The BIM approach
Alucobond met Polantis in 2013, and its BIM approach was special because it took place in two phases.
The decision was made to create a model for the manufacturer’s panels, first of all by developing shades or textures. The objective was for users to be able to view the aesthetic qualities of the Alucobond products in the work that they were currently designing.
In 2016, with many shaders produced and with Alucobond understanding the designers’ interest, the teams opted for the creation of 3 facade panels.
What’s the advantage of downloading a complete Alucobond system? The ability to integrate a panel into the digital model and combine a texture in it in order to:
Throughout the modeling process, Polantis found in Alucobond’s German teams an attentive interlocutor that was careful to respond to the expectations of the user.
The composition table of the “Hooked on bolts Suspendend Tray Panels”: systems and shaders are included
In 2013, the chief architect of the Alucobond project at Polantis visited the Alucobond factory in Singen to learn about the history of the manufacturer, its manfacturing processes, and the attention paid to the quality of the designs created for facades.
Once production began, the communication back and forth between Alucobond and Polantis was instrumental in adjusting the level of realism and specificity of the colors in order to achieve a perfect rendering. To do this, the documentation made available to the architecture team was mainly the catalogue of references of the manufacturer and the samples scanned.
Modeling of shaders for Archicad
In 2016, Alucobond asked Polantis to develop a range of textures first created for Revist for the ArchiCAD software program.
The team dedicated to the Archicad program then took on the project. It was necessary to go back practically to the starting point to recreate each of the 94 textures: it was possible to retrieve the elements, since they were RAL, the scale of the textures, and the dimensions of the designs.
Modeling the most elaborate textures was done from the Archicad rendering engine: the CineRender. In the same way as Revit, the level of difficulty varied according to the complexity of the texture: metallic aspects, fresnel effects, reliefs, etc.
The advantage of ArchiCAD is that CineRender is a very high-performance rendering engine, so the user can stay within the software and observe the aesthetic qualities of the product, without having to open up a third-party software program, so it’s easier to view the textures.
When it became involved in a second phase, the team in charge of modeling in ArchiCad suggested to Alucobond to allow the user to download by packs: several shaders of the same line available at a single time.
This simpler operation was adopted by the modeling team for Revit.
Modeling of the panels
Three years later, with the textures modeled, Alucobond asked Polantis architects to work on the “background”, or rather, “backstage”. How many panels, how many slabs were there behind a texture applied onto a given surface? What was going on behind the texture?
Modeled facades are a real time-saver for designers, who can try out several possibilities in the drafting phase, with the use of an automatic tile layout calculation and the chance to visualize the applied colors.
First the team examined the level of detail desired, and it was agreed that three would be developed:
There are four layers you can distinguish in modeling the panel with the highest level of detail:
Modeling of panels for ArchiCAD
In order to offer its BIM solution to a maximum number of users, in 2016, Alucobond also chose to offer a range of its systems for ArchiCAD.
The architects in charge of the project therefore produced:
It is interesting to observe that in ArchiCad, the BIM’d product is considered a parametric object while in Revit, it is considered a system object.
The desire to serve a maximum number of prescribers
The two software programs do not at all have the same functions, therefore it wasn’t easy for the Polantis teams to reflect on the modeling of Alucobond products in the same way. So the two teams worked independently from one another.
Over the past months, on Polantis, downloads in BIM formats are distributed between formats as follows:
Revit totaled 47.3% of the downloads, so it is common for manufacturers to start their BIM approach by having their product modeled on that software program. However, modeling in ArchiCad is more and more commonly requested by manufacturers.
The BIM approach
In September, 2015, Polantis put the Rector CAD and BIM products online: the “ThermoPreslab and Masonry Wall” and the “ThermoPreslab and ThermoPrewall”.
What makes the manufacturer’s products unique? A part of the system is designed in the factory (with integrated iron framework) and the concrete part is poured at the construction site.
The outcome? Easier assembly and incomparable construction quality, specifically with very strong thermal performance (no thermal bridges).
