Tuesday, 27 May 2014

It's good to share

  As I have mentioned previously, BIM is about   
  sharing and collaboration. Sharing is easily
  done if all the disciplines are working within
  the same software but on a large project that is
  not always the case. With BIM the disciplines
  are working much closer together and sharing
  data much more often. Sharing of data should   
  be worked out and planed at the start of the
  project and the sharing procedure should be
  outlined in the BIM execution plan. From the initial   BIM meeting each discipline should decide what  software they are using so a comprehensive plan for sharing data can be established. Sharing between the different software’s should be tested to ensure that the best procedures are implemented. When sharing data, data is exported from 1 product into another and sometimes the export/import is not 100% or problems can occur with project standards. If you test your transfer procedures and issues are discovered, then you can look at ways of working around these issues to get around the problem. It’s often hard to know where the problem lies. The problem could be caused by the program that is exporting the data or the program that is importing the data. These exporters and importers are only as good as the person that wrote them and tested them. Just because 2 programs have IFC exporters or DWG exporters they may not both be to the same quality, it depends on how the software development company have implemented and tested this part of the software.

In a lot of projects people use dwg as a format for transferring data between products. This makes sense because all CAD and BIM software import and export dwg. But in the BIM industry if you use dwg you will only get graphics you will lose all the data behind the graphics that has been built up in the BIM model. There is another format which can be used between different software’s. This format is called IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) IFC is not a new format and has been around since 1994. IFC is a platform neutral, open format. It is not controlled by any one vendor. It is developed by an independent company called buildingSmart to facilitate the sharing of data within the AEC industry. In Denmark it is compulsory to use  IFC on publicly aided building projects.

If you would like to learn more about IFC you can get more information from the following links


Bentley: http://ftp2.bentley.com/dist/collateral/whitepaper/Building_IFC_Position_Paper_whitepaper_eng.pdf

Graphisoft Archicad:

If you are working within the Autodesk suite of products, Autodesk has developed a file format called adsk (Autodesk exchange format). This format can exchange data between Revit, Civil 3D, Inventor and AutoCAD Architecture. In Revit you can bring in an inventor file through > Building Component commands. You can export to Civil 3D from Revit through .adskfile format by selecting  Export >Building Site. I will chat about the adsk file format and other Autodesk formats in later blogs.

If you are using Bentley products you can use the Bentley native DGN format. The great thing about the DGN file format it never changes. In all the years I have been using MicroStation it only changed once between version 7 and 8.

If you are using Graphisoft ArchiCAD, Trimble Tekla, Nemetschek All Plan or others you will need to use IFC. Always checkout the software providers website for the latest version of IFC export/Import or other plugins they may have for exporting and importing IFC. For example if you are using ArchiCAD with Revit Graphisoft have a Revit plugin for improved importing/exporting between Revit and ArchiCAD. Check out the Graphisoft website for further details,


To sum up this article make sure you decide how you are going to exchange and share data. Test the import/export and document the procedure noting any issues and work arounds. Share the data regularly through your chosen format so if any issues arise they can be tackled as they arise and you won’t have any surprises when you are under pressure to issue models. Always keep in mind the deliverables for the client and document your sharing procedure. Let all start sharing our data.

If you have any questions on anything in this blog or any other blog please feel free to contact me at dan@siscin.ie

Dan Deery is a director of Siscín which is a company based in Ireland specialising in BIM Consultancy, 3D modelling Animation and Visualisation. Siscín have worked on many different projects across the world. For more info on Siscín and their services check out their web site on www.siscin.ie.

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