Building Information Modeling (BIM) is becoming ‘business as usual’ in design offices and on construction sites. Investors, designers and general contractors have spotted the potential benefits of digitization and are increasingly willing to implement new technologies and processes. Producers of building materials/products also want to move with the times. Unfortunately, too often ‘BIM readiness’ has been oversimplified and understood only as having a library of BIM objects (e.g. Revit families). What’s worse, the quality of files and data available for download on manufacturers’ websites or via BIM portals, is often far from the expectations of end users- customers.
BIM Libraries – what went wrong?
One thing is undeniable- the most popular BIM design and modelling programs (such as Revit or ArchiCAD) are not perfect. Poor analysis/calculation capabilities go hand in hand with an incomplete set of available generic elements. Designers are, therefore, forced to work with many different tools and create their own libraries. Manufacturers’ BIM objects were supposed to partially solve this problem. The intentions of many companies were sincere, and designers were, initially, open to receiving/using files prepared externally. However, it soon turned out that what was supposed to make life/work easier, does more harm than good. Additionally, many BIM libraries have been mass-created for products that either already exist as generic elements (e.g. standard PVC pipes and fittings) or are rarely used at the design stage of a project (e.g. bolts / screws). Market has become littered with hundreds (or even thousands) of models of varying quality serving more of a marketing function for producers than being useful/helpful to engineers. As a result, many BIM users have returned to the belief that ‘if you want to do something right, do it yourself’.
Fight to regain trust
Once lost, customer trust is equally difficult to regain in the real and the virtual world. Imagine a situation where a bad or damaged product arrives at a construction site, or part of the order is missing. Delays create frustration and the manufacturer loses hard-earned reputation. Sharing poor-quality BIM objects carries a similar risk of losing a customer. Therefore, Aliaxis Group takes BIM very seriously and makes every effort to ensure that our offer is complete in every respect. Years of experience, dialogue with BIM users and cooperation with the best experts on the market have resulted in the only standard for BIM objects among manufacturers. We build our Revit family database based on precisely defined geometric, parametric and functional requirements.
What makes Aliaxis BIM libraries better than generic objects or competitors’ content?
Aliaxis Group avoids recreating elements that already exist in ‘out of the box’ versions of software. We focus only on components that are missing in generic databases, but would be needed to design or model a system using products from our unique portfolio (e.g. dBlue or Akasison). We strongly believe in the maximum possible simplification of geometry and attributes, but without losing crucial information and dimensions necessary for generation of bill of materials or design coordination process.
Our libraries are designed to automate many activities and maximize functionality (e.g. inserting an assembly of 2 connected 45-degree elbows in place of a single 90-degree angle fitting). At the same time, we avoid creating ‘super-fittings’ that require additional documentation (user manual) or a series of presentations/webinars to discover their functionality. One of the most important elements of our process is the quality control and data management, so that the available file version always reflects the current portfolio. It is worth noting that the availability of BIM libraries is only one of the components of our BIM offer. We continuously develop innovative tools and improve our skills to support our clients as effectively as possible.