Deke Smith, executive director for the National Institute of Building Sciences’ (NIBS) buildingSMART alliance (bSa), has provided Construction Project Controls and BIM Report an update on the development of the National Building Information Modeling Standard-United States (NBIMS-US) Version 2.
The alliance recently closed an open-ballot submission period for developing NBIMS-US Version 2. The alliance received 45 submissions, which cover various topics that the organization believes “could have a significant impact on the way architectural, engineering, and construction professionals use BIM.”
Ballots were separated into categories relating to the following: reference standards; information exchanges, including model view definitions and information delivery manuals; best practices; and overview and guidelines, including updates to the NBIMS Version 1, Part 1. Of the ballot submissions, 36 were complete entries and nine were categorized as “blue sky submissions,” ideas that will need more input before becoming a ballot or going for a vote to be included in the standard.
Several of the ballot submissions, if approved by the voting membership, will “significantly expand” the current standard, according to bSa.
- Several ballots identified tables from OmniClass to be used as referenced standards, including: Table 13 -- Spaces by Function; Table 21 -- Elements (Uniformat); Table 22 -- Work Results (Masterformat), Table 23 -- Products; Table 32 -- Services; and Table 36 -- Information Content. Much of the open BIM coordination in the industry is based on these tables and their coding structure.
- Ballots proposed the addition of several information exchanges into NBIMS. One of primary interest is the Construction Operations Building information exchange, which, if approved, would become an official standard through this consensus process.
- One ballot would add the BIM Project Execution Planning Guide, (Version 2.1), updated in May 2011, to NBIMS. This guide has been used by several organizations across the industry to coordinate BIM implementation.
The ballot item comment period begins Aug. 3 and ends Sept. 1. All members of the industry -- including architects and engineers using the software; contractors interpreting the data being provided through the BIM; and software vendors developing BIM tools -- may submit comments during the comment period upon becoming a member of the Project Committee. Comments will be shared with the Project Committee, and eligible members will begin voting on the ballots Sept. 21.
Smith Provides Additional Details in Interview
In his email interview with CPC/BIM, Smith made the following comments:
CPC/BIM: In your opinion, what is the most significant way in which Version 2 of NBIMS-US could streamline how the industry uses BIM?
Smith: Clearly the facilities industry has now embraced BIM as how we will do business into the future. However, we have not yet changed our business processes, which is key to obtaining the most benefit from BIM. In order to do that, we need standards to allow us to communicate. While this was not as important with CAD [computer-aided design] since we were primarily only affecting designers and were only automating an existing business process, drafting. BIM is based on collaboration and not re-entering information but using and re-using what the authoritative sources create. Version 2 will be the first real step for us to ultimately achieve open BIM standards.
CPC/BIM: About how many eligible members are expected to vote on the ballots? Are architects and engineers expected to account for most of the voting? About what percentage of the total are expected to be contractors?
Smith: Project Committee [members are] located here:http://www.buildingsmartalliance.org/index.php/nbims/committees/members/. As you can see, there is a good mix in all four phases -- design, procure, assemble, and operate. Certainly there is a larger percentage representing design. The group numbers 192 members, and there are others who are reviewers who are providing comments but will not be able to vote. We have a half dozen countries represented also as NBIMS-US is intended to be the start of an international collaboration. Others will pick up what we do, and we in turn will pick up on how they augment what we have done. As an aside, all members on the Project Committee will vote as a requirement for remaining on the Project Committee. We do this to protect the quorum. Also, the Project Committee is open to all who are interested in participating. We only ask that they become members of NIBS to know who are legitimate commenters. Sadly, in this day and age you get all sorts of things put up there if you do not have some controls. The cost is because we need something to run that effort.
CPC/BIM: What is the timetable for developing this standard after voting begins on Sept. 21? When will voting conclude? When will the standard be finalized?
Smith: The schedule is located here:http://www.buildingsmartalliance.org/index.php/nbims/. The schedule is on the website and in the portal. It is occasionally updated, but we are sticking to delivering the product before the end of the calendar year. We will also likely start the next version before this one is completed because there is so much new content that still needs to be brought into the standard. Folks are also finding out what level of commitment is required to create a standard for the facilities industry. Something that will harmonize with other work and that is acceptable to all phases.
CPC/BIM: About how many professionals are expected to ultimately use Version 2? About how many professionals are using Version 1?
Smith: Version 2 will be a true consensus standard and will have items that can truly be used for standardizing work processes. I would see this as having a very broad base of use from project inception onward. Some have said there are 10 million involved in the industry. I do not know how to estimate how many will use it initially. Certainly it will grow exponentially as more software vendors incorporate aspects into their tools. It was found that with Version 1 we were probably a little bit too far ahead of our time. There was not really anything to ballot. Even something like Uniformat had five different versions. CSI took the time to get that under control with OmniClass so that they in fact now have [a] ballot in place for that. So we ended up putting out a document that would be used to define how ballots would be generated that is now being used for Version 2.
CPC/BIM: What seems to be the most controversial issue that's been raised thus far in this proposed revised standard, and why is it controversial?
Smith: I guess the biggest issue is what rises to the level of being considered as a standard. People talk about how long it takes to develop a standard, and in fact it does take a long time. Even the best idea in the world has some people that hate it. You need to develop the idea and then test it in the industry to ensure it works before you can even consider it to become a candidate to become a standard. When you are trying to implement something that the entire industry buys into, you have got to ensure that everyone that has a stake in the issue can comment, vote, and buy in. This is a huge task, but we feel now we have the business process in place to make it happen. We just need you to participate.
CPC/BIM: Other comments?
Smith: Just a reminder that NIBS is not a government agency. It is a non-profit 501c3 and only receives resources to do this work from memberships, sponsorships, and projects funds. We also look to the practitioner to provide their knowledge in their area of expertise to ensure BIM is implemented in a sustainable way. We would like you to participate.