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Union Square: A simple solution to BIM integration


For the uninitiated, could you provide our readers with an introduction to Union Square and the services available?

Union Square are a construction specific software provider delivering a browser and mobile based solution that helps organisations manage business and project information better. It connects directors, project teams and business support people to the information they need to do their job when and where needed. The system helps to create, manage and control all of the structured data (clients, enquiries and project details) and unstructured content (emails, drawings and documents) across departments, and through the processes of winning and delivering project work. Since 2000, we have supported architects, engineers, consultants, contractors and trade contractors to manage their transition from paper to digital, and enhance their day-to-day project working processes.

With Building Information Modelling (BIM) high on the industry’s agenda, how is Union Square able to support businesses looking to integrate data between BIM models and other operational systems?

Union Square offers a range of productivity tools, which allow the integration of data between BIM models and other operational systems. This includes Revit but also increasingly features the utilisation of IFC to share and repurpose data. At a practical level, Union Square support our clients by:

  1. Providing a framework to control information approval and flows through Governance gateways.
  2. Delivering a Common Data Environment (CDE) to manage the secure and controlled exchange of model and design data.
  3. Supporting design team productivity by integrating Revit with design management workflows for approval and issue.
  4. Ticking the box on compliance by tracking all project communications in a robust, secure and auditable way.

In 2015, Union Square joined the Open BIM Alliance. Could you explain the rationale behind this? How is the Alliance benefitting Union Square’s clients?

Union Square are proud to be part of a collective and a contributing voice driving Open Standard BIM exchange. Since 2000, we have helped to support change in traditional working methods as technologies like email, mobile and more recently file sharing software have changed the means for working. BIM is another game changer for the industry, representing a maturing of project procurement and delivery processes. History tells us that complimentary and competing industry bodies and software vendors will define their own agendas if left unattended. Being an active part of the OBA is a clear indication that Union Square actively promotes the adoption of open standards and is proud to support any initiative that will increase awareness of the need to adopt BIM strategies, drive efficiency and remove waste from within the construction industry.

From Union Square’s perspective, how are companies coping with the transition to BIM Level 2? Are businesses receiving enough support?

The reality of BIM adoption and Level 2 compliance ‘on the ground’ is somewhat different from industry media coverage and government messaging. In summary, it’s a real mixed bag. Tier 1 contractors and consultants are most invested in BIM L2 adoption, and they are starting to educate and support their supply chain get up to speed. Interestingly, some of the best innovation in our client base is being driven in the supply chain through trade contractors (like Caunton and Lakesmere). They have been using modelling technologies and robust data management policies with the structural designers for a decade or more. Within the regional SME market, there are clusters of organisations, and small pockets of BIM brilliance to be found, that are delivering exemplar projects and positive project outcomes. Depressingly though there are still too many businesses with their heads down, underinvested in training and technology that haven’t caught up or don’t want to get aboard the train!

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