BIM and Interoperability
by Kimon Onuma
So what is the deal with sharing data between the various BIM applications? Why can’t we open a Revit file in ArchiCAD, or Bentley, or SketchUp or Autocad, or Illustrator? Wait a sec – is Illustrator BIM? The reality is that each of these very powerful BIM (and non BIM) applications have unique capabilities that do not always translate easily form one application to the next. Interoperability as defined by buildingSMART is ultimately the solution but… the reality is many of these applications are NOT even compatible with their previous versions of the same tool.
As new features get added to BIM applications they can do amazing things. So it is not surprising that they may not be interoperable with their previous versions. So how will they be compatible with their competitors? It is not an easy task, but open standards is the beginning of making them share data. It may not be perfect, and a moving target, but… get over it. As professionals working with BIM, we have to deal with it and help to make things smoother. Support open standards, understand the capabilities of each software and work around it instead of waiting for things to be perfect.
The way to make it work is to keep it simple and look for common threads. Don’t expect that amazing roof tool in ArchiCAD to be 100% compatible with that amazing roof tool in Revit or Bentley.
The biggest mistake you can make is to “standardize” on one software. In this day and age, it is a dead end. Look for opportunities to make it work and move ahead.