For Polantis, modeling Rector’s systems was a challenge: how do you design a multilayer object and ensure that it is perfectly adapted to the project?
Test 1: “the super product”
With Rector’s full collaboration, the team of architects in charge of the project launched a study in order to determine the best way of understanding product modeling.
First, it was understood that the walls and flooring would be treated in the same way because the construction system was the same.
Next, the teams decided to create a super product. The iron framework would be distributed automatically in the part treated: this was the insurance that the product would be represented from “the inside” with all of the elements that constitute it.
However, very quickly, the team discovered several obstacles to modeling this product.
The iron framework, which became parameter-adjustable, could not be properly integrated with complex-shaped parts and was not adaptable to all types of surfaces.
What’s more, the Rector iron framework integrates into two principal layers of the system, which could not be parameter-adjustable in Revit.
Lastly, the question was raised regarding the premier user of the products: an architect did not have any utility to exploit this super product which, in addition to being slow to load in the model, included information that was more useful in design offices.
The study therefore revealed that this product was too elaborate.
A multilayer system
In parallel to the meeting with Rector, Polantis began to collaborate with Siplast (a specialist in impermeability). As the two products are successive layers of insulation, the reflection for modeling the Siplast products was also useful for reflections on Rector products.
Similarly, the agreement was to design an .rvt format systerm in which these layers would be represented: the insulation layer, the concrete layer, etc. The iron framework would no longer be represented on 3D elements, but on 2D elements and on other visuals provided with the product when it is downloaded.
The difference between the .rvt format and the .rfa format
On a Revit project, the model is made in .rvt: it brings together all the elements of the proejct; in some respects it is the anatomy of the building. The .rvt format model includes the nomenclature, materials, parameters, geolocation…all possible information. With all this information included, it is possible to communicate with the other trades involved in the design & build chain.
An object in the .rfa format belongs in fact to a Revit family. These are objects that can be taken and then simply moved, like a window, a chair, or a lighting fixture. We talk about them in terms of family because there is an organization between such objects: some are parents while others are the children or grandchildren.
The major interest in having designed the Rector system in the .rvt format resides in the fact that it can, unlike the .rfa format, contain information in the form of text or image files.
The “I” in BIM stands for Information
For example, modeling an .rvt object lets you integrate the iron framework layer into the system, not in terms of its geometry but in terms of its information.
This proved to be particularly necessary because, for example, if it were integrated into the product in the form of a layer, without, however, its parameters set by the Polantis teams, it would be up to the architect to decide how to place the iron framework, thereby involving the architect’s liability in the event of a calculation error.
The importance of the information provided is at a maximum in the case of the Rector BIM objects: in order not to overload the digital model, the product is visually “lightened” and represented more simply, but all of its qualities, its placement mode, unique points and performance information, and standards are associated with the object at the time of downloading.
A “hub” object
In order to best exploit this informational dimension, the agreement with Rector was to conceive of the modeled systems as “hubs”:
Information on acoustic, seismic, and fire-resistance performance
The BIM for all the actors involved in construction
Ultimately, this “hub object” proposed by Rector works to serve all the users of the Design & Build chain perfectly. Here is a list of the actors who are concerned with BIM objects:
To be useful for an ever growing number of actors, the Rector BIM objects are also available for the ArchiCAD software program. The objects modeled for Allplan are currently in production by the Polantis teams.
The objective of the BIM approach
In October, 2012, Polantis put online 29 brick textures designed for Wienerberger.
This incomparable specialist in terracotta began a BIM approach for a large panel of products: from traditional colored brick to more elaborate effects, and naturally-colored materials.
The goal for Wienerberger, a leader in terracotta, was to confirm its leadership position by putting itself at the cutting edge of innovation.
The issue for the team of architects in charge of the project at Polantis was as follows: with the wall covering being the first view of a project, it was imperative to reproduce with complete accuracy the aesthetic properties of the Wienerberger products.
