In any construction project no discipline works in silos. In order to effectively construct any building all the disciplines i.e. Architectural, Structural and MEP need to work collaboratively. Building Information Modeling methodology has all the tools and capabilities to make this possible. It allows the separate BIM models that originate from different disciplines to be compiled into one single model. This is known as a federated BIM model.
NBS (National Building Specification) defines a federated model as, “a combined Building Information Model that has been compiled by amalgamating several different models into one, or importing one model into another.” It brings together select components from multiple disciplines into the common data environment following which the data can be accessed and combined. It creates a highly collaborative workflow process wherein each discipline is responsible for the creation, development and change management of their own model. For the management of the federated model CIC BIM Protocol states that company should ideally have an information manager who would be responsible for the management of the federated model. The person’s duties entail that the relevant procedures are followed and BIM protocol is adhered to.
Today, Revit and Navisworks can be effectively used to create a federated BIM model for better coordination, clash avoidance, project estimation and management.
Advantages of a federated BIM model:
1. Augmented Coordination:
The integration of individual models into a singular model allows better understanding of design intent amongst all the stakeholders. It provides everyone an access to all the relevant information and facilitates informed decision making. It ensures that any missing information, design inconsistency, poor decisions and inadequate resource allocation are identified at an early stage prior to starting work onsite.
2. Clash Detection:
A federated model allows to detect any interdisciplinary clash which would have otherwise not been identified. Hard Clash for instance between air-conditioning duct Used in the field of diverse industries like Aviation, Automobile, Marine, Shipbuilding, Chemical Plants etc. through a load bearing wall. This interdisciplinary clash between Architecture and MEP BIM Services would not have been found unless the models were integrated. This saves considerable time and reduces rework which would have been caused as a result of revisions and iterations.
3. Accurate Estimations:
A federated BIM model includes all the graphical and non-graphical data regarding the various components. A consolidated and precise data makes it possible to gain accurate estimations regarding quantities, cost and schedule.
Ultimately federated BIM leads to enhanced project management by allowing the stakeholders to easily share may it be entire project information or selective information based on project requirements. It also provides the members of the BIM team enough resources provide high-quality Clash Detection Services, design coordination, clash detection, design development, approval processes, estimating, etc. Thus it helps in making informed decisions, reduces clashes, reduced litigation and better resource allocation.