ConstructionPro Week, Volume: 1 - Issue: 3 - 05/25/2012

BuildingSMART Alliance Executive Director Outlines Timetable for NBIMS-US Version 3

By Steve Rizer


Washington, D.C. -- On the heels of formally unveiling National Building Information Modeling Standard -- United States Version 2 (NBIMS-US V2), buildingSMART alliance (bSa) Executive Director Dana Smith has provided ConstructionPro Week (CPW) details about the organization’s plans for Version 3. During the exclusive interview, conducted here at the AIA (American Institute of Architects) 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition, he also discussed central funding for BIM in the U.S. and adoption of NBIMS abroad. Here is a transcript of the interview as well as other news coming out of the conference:


CPW: NBIMS-US V2 originally was supposed to be released three months ago.


Smith: Yes. We finished voting in October. Then we had to take those ballots and turn them into a product, and with it being largely a volunteer effort, it took a little more time than we anticipated it was going to take. And some of it was formatting. What we’re going to do for Version 3 is the ballots will be more in the format of how we want to deliver the product, so we won’t have as much work from when the voting completes until we can deliver the product. Now we’ve got the website set up, so all of that will be in place.


CPW: So there weren’t any controversies causing the delay?


Smith: Actually, it [the delay] wasn’t [a result of controversy]. Not at all. There were quite a few ballots submitted, I believe 45 or something like that. Eighteen of them ended up being blue-sky ballots; in other words, they weren’t really ready yet to be ballots [that progressed through the] full voting and balloting process. And so those are still kind of waiting in the wings. We’re working with those folks. One example is LOD [levels of development], which AIA and AGC [the Associated General Contractors of America] are working on to get those developed, and hopefully that will be submitted as a ballot next time around. There were other ballots that were withdrawn. AISC [the American Institute of Steel Construction] has had a standard for a long time called ‘CIS/2’ [CIMSteel Integration Standards], and they’re now switching over to using IFCs [Industry Foundation Classes]. So that’s a huge jump for them, but they said that basically they’ve gotten as much out of their standard as they could, and now they see that the future is really in IFCs, so that’s the direction they’re going to go in. So they’ll have something for this next version, Version 3.... They didn’t have a model view definition developed, and so we held it back until the next round. So, there’s more content waiting in the wings. [Regarding] Version 3, ... we’re wrapped up now [on Version 2], so … it will probably be in August when we get started [on Version 3].


CPW: You will begin the deliberation process in August?


Smith: We'll be setting up a new Project Committee and things like that. That’s the key really, the Project Committee. They’re the ones who actually vote, and it’s open to anybody, and we’re going to try to make sure that it’s widely represented [and includes] a wide representation of people throughout the industry. We had quite a few international folks on it last time. [Also,] we’re really focusing on working with the different associations [and getting them to form] a BIM committee and develop the model view and [develop issues] to ballot.


CPW: A committee within each association?


Smith: Yes. Most of them have BIM committees, and we’re just kind of refocusing those and saying, ‘Okay, at least part of your job needs to be able to identify what reference standards you’re using that we should incorporate in here. What information exchanges [do you] have? How are you exchanging information? Either how are you receiving information, or how are you providing information to other folks who might need it?’ And then the other part is the best practices, which really isn’t a true standard.... It’s the thing that’s probably going to be of most interest to the practitioner. But it’s things like the BIM Execution Guide, which was put together by [Pennsylvania State University], and now that’s becoming the BIM execution guide for owners, which is now a four-part document that goes into strategic planning for BIM. [It is] really kind of looking at how do you really change the way you do business because that’s the key on this. What I’d say right now is that we have to get BIM from being an individual sport to being a team sport. There are a lot of people practicing BIM, but they’re doing it in their own organization without really the intent of sharing or receiving information from anybody else. And you’re not really doing BIM until you’re doing that part, quite frankly.


CPW: So, to kick off Version 3, you’re thinking it will be in August?


