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  • Bill Egan

The value of construction product manufacturers Building Information Modeling (BIM) content

Although initially used as a tool for design and construction, BIM is a workflow process that is now used during the design, construction and operation phases of the building lifecycle. Below are some of the many recognized benefits and factors driving BIM usage:

Data sharing and communication: The process provides a means for easy and effective collaboration amongst stakeholders plus ready access to building modeling information.

Visualization: Digital models offer a pre construction view of the project. This results in a better understanding of the various systems, components and elements which allows changes to be implemented prior to the start of construction.

Clash detection: Potential conflicts between systems, prodcuts, and equipment are readily seen which provides an opportunity for avoidance and reduced likelihood of collisions.

Performance and building data: Throughout the operation phase, building owners have ready access to data necessary for building maintenance and system management.

Waste and rework: Models estimate material quantities and offer a better understanding of the project scope which can result in efficient use of labor and materials.

Stakeholders involved in the BIM process commonly include design professionals, subcontractors, engineers, contractors, owners, facility managers, manufacturers and others. While the use and value of BIM can differ by stakeholder, the information within the BIM model needs to be readily available and shared among all parties to be most effective.

Data and content is the most important part of BIM and creates the most value for stakeholders. Construction product manufacturers such as BASF Construction Chemicals have developed BIM content for many of their products across the globe. The content is available in many languages and can be downloaded free of charge from any of several BIM libraries. Manufacturer developed content is beneficial since it typically includes digital objects or three dimensional product representations along with other essential information that can be integrated into BIM models. While generic product models and data are sometimes used in BIM models, manufacturer developed content will be based on actual products and information. As a result, high quality content provided by the manufacturer is expected to be more accurate and complete which can result in better BIM models.

Along with high quality content, manufacturer information needs to be trustworthy and reliable to be of value. Below are additional features and qualities that can be important to stakeholders when considering manufacturer provided BIM content:

BIM libraries: While many options exist, content should reside on well recognized platforms that are widely used, contain objects that easy to access and download, and offer the most tools.

Digital content: In addition to three dimensional representations, content should be regularly updated and include links to other key product information such as descriptions, videos, specifications, and performance data.

Intuitive: Content should be organized with clearly identified objects so users have quick, ready access to manufacturer information.

Assembly and design tools: These tools are useful to configure, customize, and export complex objects such as wall or roof systems which are often comprised of multiple components and product options.

Support: Tools, libraries, training and objects should be available on content pages along with company contacts that can provide supplemental information as necessary.

The role of product manufacturers in the BIM process is evolving as the growth and use of digitalization in construction continues. In addition to material providers, manufacturers can increase their value by offering reliable content that can be quickly and easily incorporated into BIM models.


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