Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a new approach to describing and displaying the information required for the design, construction and operation of constructed facilities. It can bring together the numerous threads of different information used in construction into a single operating environment - reducing, and often eliminating, the need for the many types of paper document currently in use.
However to use BIM effectively and for benefit to be unlocked, the quality of communication between different participants in the construction process needs significant improvement. If the information required is available when it is needed and the quality of information is satisfactory, the construction process will itself be significantly improved.
For this to happen, there must be a common understanding of the building processes and of the information that is needed for and results from their execution.
The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) provide a comprehensive reference to the totality of information within the lifecycle of a constructed facility. It has been created as an integrated whole in response to business needs identified by the international building construction community. It does not incorporate, however, a comprehensive reference to the individual processes within building construction.
The case for a comprehensive reference to processes in building construction is clear and compelling. By integrating information with process, the potential value of such a reference is greatly enhanced to become a key tool in driving the benefits of BIM.
The Information Delivery Manual (IDM) aims to provide the integrated reference for process and data required by BIM by identifying the discrete processes undertaken within building construction, the information required for their execution and the results of that activity. It will specify:
- where a process fits and why it is relevant
- who are the actors creating, consuming and benefitting from the information
- what is the information created and consumed
- how the information should be supported by software solutions
Doing this will make IFC more closely reflect real project needs and accelerate the use of BIM in real projects. It will also help to realize integrated project information as the key driver to the process improvement set as a goal for the AEC/FM industry by many industry commentators.
The IDM benefits both BIM users and software solution providers:
- For BIM users, it provides an easy to understand, plain language description of building construction processes, the requirements for information to be provided to enable processes to be carried out successfully and the expected end results of the processes. This will help to:
- make information exchange between project participants more reliable
- improve information quality
- improve decision making
- do a BIM project far more effectively
- For BIM software developers, it identifies and describes the detailed functional breakdown of processes and the IFC capabilities needing to be supported for each functional part in terms. This will help to:
- respond better to user needs
- guarantee quality of information exchange
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