openBIM and Improving Data Accuracy


From BIM Journal. Click Here to Read Issue 1

Despite the benefits that can be created by adopting openBIM standards the real driver and underlying key of the whole thing is the accuracy of the data itself. BIM is not there solely for design or aesthetic value, but for the creation of meaningful benefits from the collation of intelligent data throughout the entire life of the project. The accuracy of which is fundamental[27].

Indeed, as explained by Colin Johnson, Company Secretary at Cadenas UK, much of this value can be perceived in the later stages of the building lifecycle. Through open and transparent data management via an openBIM approach, not only are individuals working within today’s BIM communicating in a more fluid way, but improved communications support the continued development of accurate intelligent data for use far beyond any given stage.


Q: Please provide a snapshot of the significance of openBIM and what do you feel are some of the shortcomings that open standards and workflows can overcome?

A: I believe that it is important to “follow the money” and that the client/owner needs to financially motivate all various parties involved with incentives geared to ensure that the project data is open, transparent and usable throughout the entire value chain.

This will always tend to involve many different software tools by different software vendors as no one company is capable of being the best in class at everything. Therefore the value of doing this will ultimately benefit the owner of the asset, of which the data should be treated as being as important as the bricks and mortar.

If the building asset is to be sold later on then the price of the asset will be greatly enhanced if the quality and usability of its as-designed, as-built and as- maintained data is all there as well.[28].



Indeed, of all of the stages in a building lifecycle where the value of accurate intelligent data truly comes to the fore it is surely  during the asset management stage[30]. With a compendium of qualified data at the disposal of the future owner or their managing agent, the ability for planned maintenance, facilities management and future improvement is considerably enhanced and then some[31].

However, as argued by Steve Thompson, Senior BIM Consultant at PCSG another area of benefit can be found when examining the often overlooked requirements of the manufacturing cycle as well.


Q: What benefits of open standards and workflows immediately spring to mind?

A: One of the challenges of BIM is to keep the information consistent and up to date, and to keep abreast of the latest regulations and best practice initiatives. With open systems the correct information is shared and if changes are to be made, they are distributed consistently[29].



Though an irrefutably important segment of the construction process, manufacturing is an industry which has already seen significant benefit created through digitalisation[32]. As a result, due to all of the other distractions, one could even go so far as to argue that BIM is the construction industry’s response to intelligent manufacturing techniques. Indeed the focus is now on catching it up, as opposed to creating further benefits strictly within the sector.

Along with the benefits of customisation at the end of the building cycle, with data used to develop new methods of property and asset management, so too can the very same archetype of benefits be created in terms of the manufacturing cycle.

In these stages, where mass customisation offers ample opportunity for creating benefits from start to finish, this provides a great foundation for even more developments over time.


Q: How does an open collaborative approach impact manufacturing concerns?

A: Well we really need to consider the flow of information through the lifecycle of assets, and this is much harder to do using proprietary solutions which typically only relate to either individual disciplines or lifecycle stages.

From the manufacturing side we need to be thinking of the information that can be optimised to enable mass customisation; from designers confident that their designs meet requirements and specifications, to contractors confident their products are available to asset owners who in turn reliably know they have the right information to maintain and replace their items over time.

This underpins our on-going development of a circular economy; where products are re-used, recycled, and remanufactured. We need to look at the full cycle here and not just the construction/ design phase[29].




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