded because of proprietary format mandates. Moreover, to maintain quality in open standards rigorous testing and certification criteria is necessary. The key principles of OpenBIM are as follows:

  1. Interoperability is essential for digital transformation in the construction industry is key to the digital transformation in the built asset industry
  2. Open and neutral standards must be developed
  3. Reliable data exchanges should be depended on independent quality benchmarks
  4. Collaboration is enhanced with by open workflows
  5. Flexibility in the choice of software enables everyone to function to maximum capabilities
  6. Sustainability is augmented as a result of interoperable data standards

Why should you AEC professional support OpenBIM?

The primary advantage of OpenBIM is that multiple stakeholders can easily exchange a file. A digital BIM model is shared between multiple members for instance, the architects, engineers and designers plan and design the model following which it can be shared with manufacturers for prefabrication of components, to project managers for onsite construction etc. In absence of IFC standards data sharing becomes a problem and people can choose to work with other professionals based on skill and expertise rather than the software they use. IFC format creates a common language for widely referenced processes wherein quick actions and decisions can be made. Finally, it helps avoid multiple input of the same data and reduces errors caused as a result of it. Thus, from construction companies to architectural firms and BIM Companies everyone need to understand the importance of OpenBIM and start utilizing it increase their construction workflows.


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