The documentation provided by Wienerberger
Wienerberger provided Polantis with several sources with which to work: sometimes the photograph of a part of a wall, sometimes the photograph of an area of bricks superimposed but without joints, and other times views of the building in perspective.
The first action taken by the team of architects in charge of the project was to cut out and isolate each brick present in the photograph in order to keep its specific qualities in order to continue to showcase the richness of the material.
It was also necessary to “flatten” the views in perspective so that the user could perceive in total specificity the sizes and formats of the bricks modeled.
The 3D representation
There are four types of BIM objects: the simple object (for furnishings for example), the parametric object (for a product with variable dimensions), the system (for a product composed of several elements and variable dimensions) and the texture (for wall or floor covering, for example).
Wienerberger products are textures: what was needed was to represent a wallpaper that would be applied to a given geometry.
Because the bricks could not be modeled and assembled one by one, since this would be too fastidious, the architectural team designed an infinite texture that could be applied with a click on any wall whatsoever.
An infinite texture
An architect who wishes to apply a given texture could be satisfied with cutting and pasting an image of a “brick” taken randomly from an online catalogue: the repetition would be noticeable and the resulting effect would not be natural.
The Polantis teams worked in Photoshop in order to adapt the texture in such a way that it would react like a real assembly of bricks.
The shader, a combination of layers
The term “shader” is used when there is a combination of several textures.
A well-made shader always combines 5 elements:
On the Wienerberger page presented on the Polantis platform, all of these elements are presented next to the shader so that the experienced user can have a glimpse of what is found in the .zip he or she downloads.
This information allows prescribers to obtain in detail how the shader to be applied to projects is composed.
The final informational element accompanying the shader is a view from the Wienerberger catalogue: this will allow the user to note the absoluteness of the resemblance between the given file and the real object.
Exchanges with Wienerberger
The work of the Polantis architects was validated after a meticulous study by teams working with this specialist in terracotta. The attention on the part of the manufacturer was above all devoted to the realistic effect of the shaders. Certain elements had to be modified:
The architect and the client
These points merited a high level of interest because the architect needed the project presented to his client using his software to be highly faithful to reality, so the image and the rendering were prioritized.
This fidelity allowed the client to identify with the result and validate the project more easily.
In the case of BIM, it is commonly said that the digital model allows one to “build before building”, so to present an object with realistic aesthetic qualities helps the architect and his client engage in more constructive exchanges.
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 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.
Siplast launched their first CAD and BIM objects library with 5 highly detailed roofing systems on polantis.com – Europe’s first, largest and most visited CAD and BIM objects web platform. 5 new roofing systems will be published in the upcoming weeks and dozens more in the upcoming months.
Siplast‘s high performing CAD and BIM objects were developed by Polantis expert architects team. These objects are specially tailored to match the needs of architects and AEC professionals during all planning, construction and operation phases.
Siplast is amongst the first roofing manufacturers to understand the importance and power of a CAD and BIM objects catalogue for the use by the entire supply chain of the building industry. These first 5 systems (and the dozens to follow shortly) give Siplast a huge advantage over its competitors who are yet to create their BIM catalogues.
Polantis insures the worldwide distribution of Siplast’s CAD and BIM objects on its various platforms and partner platforms. Since their introduction last Friday (28th of November) hundreds of systems were downloaded and deployed in projects by hundreds of AEC professionals. In the upcoming days Siplast expects to reach thousands of Architectes and specifiers. Polantis has a base of over 75,000 AEC professionals with a new member joining in every 8 minutes.
The five systems already available online at https://www.polantis.com/siplast all belong to Siplast’s most emblematic and universal line – “Silver”.
The currently proposed roofing systems are of the following categories:
– Under heavy protection or pavers on paving supports
– Garden roofing
All of the “Silver” line products have an integrated RFID chip with and a 20-year guarantee. Siplast provides an in-depth technical support for AEC professionals and thanks to these CAD and BIM objects specifiers get a much faster and better service.
