Standardization of BIM Libraries. Test cases and advantages.
What does Standardization in BIM Libraries offer?
The quick answer is the saving of working time and the saving of other people’s economic resources and your own. This idea is the basis for the use of a standard. Any other approach or interpretation would move away from the criterion of working in a common way for all, to become a personal or individual circle of work.
Throughout the article we will analyze several concepts that will help us now why standardization represents an advantage to the professionals involved to BIM project, and to manufacturers of products and materials, that develop their BIM libraries.
Reflection and examples on standardization.
We can say that standardization allows us to establish processes that help us create norms to later be applied in a general or particular context.
Thus, when standardization criteria is established, a repetitive and common use can be made, making possible the best resolution of a problem, real or potential.
Therefore, the purpose of a standard is to establish rules that promote an orderly performance of an activity that involves every stakeholder (Manufacturers and tendering agents) who participate, for example, in a BIM project, obtaining a real benefit for it.
In this sense, if we use a standardized BIM library, we will find a common parameter structure and a common parameter language, thereby facilitating the understanding of the participants at all levels; that is, regardless of whether the intervening agents are known or not, or their geographical location, or their area of work.
Examples of Standardizations
Let’s give clear examples of standardization, or the lack of it, where the actors that apply them are unknown to each other.
Example 1.- Traffic lights (Standardization through Law)
If we look at a motorcycle driver from the United States, a Bus driver from Spain, a Truck driver from China and a car driver from the United Kingdom, and they all drive on the respective streets, routes or highways of their countries, at different times and schedules, we can see that all of them when seeing a traffic light will understand the same thing, that is, the same colored signals regardless of the shape of the traffic light.
That is, we have a standardization that consists of:
This may be a very simple example, but think for a moment how it makes it easier for everyone today to be able to drive a vehicle in third countries with the simple knowledge of these basic rules. Furthermore, think about how many accidents you have avoided, and therefore possible deaths. In this case, standardization saves lives.
It should be noted that this type of Standardization is not optional or discretionary, that is, it is established by law. So it is mandatory.
Example 2.- USB cables and terminals (Standardization through industry)
USB (Universal Serial Bus) terminal / ports and cables were born in 1996 and their purpose was, and is, to replace the other cables and terminals in the Hardware industry.
Today in almost the entire planet if we want to connect to different hardware devices (Tablets, smartphones, computers, cars, home automation, etc.) we can use the USB cable and terminals (USB versions, USB 2.0 and more recent USB 3.0), with permission of wireless connections such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
So USB is a technology that has been developed since the 90s, to combat complicated connectors (PS / 2 ports, FireWire, VGA port, SVGA, DVI, DisplayPort, etc.) reducing the need for users of having to invest in buying other cables and terminals and / or installing additional software to the Hardware.
But the true engine of change towards this technology or standardization has come from the industry itself, that is, from the Hardware Manufacturers, who needed to understand each other better, optimize developments, times and achieve better economic results. In this case, it has been the industry itself that has adopted a system or standardization.
We can add that standardization in this case has allowed more actors, with different profiles and in different latitudes, to share more data and in a faster time. International trade, globalization and the internet have favored the vast majority of industry and consumers to use it in a short time.
In this case, we find a type of non-mandatory Standardization or without the rank of Law, that is, it is a voluntary adoption by the industry.
Example 3.- Plugs for electricity (Standardization and Non-Standardization)
There are 14 different types of electrical plugs in the world, according to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
In Wikipedia, we find the definition of plug that says “A plug is made up of two elements: plug and socket, which are connected to each other to establish a connection that allows the passage of electric current”
Although it is a definition of a simple product in appearance, the truth is that the plugs (both male and female) have been standardized to favor the safety, guarantee and substitution capacity of the mechanisms. But each country has its own standardization rules. At the international level the ISO standards, in Europe the standards of the European Committee for Standardization (EN), in Spain the UNE Standards, and in Argentina the IRAM Standards, group a series of regulations.
However, there are differences of opinion, and even Ireland and the United Kingdom continue to have different types of plugs than the rest of Europe. There are also standardization problems in this regard in France and some Eastern countries. (Source: Wikipedia).
We must understand that this standardization for each country and the lack of global standardization between countries makes sense due to its initial focus and the course of history.
Historically, the plug has its origins at the beginning of the 20th century, but there has not been an international body that helped to unify criteria, but rather, that each country ensured the development of its industry to create electrical machinery for its commercialization at the national level, thus creating its own national standard.
It is at the end of the Second World War, where the world seeks to unify criteria and international organizations emerge that promote consensus between countries. From this moment it is when the countries and manufacturers become aware that plugs have to be standardized to promote international trade. However, the weight of more than 40 years without standardizing contributed to the fact that today there is still no plug system implemented in all countries equally. The reason for this is understandable, at this point it would be very expensive for countries, industry, and users to change all plug systems for a common one.
In this case, we find a standardization imposed by law in one country, but not compatible with other standardization (with equal regulatory weight) for the rest of the countries. Therefore, when we become tourists and travel we have to take into consideration the acquisition of plug adapters and this is not very efficient, generating additional costs and loss of time.
