Inventing the Future

by John Stebbins, Assoc. AIA

There is an emerging need for a professional service that can certify that the BIM model being handed over to the owner is indeed correct. A certification would show that there is proper consolidation of all BIMs (yes, currently there are many, not one) with all of the INFORMATION that the owner wants either already embedded or capable of being embedded. If owners really want a BIM deliverable at the end of the construction process as part of the hand over of the building, someone needs to create what I would call a “Federated Master Model.”

What is often handed over to the owner upon completion of a building is a DVD from the contractor with a coordinated model left over from the MEP Coordination process in Navisworks NWF or NWD format with a Freedom Viewer. With all the talk about BIM for operations and facilities management, a reliable, open (IFC) and integrated BIM model will be necessary. The big question is…who will provide this service…the architect, the contractor, a third party, the owner or owner’s agent, or the IPD Team before it devolves after completing the project?

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay


Categories: BIM, Collaboration, Integration | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. Promising the owner a 100% virtual as-built by giving them the BIM model at the end of the project is a big commitment. Possible? Yes. Worth the time and effort it would take to create and validate a 100% as-built model that has the ability to be a work in progress for future years? Probably not until we can fine tune the model quality, model quantity, construction methods used on the project, and as mentioned, figure out who will take ownership in the continued model information maintenance. Reliable model? Prefabrication will be one of the best keys of ensuring that the actual field construction matches the model. Custom field installation and “field fabrication” open the window for human error and craft production installation and require field installation validation by other methods like laser scanning compared against the model. One thing to consider are items not typically included in a BIM model but might be expected to be in a BIM as-built (i.e. electrical conduit). The model would have to be open and future integration a requirement; however, this would require a long time commitment by someone and would also have to take into account the possibility of software and hardware changes in the future that make the original model obsolete. I am going to say that it can’t be done because the best inventions we have today are products of doubt….and I can’t wait to see this concept happen!

  2. The first problem with the first comment is the use of “as-built” as a term to describe the record documents at the end of a project. No one can wit 100% certainty and 100% accuracy hand over a final set to the owner and have it be a truly “as-built” set for the exact reasons tha tyou mention above… I prefer to use the term “record documents”.

    Open file format or not, I think it can happen. Owners are beginning to work in BIM and are requiring their consultants to comply. In most cases a specific file format is requested as a deliverable.

    Also, this is a possible additional revenue generator for the prime consultant, typically the architect, similar to record documents. Some owners want record documents and some don’t.

    Those are my 2 cents.

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