In the upcoming months the entire Siplast catalogue will be developed into CAD and BIM objects. Including interior acoustic insulation products.
Please click here in order to access the Polantis platform
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, the chances are you know about the impending government BIM reform. Numerous articles have been written about what BIM is, how it can save everyone in the construction chain money and ultimately how those that don’t adapt will be left behind. The deadline looms and is now less than 2 years away.
Scaremongering is rife but what is lacking is practical and sound advice on how to proceed as an AEC manufacturer. You have questions that need to be answered: How do I invest in BIM? Do I need to train my staff in BIM? What kind of return on investment am I looking at? How long will it take? Can I create BIM versions of my products by myself?
So where are you in the global race to adopt BIM? Well, most accept BIM is the way forward for the construction industry, but there exist vast cultural differences when it comes to the uptake of the technology. Early adopters in the US and parts of Europe are already reporting a significant return on investment for BIM.
Some are being forced to change by law, as in the UK. This list also includes the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Norway – all of which will require the use of BIM on publicly-funded building projects by 2016.
Others are being encouraged more ‘gently’. The European Parliament recently voted to “encourage all European countries to recommend the use of electronic tools, including BIM, on public works contracts.”
As usual, Asia is steaming ahead. One UK construction expert recently lamented that “In Japan, modular construction is used on more than 50% of its buildings, while the UK uses it in less than five per cent.”
When it comes to BIM uptake though, the real disparity is not geographical, it is between the actors involved in the construction chain. That’s somewhat ironic as the whole point of BIM is to enable manufacturers, architects, quantity surveyors, engineers, builders and owners to better communicate. By 2016, we are told, if any of these groups want to have a hand in lucrative public projects, they will all need to have a firm grasp of what BIM is and how to use it. BIM is no different to any other new technology in that some are more willing and able to get on board than others.
So here’s the good news for you as an AEC manufacturer. This really isn’t your problem because of all the actors in the chain, you have the most simple part to play in the whole reform process. All you need to do is to provide a BIM version or catalogue of your products. This is not only simple, you are the group most likely to see a return on investment. Why? well, a BIM catalogue will help you to promote and sell your products to the very people that prescribe them.
So you’ve accepted BIM is the way forward and you’ve decided to go ahead and create a BIM objects catalogue. You now have two options, outsource the process to a CAD and BIM objects expert manufacturer or attempt to create your catalogue yourself. Whichever option you choose, don’t forget that albeit the fact that more and more specifiers and AEC professionals use BIM. A BIM method is only mandatory in the public market. If 39% of architects knew about or were already using BIM in the UK in 2013 (according to the NBS) – this also means that the remaining 61% don’t use it yet. The US, which is a “ripe BIM market” had 60% of architects using BIM according to Autodesk’s report if this is what we can expect in 2016’s UK it still means that a big chunk of AEC professionals will never be BIM ready or at least will be extreme laggers. These architects and specifiers will continue using “traditional CAD” indefinitely and you, as an AEC manufacturer cannot allow yourself to ignore them. Make sure you’re not only BIM ready then. Make sure no matter which professionals using no matter which solution or method – has access to your catalogues.
Vmzinc, the specialist in innovative zinc solutions for building covering published it’s first fifty Rendering and BIM textures compatible with 100% of professional software used by architects and AEC professionals.
This first VMzinc BIM catalogue is part of the company’s communication strategy and its group: Umicore – an international specialist in metals and materials technology. VMzinc is it’s international brand name of rolled zinc solutions for the building industry.
VMzinc manufactures a broad range of products for the building industry, including a full range of Titanium-Zinc products available as sheets, coils or as specially tailored systems. Their extensive range of products reflects their wealth of professional and practical experience. These products are designed to meet needs of various climates and standards worldwide.
The first 50 BIM objects for VMzinc were specially designed by Polantis so that they could seamlessly fit and integrate into any kind of building project. The product categories “Systems and and products for roofing” and “Systems and products for façades” were conceived first in order to reply for the increasing demand of architects, specifiers and other AEC professionals. The other product categories are already under production by Polantis’s expert architects and will be published during 2014.
