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Building Products July 2017

DRAINAGE, PLUMBING AND WATER SUPPLY is possible. In practice installation contractors will be pulling their hair out trying to conform. The only way to get BIM right is to use a manufacturer’s library and ensure that the data is right. Sadly many manufacturers either do not have the resource or have not invested the time and effort needed to get it right. It means that many still rely on generic libraries. An effective BIM library needs collaboration with the entire supply chain to make sure that it will fulfil the designer’s, installer’s and of course the end user’s needs. Developing a library needs to evolve. So while the software platform used by most BIM libraries allows you to enter your product data, you must constrain that data within certain tolerances to prevent the specifier altering it on the diagram and storing up problems further down the supply chain. Sadly these problems only really come to light when you use a BIM library. The lesson is to speak to the supply chain and understand how they will use it rather than develop it in isolation. It is not always obvious what a specifier wants. A good example is understanding exactly how much data about a product or system is needed. The temptation is to provide as much detail as 64 BUILDING PRODUCTS | JULY 2017 possible, which at face value seems sensible. Such an approach does however lead to some very practical problems. A 3D drawing that contains too much information takes too long to download and place in a design; bearing in mind that a single product is probably only one component of an extensive system. Talking to consultants they have seen examples where rubber gaskets or the threads on a joint are detailed, when all that they need are the dimensions for the drawing. A lot of the other details are just superfluous. In fairness judging how much data is required, but not overloading a drawing to make it too cumbersome to use in practice, is a judgement call that only the designer and manufacturer can make by working together. It is not just up to the manufacturer to wave a magic wand and make a BIM library work, but relies on the specifier’s and installer’s input so that they get the data that is easily translated into a real life installation. Otherwise what is the point? After all, costs should now be measured over the lifetime of a building, so speaking from a manufacturer’s point of view systems that ensure <<< Continued from page 63 specs are not broken have to be good. It means that the manufacturer will invest in products and systems that meet all the requirements of the customer and supply chain, whether that is lowest total cost through a project’s lifetime using life cycle analysis or reducing the embedded carbon in products. True innovation comes from collaboration with the supply chain all contributing its expertise. Nowhere is this more apparent than in delivering BIM that is easily translated into real life projects. Inaccurate data is of limited or no use but equally too much data can be counter-productive. It is up to the supply chain to talk to each other to shape BIM into a tool that we can all be proud of. So while the initial data has to come from the manufacturer, generic libraries are of no use to anyone, the manufacturer has to work closely with the organisations that will use the information. I truly believe that some of the early problems seen with BIM libraries are just teething problems and that together the construction and building industry can make BIM a tool that works hard for everyone. Matthew Hassall is Product Development Engineer for Saint-Gobain PAM UK


Building Products July 2017
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