Smith: August is the date we’re setting right now.


CPW: And what’s the expected timeline?


Smith: It takes about a year to go through the whole process because there’s a period of time for submitting the ballots, and there’s a period of time for public review of all the information and the voting, the whole nine yards. There’s a Rules of Governance that we have on our website. That’s one of the other things that we’ve been doing since the voting ended, is reviewing and updating our Rules of Governance. [We’re] just trying to streamline it a little better [and] make it better for the next round so that they work a little better.


CPW: So official publication is expected in...?


Smith: I would say hopefully a little bit earlier. When we started last time, the last time we started I think it was January, and we ended up extending the ballot [submittal period] because once people started looking at it, they realized what was involved, and so they [asked for] a little more time, so we extended it to make sure that we had good enough content. So we did that. I think this time around, people will have a much better idea of what it’s all about and where it’s going, and they’ve been working on it for a while.


CPW: So you’re thinking August of next year?


Smith: I would say, just to be on the safe side, probably before the end of the year of next year.


CPW: Canada, Korea, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand are expected to use NBIMS-US V2 as the basis for their own standards. What changes do you believe they may make to the U.S. version?


Smith: We know, for example, that Canada is going to translate into French, and they’re also going to add in the metric system, and they’re also going to add in some contract language. They’ll probably have some other content that they may want to add. The U.K. is going full bore on implementing BIM, and primarily COBie [Construction Operations Building Information Exchange] is at the heart of their whole implementation effort. So, COBie is obviously in the international BIM standard. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to get some more of the information exchanges in. There’s the LCI, the Life-Cycle Information Exchange, [which] identifies a whole lot of different information exchanges that occur. There’s equipment Life-Cycle [Information Exchange], LCie, and SPIE, [which stands for] Specifiers’ Properties Information Exchange, and there’s one for HVAC [heating, ventilation and air-conditioning] that they’re working on with ASHRAE [the American Society of Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Engineers]. So, there’s a lot of those kinds of things going on up front, and once they decide what the ballot is going to be, then we put it in and go through the whole consensus process.


CPW: Any predictions for the timelines with the other five countries?


Smith: No. We have agreements for intellectual-property issues, and all of those kinds of things. It’s [a matter of] how fast they can move. In some cases, it may be very quick because in some of these countries, now they’re funded. In fact, [regarding] the Republic of Korea, we went over and had an international council meeting there, and shortly after we left, their government set up a BIM center and funded it. The U.K. is funded for their BIM effort. We don’t have any central funding for BIM in the United States, which is unfortunate. We’re only supported by ... sponsors and the members.


CPW: How much money do you need for BIM in the United States.


Smith: There’s 26 BIM uses that were identified in the BIM Execution Guide put together by Penn State, and so really what we need to do is have information exchanges on all of those, information delivery manuals (IDMs), really, and model view definitions for all of those. And if you base it on, for example, [the efforts of Charles] Eastman[, director of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Digital Building Laboratory, who] has been working on precast concrete, both the IDM and the model view definition, and I think he spent about $250,000 on that effort, but there’s also the effort that AISC’s putting in with steel. Now we’re talking with ACI [the American Concrete Institute] for cast-in-place concrete, and so those would all go together to be really structural…. [O]ne of those BIM uses is for structural engineering, structural analysis. So, kind of given that we might have to have some little coalescences [occur], we said somewhere around $2.5 million, something like that, [would be needed] to at least get that part of it in place.


CPW: Who would you go to for that?


Smith: Well, it’s really going to be largely through sponsors[, whether] government sponsors [or] private-sector sponsors. That’s what’s kind of neat about NIBS [the National Institute of Building Sciences, of which bSa is a part], is we go out to both public and private [entities]. So, in the cases of Australia, Korea, and the U.K., it’s been government. [In the U.S.,] it’s not in [any of the congressional appropriations budgets] now. Language has actually appeared in some of the legislation, but it’s never gotten to the floor of the House or anything like that. There are some inklings of hope out there, but nothing has really materialized yet.


