The Role of BIM Interoperability in the AECO Industry
The adaptation of digital technology advancements, such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc., have gradually shifted the face of the AEC industry, and its tremendous results are visible to the world. The credit for such positive transformation, especially in the construction industry, goes to a powerful design tool—Building Information Modeling (BIM)—which changed the present of this industry in ways one didn’t even imagine in the past.
BIM, an integrated data system based on advanced 3D parametric object-based modeling, allows complete -monitoring and tracking and seamless project planning. Itis an important aspect as the information in BIM requires to be exchanged to derive the benefits. Before we dive deep into the concept of BIM Interoperability, it’s imperative to understand what ‘interoperability’ means. In simple terms, ‘interoperability’ refers to the ability of computer programs and systems to exchange information efficiently and seamlessly. The property allows a product or system to share data and resources between various products or systems via software and hardware without disturbing the existing ecosystem.
Where does BIM Interoperability stand in the AECO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operation) industry?
BIM Interoperability has a central position in the AEC industry. According to an article in the Journal of Management in Engineering, ‘The AEC industry uses BIM for 3D visualization, clash detection, feasibility analysis, constructability review, quantity take-off and cost estimate, 4D/scheduling, environmental/LEED analysis, creating shop drawings, and facility management.’ BIM allows the integration of 2D sketches with 3D models to integrate several lifecycle phases of a building, making it useful in the AECO industry. It bridges the gap between the users’ expectations and application functions that weren’t possible before without re-entering information. BIM software interoperability allows data to be transferable between various systems and gives access to organizations working on the same project to share the same data in real-time. This becomes central in cases where the data should stay in a single system for an extended period—for example, Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM).
What are the advantages and challenges of BIM interoperability in AEC companies?
- Optimization of Design and Planning Processes: With BIM, Prototyping and analyzing during the planning and design stage helps early detection of potential problems and can eventually save considerable expenditure cost and time of the rework.
- Efficient Data Handling: BIM interoperability has eliminated data re-entry manually, resulting in dependency on paper. The BIM model has also allowed teams to verify data and designs using the software and later manage documents and design history, outlining future decisions. It has served as the ‘central repository for data mapping, information, and integration.’
- Increased Quality of Communication: Interoperable BIM processes have reduced miscommunication and errors. All the relevant information and necessary process are available to all teams in the cloud for project transparency and, eventually, better outcomes.
- Faster and Smarter Delivery of Projects: As per UN’s research, the world population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050; hence, the AEC industry worldwide needs to resort to much smarter, faster, and more efficient methods to design infrastructure that prove to be a complete gamechanger. BIM is a one-stop smart solution to fulfill this vision.
- Interoperability is key for successful BIM implementation. Lack of transparency, inability to continue from one tool to another, multiple data formats, etc are some potential challenges that can be faced due to lack of interoperability. Due to lack of interoperability, the benefits of the entire process and across the value change can be reduced. There is potential rework leading to additional costs
- Data duplication and multiple sources of data are other challenges of lack of interoperability.
With the ‘information age’ gathering pace, there is a growing need for all industries to collaborate and exchange and re-use data in a much more streamlined, systemized, productive, and cost-effective way. With the use of BIM, the AEC industry is on its way to making notable progress. As per the statistics shared by NBS, ‘Of organizations that haven’t yet adopted BIM, 59% believe they will be left behind if they don’t do so.’ Therefore, despite a few challenges, BIM remains to be a point to be of focus in the future.
Inquisitive to know more? Check out our other blogs for detailed information on the subject while you look at the golden era of BIM in AECO industries that’s about to transform the future!