Evolution and leadership of standards.
Important. We must point out without going into a deep analysis, that every standard is subject to improvements or versions, that is, to an evolution according to new developments, discoveries or practices and, on the other hand, we can find clashes of standards (eg VHS Vs Betamax or Blu-ray Vs DVD, etc.) where there is a clear winner, because it is imposed by law or it is the industry who chooses it.
The standardization of BIM Libraries is "Mandatory".
It can be mandatory in two ways:
- The first; because it is determined by a law or regulation that is mandatory (See examples of Cases 1 and 3, above). For everyone it is the same, that is, standardization can be interpreted by the different agents, but it must be fulfilled if or if its content, and
- The second may be mandatory because the parties have contractually agreed to it (See example case 2, above). This means that the parties freely choose which standard they want to work with.
The most likely situation regarding the mandatory use of a Standard for BIM Libraries, let us see it through the Contractual route.
Currently, there is NO Standard or Regulation that “requires” to develop a standardized BIM Library.
However, the international industry of Manufacturers of Construction Products and Materials is still on time to find the best way to understand each other in the standardization of BIM Libraries. Think of how much investment Manufacturers would save, the improvements in data prescription would architects, engineers, construction companies and other agents in the sector have if they all spoke a common language.
Currently, the GDO-BIM Standard is a free and open-use standard worldwide, which is presented as a Guide for the development of BIM Libraries; being the one that best represents this philosophy of collaborative work and is the one most chosen by Manufacturers, Manufacturers Associations and Professional Associations.
Digital prescription through standardized BIM Libraries
One of the ways to materialize the concept of working in BIM is through the use of BIM Libraries. These libraries are authentic tools for the design and prescription of information in a project, therefore the common understanding of BIM Objects must be key.
One of the flaws that exists in the national and international market is the lack of quality and standardization of the BIM Libraries. Manufacturers that develop their own parameters without coordinating with other Manufacturers, BIM objects empty of information, library developments made with hacked or student software (copyright infringement), BIM objects with false or incorrect information, parameters in their own language of understanding, etc. There are many assumptions that put the brakes on a correct and good experience in the use of BIM objects.
Example of a BIM Project Template with Manufacturers
Example of a Tender Template with Standardized BIM Objects
An effective solution to this problem is the standardization of BIM Libraries. Currently the GDO-BIM Standard is the most widely used and accepted international standard by Manufacturers, Associations and Professionals for the development and use of BIM Libraries, guaranteeing from a technical perspective the usability and adaptability of the files in all phases of the project.
Synchronized data structure between Generic and Branded BIM Objects
The key to a standard is to be able to synchronize data in an easy way, and that the information structure matches the terms of the same at the same time.
The purpose of the GDO-BIM Standard is this idea in order to facilitate understanding and workflows among construction agents working on BIM projects. The manufacturer plays a fundamental role in achieving this goal.
In this sense, we will see through the following graphs how we can observe the improvement in the work flow with the use of standardized objects.
Six possible cases for substitution
We carry out the following simulations based on BIM objects (generic and brand) that exist in the market. For data protection, Manufacturer brands are omitted.
These are the scenarios that we can potentially find in the market (national or international); the questions we should ask ourselves should be:
Being a Manufacturer: What is the best scenario for my product?
Being a Professional. What is the optimal work scenario?
One way to ensure that a BIM Library is well done, and presents guarantees, is to back it up with a document that accredits or certifies it. In this way, those responsible for development can be properly detected.
The standardization certification provides guarantees for the development and use. Currently we can find a considerable number of organizations that, having developed their library with the GDO-BIM Standard, have obtained the BIM Quality Certificate. This gives them a positive image and traceability in the quality of development.
An article has recently been published in this regard that I encourage you to read BIM Quality Certificates for Construction Products
Complete structure of standardized parameters.
The GDO-BIM Standard presents a structure of parameters based on IFC in accordance with the recommendations of the buildingSMART International, the ISO 19650 standard on processes and coordination to follow in a project and the specialized work of more than ten years developing BIM libraries by the Bimetica company.
This structure of parameters contemplates not only the contribution of data by the manufacturers, but the possibility of providing useful information by the different agents that have to intervene in the Phases of a project. The structure of the standard facilitates the possibility of providing information depending on the discipline and role of the intervening agent, thus giving the object usability at all times that it is required in the project.
The structure is presented in 11 Property Groups or Psets, in which it is identified by the description according to the required information.
The GDO-BIM Standard has been conceived from its origin to be task-spanning for the entire industry, under criteria of traceability of parameters and data for its application in the various Phases of a project (Design + Execution + Maintenance), so all the professionals involved can make efficient use of the BIM object at work, without affecting its structure to the rest of the participants. In the end, you get a better understanding throughout the industry while saving time and money.
“The success of an industry is based on standardization.”
If you require more information about standardized BIM Libraries and BIM Quality Certification, you can contact email@example.com