VMzinc hopes to profit from the ongoing BIM revolution and make sure architects and specifiers in the UK and elsewhere in the world could employ their range of products easily into their projects. The VMzinc catalogue joins hundreds of other CAD and BIM objects catalogues recently published by a many AEC manufacturers in anticipation for the extensive UK BIM reform that will be in full effect on the 1st of January 2016.
UPM the Finnish giant of wood for construction enters the BIM era with the publication of a first CAD and BIM objects catalogue made available for Architects and other specifiers in the UK and the rest of the world online at polantis.com
The first products to be published are systems of wood panels for cladding. UPM chose to make them available in 16 different CAD, BIM and Rendering formats. The BIM components could be easily integrated into a 3D BIM model and enrich any project with an extended palette of colors and motives.
UPM is a frontrunner of the new forest industry the company leads the integration of bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future. UPM is known to create value from renewable and recyclable materials.
UPM’s structure consists of the following business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Paper Asia, UPM Paper ENA (Europe and North America) and UPM Plywood.
In 2012, UPM’s sales exceed 10 billion euros. They are present in 65 countries and their production plants exist in 15 different countries. UPM employs over 22,000 people worldwide and their shares are listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki stock exchange.
It’s likely you have a team of technical experts at the heart of your business. This team is probably made up of experienced engineers who design and process your products. The question is do they have the specific skills necessary to develop a professional CAD and BIM catalogue in house?
Most product and industrial engineers are well versed in PLM computer design but are not architects. None of them have previously worked in architectural firms or specified products in an architectural design. Only an architect can create a high quality, professional CAD and BIM catalogue because only an architect has the specific experience in BIM or CAD software and the understanding of the proper functioning of an architectural practice.
A professional CAD and BIM catalogue needs to make your objects available in as many formats as possible. In order to maximise your return on investment, architects and prescribers must be able to download and manipulate the 3D versions of your products in to the software they habitually use. Today there are four BIM software versions in use as well as dozens of CAD and rendering programs.
Converting objects between one BIM program and another is quite simply impossible (this despite the claims of IFC and IFD’s so called “interoperability”). Converting CAD objects from one format to another is possible(in most cases) but it can be tricky.
The upshot is, if you fail to produce your catalogue in the maximum number of formats (at least 10) you will be limiting your business to a very small number of architects and prescribers. (i.e only those who use the few programs your objects are available in)
CAD architectural programs, and to a greater extent BIM programs, are far removed from the programs used by your designers and engineers. They really are distant cousins and converting an object from PLM to CAD (for example from .igs format to .dwg format) will more often than not produce monstrously large files with too much detail, in the wrong scale and may contain sensitive information you don’t want out of your premisses.
Converting an object from a PLM format to a BIM format is simply impossible today. (.sat to .gsm for example) Even if you manage somehow to make a “geometrical conversion” of a PLM object into a BIM format (i.e – you manage to convert the 3D form from one software format to the other) – you will end up with a heavy “dummy” object that has none of the attributes and parameters necessary for a proper functioning in a BIM project environment.
If you want to create your CAD and BIM catalogue in house, you will need to think about acquiring a number of BIM and CAD software programs. Consult our cost analysis below for more detail.
Creating a 3D catalogue can be immensely time consuming without the aid of technologies specially adapted to the task. Even if you do manage to hire top notch architects, they will still have to spend time mastering the programs they’re not familiar with. Once they do, they will then have to learn how to create an object using this software. After all, these programs are designed for the purpose of architectural design, not creating objects for catalogues.
Your architects will need to learn how to ‘divert’ or ‘hack’ to properly create your objects. A lot of these programs come with a ‘catalogue object creation mode’ but its rare to find someone with the know how in this domaine because very few architects pass their time creating catalogue objects.
