Monday, 12 May 2014

BIM: Don’t Overlook Data

The ‘BIM Issue’ of Building magazine (17/4/14) published the findings of the NBS Building Information Modelling (BIM) awareness survey, which I read with interest. Among the findings, it reported that 54% of construction firms have now used BIM, which is a marked increase from the 39% that claimed the same last year. To add to this, 93% said they will be using BIM by 2016.

Having attended the BIM Show Live, many speakers were talking about how BIM is now giving them ‘an edge’, with more than half of construction firms confirming that they have used BIM on at least one project, which is all very positive. 

One area that strikes me however as being potentially overlooked – from both the published survey and general discussions at the show – is the role that data, mapping or geospatial data plays in the entire BIM process.  Currently, location, risk and analysis data that is used before a build project currently falls outside of BIM. Under the current stages, the model doesn’t have to include pre-BIM data or have any reference to a geographic location; BIM can sit in space (or rather in one of the many software packages) without any context of its surroundings.

Professionals working across property, environment and construction all use pre-BIM data, from maps to devise a new road development to the rehoming of newts, and everything in between. This data is part of the project after all and as time moves on, factors can change. It is imperative therefore that such updates are fed into BIM to make it truly about the lifecycle not just the building.

Data is at the very heart of BIM: without the correct information being recorded, it fails to deliver on its goals and the BIM model – which is meant to last the lifecycle of a project – may become invalid.  

Carole Ankers
Product Development Director & BIM ambassador
Landmark Information Group

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