Generic objects and the BIM language

In France, the promise of BIM is a little late coming to light. While its effectiveness needs no further proof, the different trades involved are struggling to collaborate. With the development of generic objects, these last obstacles may finally fall.

When it comes to the development and uptake of BIM (Building Information Modelling), interoperability is one of the main stumbling blocks. BIM can be described as the sum of processes of designing and managing a building model during a building’s life cycle, going from the construction phase to when a building is up in action, via the design phase. While BIM object libraries filled with manufacturers’ products are showing no signs of slowing down, not all those destined to collaborate on a model are convinced by their charms. Many architects are refusing to use libraries provided by manufacturers in order to maintain control over the design phase and to avoid conforming to standardized models.

The industry’s resistance to change greatly restricts BIMs advantages as regards to collaboration between those working in building construction. “These days, everyone is saying use BIM. But it’s simply an exchange of 3D information. It’s all well and good, but the content isn’t that detailed,” explains Patrick Ponthier, executive director of the AIMCC (the French construction industry trade association), to the website Batiactu.

In order to create a common language for those who make good use of BIM, the Plan de Transition Numérique dans le Batiment (or PTNB, the French government’s plan for digitalization in the construction industry), has made standardizing properties and generic objects a priority. The PTNB has thus entrusted Mediaconstruct with the task of developing a “dictionary” that follows the experimental NF XP P07-150 standard, which was drafted by the French standardization association’s (AFNOR) product properties for BIM commission (PPBIM). 30 objects and 300 properties have already seen the light of day, while a further 150 objects and 1,500 new properties should come to life as of 2018. Such standardization provides a solution to the invariable parts of a construction project, and enables those project designers who wish to do things differently, to free themselves from manufacturers’ object libraries. Furthermore, it also shows promise for standardizing formats and methodologies that govern the creation of the “BIM language”.

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