CPW: Other comments?


Smith: I think the big thing is really that we need to keep getting these organizations involved and different organizations involved, and we have it open for individuals, too. We’re open to let everybody add content to the models, to the standard.


At the conference, bSa released NBIMS-US V2, which is believed to be the first ever consensus-based standard governing BIM for use in the U.S. V2 contains reference standards; information exchange standards, which are built upon the reference standards; and best practice guidelines that support users in their implementation of open BIM standards-based deliverables. V2 covers the full life cycle of buildings, from planning, design, and construction to operations and sustainment.


Last year, the NBIMS-US Project Committee approved 18 submissions for inclusion in V2. The nine approved reference standards include the following: IFC 2x3; World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) XML; OmniClass Tables 13, 21, 22, 23, 32, and 36; and International Framework Dictionary Library Update. The four approved information exchange standards include the following: COBie; Information Delivery Manual/Model View Definition (IDM/MVD) Design to Spatial Program Validation; IDM/MVD Design to Building Energy Analysis; and IDM/MVD Design to Quantity Takeoff. The five approved guidelines and applications include: BIM Project Execution Planning Guide – V2.1; BIM Project Execution Plan Content – V2.1; Minimum BIM; Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Coordination Requirements; and Planning, Executing and Managing Information Handovers.


The previous edition, United States National Building Information Modeling Standard Version 1 – Part 1 (V1P1): Overview, Principles, and Methodologies, was released in December 2007 and primarily established the approach for developing open BIM standards. Written by a team of 30 subject matter experts, V1P1 followed an open process but was not a consensus standard.


Exhibitor Briefs


Bluebeam Software Inc. has debuted new technology that is designed to help departments of transportation as well as architecture, engineering, and construction firms digitally manage project drawings and collaborate on the fly. The company has added a ProjectWise plug-in into its flagship product, Bluebeam Revu 10. “Now, Revu users can simply click a button in ProjectWise to instantly create a real-time collaboration session in Bluebeam Studio, enabling project team members worldwide to view and redline PDFs simultaneously to “quickly” resolve jobsite issues. “Unforeseen project issues require immediate attention to move the job forward,” said Don Jacob, Bluebeam Software’s vice president of engineering. “By enabling users to instantly start real-time collaboration sessions, Revu’s new cohesive integration with ProjectWise eliminates meeting coordination time and allows team members to immediately work on finding and implementing solutions.” Released last March, Revu 10 is a project collaboration solution that leverages the PDF file format. The software enables users to create and redline PDFs and 3D views with industry-standard markups including text, shapes, clouds, leaders, CAD symbols, and takeoffs. All comments are tracked in Revu’s integrated Markups list, which can be sorted, filtered, and summarized. While Revu is a desktop application, its Studio technology brings the software’s redlining tools to the cloud. Users can upload an unlimited number of PDFs to Studio and invite project partners to redline them online, either together in real-time or separately on their own time.


Graphisoft North America Inc. announced the integration between e-SPECS and ArchiCAD. Graphisoft and InterSpec Inc. said that they are committed to offering the best software solutions in their respective fields and that linking the technologies will enhance the work of architects and facilitate construction management projects. The e-SPECS Specification Management product suite serves to automate the preparation of construction specifications and selection of products and materials that are incorporated into construction projects. “With e-SPECS for ArchiCAD, users have truly integrated and coordinated construction documents,” Graphisoft stated. Architects, engineers, and construction professionals use InterSpec’s e-SPECS products on thousands of projects annually to maintain synchronization between construction models, drawings, and project specifications. ArchiCAD integration with e-SPECS provides overall cost management during the process of developing project construction documents.


Look for Part Two of CPW's Coverage of the AIA 2012 Conference in Next Week's Edition of ConstructionPro Week




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