A Bright Future with BIM

The concept of Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been around since the 1960’s, but it is only now that it is beginning to impact the way buildings are designed and constructed.

One of the best descriptions of BIM I’ve heard to date is that it is a large thing which lots of different people have a small contribution towards, which basically demonstrates that BIM will mean something a little different to us depending on what our perspective is.

As a manufacturer, our primary concern is how we ensure our data is transferred into the model correctly and how this information is presented to those who need to use it. For many though, BIM has been viewed as both a concern and an opportunity.

The journey towards BIM

Our journey towards BIM started around three years ago and involved looking into the possibilities and standards available. One of our main concerns was the availability of a standard format for presenting data and making sure our investment in BIM was not wasted. It was clear from our involvement in workshops and working groups that we needed to get behind our industry bodies and trade associations to support them, in order to make consistent BIM modelling a reality and a success.

Advice to the industry seemed conflicting to begin with, but gradually the route became clearer. Working with ICOM and CIBSE, product data templates (PDTs) have proved to be an effective way of presenting data consistently and it is something we are focusing on to represent products right across the industry.

Looking forward

Most recently, PDTs have begun to be published so that manufacturers can produce their own product data sheets (PDS) for their individual product ranges. These data sheets are now a key resource for those involved in the design, planning, and specification of new buildings.

We are reaching a point where the main demand from customers is for BIM models of a manufacturer’s products to be used within their day to day work on projects. We need consistent and quality models, and the key to producing these is a partnership with a creator and distributor such as BIMstore. Manufacturers can then ensure their models are produced to a high standard and are maintained and updated as their product – or range of products – evolves.

As the use of BIM starts to develop over time, so will the format of the model provided. When this system is used effectively, BIM will provide a virtual environment and the benefit will be quicker support and reduced costs for all.

Because BIM forms part of UK Government Construction Strategy it is vital we help designers, planners and engineers embrace the technology and play our part in simplifying the commissioning process as well as the ongoing maintenance of facilities management.

As an industry we are just starting to take the first steps into what could be a true revolution in the way we work and transfer information. BIM will have to continue to evolve to suit the needs of this industry if the potential for savings is to be realised and we must play our relatively small part in contributing to the bigger picture.”

Pete Mills, Commercial Technical Operations Manager at Bosch Commercial and Industrial