Polantis presents the Case Study of Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment. Focus on the creation of the syndicate’s generic objects.
The objective of the BIM process
In March, 2015, Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment (ex. SNPPA) met Polantis.
The objective 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.
Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment choice was based on 58 construction systems: cladding, panels, covers, etc., to be provided before the November, 2015, for presentation at the World of Construction (Batimat).
A unique client and BIM approach
So then Polantis teams asked themselves: “What information is to be submitted to the user for a generic product?”, “How can a synthesis of several products with a diversity of technical qualities be achieved?”, “How to create objects intended to meet the needs of several manufacturers, sometimes even competitors?”…
A revealing pilot project
As a pilot project, a first test object was created to validate this process: the Polantis team of architects modeled a clad on Revit and produced its composition table.
This object was created with some difficulty. In fact, the team had worked using documentation that was very extensive, perhaps too extensive, and presented in diagrams in which there was neither a legend, a 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, sort it, annotate it, and organize it. For each product, the syndicate had to provide an informational sheet complete with designs where all fundamentally important information appeared.
A document provided by the the syndicat
To facilitate this process, the team of architects and the expert from Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtimentp made the decision to work together.
Half-day meetings were held bi-monthly. The work was organized according to the steps opposite. First, the expert corrected one or two products, and during corrections, he explained the construction principle of the type of product in question. This allowed the architect who was project lead to understand the product and better represent it when she was making her cuts. These exchanges also allowed her to understand what she needed to hide, or on the contrary, show about the object. After the session, similar products were treated independently and sent back to the expert for validation. The following session concerned 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.
Lastly, beyond the architectural work, this collaboration between the syndicate expert and Polantis architects was important in the absence of an industrial guarantor of its products. Indeed, the presence of the expert was necessary to shoulder the responsibility of the products designed, to verify their faithfulness to the reality, and to attest that each member of the syndicate can “be found” in generic products.
It was under this monitoring that Polantis could 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 Information (standards, material resistance, thermal performances, etc.).
This information, linked to the product, informs the entire chain from design to building maintenance: it can be consulted by each of the actors.
Composition tables, unique points
First were treated the specific situation in which the products in building phase can be integrated and the way they reacted. The objective: the final user could then have access to a solution for most of the uses he or she may have for the products modeled.
A composition table
This stage was of fundamental importance for the proper usage of the products. Indeed, designing these unique points with such precision allowed them to better perform their function: integration directly into the plans of the CAD and BIM software programs, at scale to understand which detail size is designed, and ensure compliance with placement coherence on the worksite, 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 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 best 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 best visualize the construction principle of each unique 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 by Metallic Envelop and following a preliminary study, the Polantis team of architects opted to create 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 with respect to reality is also translated into its compliance with 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 the user? Roughly speaking, Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment chose to show the composition of the product in its totality, showing the various elements that constitute the product.
For the example above, moving from left to right, you can distinguish:
- 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.
The task therefore was to translate a real product into a digital system, going from tangible to digital.
A rewarding collaboration
In conclusion, the 58 products that are now available were designed by combining the expertise of Polantis architects and the desire of Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment to fully address its members’ needs.
The ultimate proof of the success of this operation: Metallic Envelop received the Industrial Silver BIM during the “BIM d’Or” awards ceremony organized by Le Moniteur magazine.
Today, the BIM process is still underway: 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.