Posts Tagged Interoperability
So straight out of Budapest….and Boston comes the PR Release of Open BIM. I am for Open BIM, I love the idea of working in a platform agnostic environment and make the building all about the data not the platform, however, when Open BIM is made up of a consortium of companies that have a vested interest in the process, such as Nemetshek, Tekla and Trimble at least the antennae are going to go up.
“Open BIM Programme is a marketing campaign initiated by GRAPHISOFT®, Tekla® and other members of buildingSMART® to urge and facilitate globally coordinated promotion of the Open BIM concept throughout the AEC industry, with aligned communication and common branding available to programme participants.” This is taken right from the buildingSMART website. Now buidlingSMART appears to be the outgrowth of the IFC initiative which was started by Autodesk in 1994, however, Autodesk now does not appear to be a part of this? Why not?
I think fighting against the hegemony of the Autodesk dreadnaught is okay but one has to a question an open standard in this space. As far as I know there is no open source BIM authoring tool, which would be super cool; so then who has a vested interest in the ‘open’ standard and supporting it? I know if I have an ancient CAD file I can still open it in AutoCAD because you have a for profit company investing in itself and it’s long tail, open standard? Not sure if it works. Would I be able to open a file that was saved in an IFC format twenty years from now? I can still open a Revit file that is 7 years old. Is this a capitalism vs. socialism equation? I would not go that far but there is a whole lot invested in software to design/manage buildings digitally so what does Open really mean in this case besides just a ‘marketing campaign initiated from Graphisoft…” As my dad always says, usually when you want to know the motivation for something, “follow the money.”
I’ve written about this before and I think in the ideal world the building, the BIM, is open and people just write apps for the model, as current apps put a nice wrapper around open data so can BIM apps. Need energy analysis, buy the app, space management, buy the app but the initial creation and file formatting lies in the BIM authoring tool, Revit, Archicad, etc. How does the centralized BIM server model work when changes are made, etc. and what file format is it kept in that will have the legacy to support it? Perhaps after the building is designed or existing building is captured in a BIM platform it can be translated into the IFC, whathave you, open platform and then becomes the defacto standard for existing buildings (EB), but during the design process? There are a lot of people with a vested interest to keep it in their ecosystem. Who will invest, support and nurture an Open BIM standard and to what end?
Even though the initial embrace with BIM was to visually communicate with clients and initially for me was coordinated and updated documentation the real carrot is the 4D and 5D aspects of the software, and real cost estimation demands components and products that are their real world digital equivalents, not generic components. This calls for an open standard that manufactures can write and specifiers can utilize. Thankfully there are people who know this and working to make it a reality. A recent meeting sponsored by NIBS / Building Smart Alliance was held this past December to discuss and come up with a road map to reality. The Specifiers Properties Information Exchange (SPie) Meeting came up with a cookbook to address it. The fact they hope to have standards in place for all major building products by December 2010 is a great and ambitious goal. The home page to the session is available here and has other links to good information.
What is driving this project?
Many project stakeholders have been asking (some demanding) that building designs contain explicit properties about the objects in the building. To ensure that individual software vendors, large owners, or large manufactures do not begin to include proprietary requirements in open standard information exchanges, the SPie project was formed.
What are the next steps?
Now that the recipe for SPie has been created, NIBS is conducting an outreach effort that will result in a spring 2010 meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to allow a wide range of trade associations to engage with the project as quickly as possible. Our goal will be to have complete templates and product property data sets be available across the majority of building products by Dec 2010.
Texas has now joined Wisconsin in requiring a BIM for new construction. I’ve inquired if there are any requirements regarding major renovations, like Wisconsin, and will follow up.
ASHRAE, the American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers just issued a grant to Texas A&M for “ensuring that a common language of ‘energy efficiency’ is spoken by the both building information modeling software used by architects and energy analysis and simulation software”. I have not played around with Ecotect or IES enough, but I know it had required separate 3D modeling outside of standard BIM authoring software, getting to a point of seamless data exchange you would think would be a starting point not the end point, but glad we are moving that way.