At the bottom of this article you’ll see how it will take two excellent architects 19 years to create 1000 catalogue objects in all the necessary formats – don’t underestimate the time it takes!
Creating a CAD and BIM catalogue is good, but getting it to the people who will use it is even better. If you have managed to create a professional catalogue you will now have thousands of files, some in 2D format, some in 3D, others in BIM. Some will be purely textures or ‘shaders’ that can cover polygonal surfaces etc. How do you intend to get all of this out to architects and prescribers? Remember, each uses a different software program and perhaps different methods within a program.
-If you wish to distribute these files online, you will need to think about a costly web upgrade for your site. Aside from the distribution you’ll have to think about costs associated with hosting and downloading these objects.
– If you’re thinking about sending your catalogue via email, how will you go about managing a group of files that might totalize 8Go and how will you ensure your mail isn’t flagged as spam? Do you have a good list of contacts when it comes to architects and designers?
-If you want to hand out copies of your catalogue at trade fairs and other events which is the best format? A QR code? A DVD? a USB key? All of these need to be properly designed and thought of.
Let’s imagine you produce a range of 1000 different products and you want to create a CAO/BIM catalogue
– You will need to find and hire the services of two experienced architects who are content to abandon their career in architecture in favor of designing catalogue objects (no mean feat!) Assuming you manage to negotiate a salary of £2500 for each per month, you’re looking at an annual cost of : £60,000
– You’ll need to buy software licenses for CAD and BIM for 2 desks + any other essential software (Adobe creative suite, pack office, etc) That’s 12 software packages X 2 at an average cost of £3700 per license = £88,800
– An architect who can master several CAD and BIM software is a rare thing. You will need to pay for training. It takes around 5 days to properly master each program at an acceptable level. On top of that each architect will need to learn how to use the object creation mode of each software package. A day’s training costs around £250. £250 X 5 days for each program X 10 programs = £12,500
– 2 workstations properly adapted to high level 3D creation = £5000
The time it takes to create a professional CAO/BIM catalogue will also have an impact on costs… There are about 230 working days in a year (52 weeks X 5 days a week less 30 days of vacations / sick leave / bank holidays etc)
The time it will take to train your two architects will end up at around 50 work days. Add to that around 30 days each to learn how to use the object creation mode in each program. So each architect will need 150 days of training in the first year.
A very good architect who is also an expert in CAD and BIM will create, on average, one complex object per day. In just one format. Remember, you need to create objects in 10 – 15 formats. So let’s imagine your architects are particularly efficient and they manage to produce all the formats for one object in 10 days. At the end of the first year you will have 30 finished objects for your catalogue.
So the first year’s cost: 60,000 + 88,000 + 12,500 + 5,000 = £165,500
That’s £5,500 per object
The second year will cost the architect’s salaries + the software updates. Let’s assume your architects produce around 50 complete objects in all of the required formates each year. You will be looking at a cost of about £2,600 per object.
It will take your firm around 19 years and cost you more than £2,6 million to create a professional CAD and BIM catalogue in house covering your range of 1000 objects. That’s with two architects. If you hire 4, you will of course halve the time and double the costs. If you hire 6 architects and a project manager, they could get the time down to around 3 years but that will cost you significantly more.
Creating a CAD and BIM catalogue in house at the cost of around £5000 per object probably isn’t a very good idea, especially when a cheaper, easier alternative exists.
Get a professional CAD and BIM objects manufacturer to work on your catalogue. A good service provider and an expert in CAD and BIM catalogue creation will:
If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in to our comments box
BIM or “Building Information Modeling” has so many definitions it is almost ridiculous. Some don’t even define BIM as “Building Information Modeling” but rather as “Building Information Model” or “Building Information Management”. Many organizations, software editors and individuals claim to be the “true inventors” or “true initiators” of BIM. Some insist they were the first to know about BIM and know best how to use it.
God forbid, if you seek the answer in Wikipedia, you’ll most probably regret it. It fails to explain this multi-faceted and vast concept and settles for a bland, general and vague definition of what BIM is.
