Polantis presents the Case Study of Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment. Focus on the creation of the syndicate’s generic objects.
The main purpose of the BIM process
In March 2015, Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment (ex. SNPPA) met Polantis.
The main purpose of this syndicate was to allow its members to see their products integrated into projects created in BIM. To do this, Polantis had to model a selection of generic products among those most currently used in construction.
The choice made by the Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment was based on 58 construction systems: cladding, panels, covers, etc., and they wanted to be provided before November, 2015, for the presentation at the World of Construction (Batimat).
A unique client and BIM approach
Then Polantis’ teams asked themselves: « What information should we submit to the user for generic products? », « How can a synthesis of several products with many different technical qualities could be done? », « How to create objects intended to meet the needs of several manufacturers, and sometimes even competitors? »…
A revealing pilot project
As a pilot project, a first test object was created to check this process: the Polantis team of architects modeled a clad on Revit and realized its composition table.
This object was created with some difficulty. In fact, the team worked using documentation that was very extensive, perhaps too extensive, and presented diagrams in which there was no a legend, no scale, nor dimensions.
Horizontal double skin clad: the diagram of an angle
The need for a specific and hierarchically laid-out documentation
Polantis then asked Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment for more documentation: Autocad files, detailed diagrams, factory plans, etc. This was a request for specific and hierarchically laid-out information that the manufacturers could have easily provided but that the syndicate, unfortunately, did not have.
With the help of Polantis, a lot of work was then undertaken by Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment to gather together the documentation, to sort it, to annotate it, and to organize it. For each product, the syndicate had to provide an informational sheet completed with designs where all fundamentally important information appeared.
A document provided by the syndicate
To ease this process, the team of architects and the expert from Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment made the decision to work together.
Half-day meetings were held bi-monthly. The work was organized according to the opposite steps. First, the expert corrected one or two products, and during corrections, he explained the construction principle of the type of products in question. This allowed the architect who was project lead to understand the product better and to realize it. This cooperation also allowed her to understand what she needed to hide, or on the contrary, what she needed to explicitely show. After the session, similar products were treated independently and sent back to the expert for validation. The following session was about another category of products.
The expert also took advantage of this work to understand the possibilities and the limits of the CAD and BIM software programs on which the team of architects was working. Each person took away from these exchanges more competence about the project, and also a better understanding of the professional task.
Finally, beyond the architectural work, this collaboration between the syndicate expert and Polantis architects was important since there was no industrial in charge of its products. Thus, the presence of the expert was needed for him to be responsible of the products designed, to check their faithfulness to the reality, and to attest that each member of the syndicate was represented in these generic products.
Thanks to this checking phase, Polantis was able to guarantee the satisfaction of the members.
In BIM (Building Information Modeling), one element is Information. A BIM object is partly the visual representation and manipulation of the model and partly the information (standards, material resistance, thermal performances, etc.).
This information linked to the product informs everyone, from the designing to the building maintenance: it can be consulted by each of the persons concerned.
Composition tables, unique points
First the specific situation in which the products can be integrated in building phase were treated . The purpose: the final user could then have access to a solution for most of the uses he or she may have once the product modeled.
A composition table
This stage was very important for the proper usage of the products. Indeed, designing these unique points with such precision allowed them to better perform what they were there for: to be directly embeded into the plans of the CAD and BIM software programs, at scale to understand which detail size is designed, and ensure compliance and coherence, thanks to the organization of legends.
Mastering the information
Regarding the information contained in the products, Polantis shared the expectations of the final user (the architect, the designer, the engineer, etc.) with the syndicate. At the moment of design, what information should be provided to take the best advantage of the BIM? Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment teams were able to respond by completing an Excel file submitted to them.
In addition, and upon request by the syndicate, users should find this information attached to a diagram outside of the digital model. According to Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment, by using this, a user who does not master a BIM software program could ensure that the information was properly linked with the product.
The organization of the information
To better explain the product to the user, the syndicate also thought about how the information was organized.
For example, to be as learner-friendly as possible, a color code was submitted to the Polantis team of architects to enable the user to better visualize the construction principle of each point:
– Red for fastenings,
– Blue for spacers,
– Green for finishing parts.
For the same reason, the pictograms below were designed to present regulatory information about the product: the user should be able to click to directly access the site of Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment.
There are four types of BIM objects: texture (for wall or floor covering, for example), the actual object (for furnishings, for example), the parametric object (for a product with variable dimensions) and the system (for a product composed of several elements or with variable dimensions).
Based on the request made by Metallic Envelop and following a preliminary study, the Polantis team of architects chose to create different systems. A BIM system has the advantage of being able to integrate into the quasi-totality of projects and digital models, and it offers a remarkable degree of flexibility.
The 3D product models were worked on in CAD with maximum 3DS for a rendering that perfectly matches the reality, with an extremely well-developed control process, all the way up to a study of the dowels and fastenings.
The product’s faithfulness to reality is also perceived through its respect to regulation. In the same way that the product is designed according to regulation, its digital avatar complies with standards. For example, for the type of cladding below, construction regulations (interaxial between two IPEs) or types of insulation (rockwool or polyurethane) combined with the product needed to be modeled.
The question of what is visible and what is invisible was also raised: what did Polantis need to show to the user? Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment chose to show the whole composition of the product, showing the various elements that constitute the product.
For the example above, you can distinguish from left to right:
- the integration of the rockwool insulation in the cladding board,
- the pattern of dowel fastenings,
- the proper representation of the insulation binding,
- the proper setting of the cladding on the spacer,
- the finish and placement of the product rendering.
Therefore, the task was to turn a real product into a digital system, going from abstract to digital.
A rewarding collaboration
In a nutschell, the 58 products that are now available were designed by combining the expertise of Polantis architects and the will of Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment to fully address its members’ needs.
The ultimate proof of the success of this operation: Enveloppe Métallique received the Industrial Silver BIM during the « BIM d’Or », awards ceremony organized by Le Moniteur magazine.
Today, the BIM process is still ongoing: Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment teams and industrial members are working with Polantis to improve these generic BIM objects thanks to the feedback given by BIM professionals and experts.