Luckily, BIM is actually something quite simple to grasp if you’re an AEC manufacturer. Most existing BIM ‘explainers’ are directed at architects or at the clients of building projects. In this post however, I’m going to explain what BIM is from the AEC manufacturer’s point of view.
The easiest way to quickly grasp what BIM is, is to first understand what a BIM object is and then understand what this kind of object is good for, and the best way to understand it is:
A BIM object functions as a recipient
And here’s a picture of a glass of water to help you remember it:
The glass itself represents a 3D model or any other kind of what is commonly called “Geometry” which basically means a 2D or 3D shape of SOMETHING
The water inside it represents INFORMATION ABOUT THE SOMETHING
And as you can see, the “water” adopts the shape of the object it is contained in. That is it. Simply put, a BIM object is a 3D geometry that contains information about it’s essence.
Now, if you are an AEC manufacturer all you have to do is imagine one of your products instead of the glass of water shown above. Your product could obviously be described geometrically (i.e – modeled in 3D) and you could probably also say lots of things about that product of yours. Let’s imagine for the sake of the example that your product is an automatic door instead of that glass:
This door has a certain shape, a width, a length, a thickness and several parts – this is its GEOMETRY.
It probably comes in different sizes and proportions to fit different types of openings – this is PARAMETRICAL information.
It also has different materials, (wood, metal, rubber, trans-lucid or transparent glass, plastic etc.) It replies to some norms and standards and is classified under a certain reference or catalog number. It is also manufactured by someone (you) and you have a phone number and an address where you (or your sales / technical force) can be reached. All of this is essential information.
If this automatic door is a BIM object then all of this information (parametric or not) is simply INTEGRATED into the geometry of the 3D object.
You probably understand by now what all of this is good for. The ability to integrate information into a parametric 3D object is a great thing. It allows the architects and any other AEC professionals (quantity surveyors, engineers…) involved in the conception of a building – to conceive a building with hundreds of such intelligent “building blocks”. Each block is “self aware” of what it is and each interacts with all the other elements of said building. For example, this door integrates into a wall somewhere in the project. The wall itself contains information about its thickness, it’s function (supporting or just separation of spaces) insulation, the dimensions of its openings etc. The wall might be “sitting” on a concrete slab covered with tiles of a certain shape and color etc etc. All of these BIM components together make a BIM MODEL and this intelligent BIM model is the basis to what BIM is all about.
Because, as soon as you have a BIM model, you can do many things. First, YOU CAN EDIT it really easily. For example, if you have a staircase in between two concrete slabs and you decide that you want the room’s ceiling to be higher all you have to do is increase the distance between those two slabs of yours, the staircase will respond automatically as it “knows” that it is connecting two floors and the BIM object that is this staircase will add extra stairs to itself and an extra length of railing to go along with it.
Second, this magical BIM model can provide you with tons of useful information that YOU CAN QUERY with a few clicks. In most BIM software you can get a detailed listing or nomenclature about all of the components that make your building. Not only how many square meters or yards it has but also how many doors, windows, chairs, and lamps it contains. This of course is very helpful if you’re an architect or a client.
If you are the person in charge of the maintenance of the building that is going to be built you could easily know how many pots of painting you’d have to purchase and when to refurbish it etc. A good BIM model will ensure EASY MAINTENANCE.
a BIM model is good for many other things as well, an engineer could use the model to make sure there are NO CLASHES that could occur during construction (For example: Part of the underground parking is built where a city sewage pipe passes or an air conditioning tube that goes right through where an electric installation is supposed to be)
This, in sum is all you, as an AEC Manufacturer need to know about BIM. Building information modeling is just that – a method that allows the entire supply chain of a building to better communicate with each other and access information about the thing they build when they need it. It makes life easier on everyone from the architect to the client and it all starts with a little BIM object that you provide the architect. This little BIM object is by far your best salesman as it tells your story, it showcases your competence and you wealth of knowledge and ingenuity.