One of the most repeated mantras among users of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) methodology is that BIM means "Collaboration". Collaboration between participants of the same team but also between members of different teams and managers from other disciplines.
In order to facilitate this collaboration between different professionals, it is necessary to design workflows that allow the transmission of information of all kinds, from communications to models, drawings or documents.
It is also true that each technician masters their own tool, and it is not usually comfortable to have to work with the tools used by other people. In that way, any help, any platform that allows transversality between tools is always welcome.
Interoperability between tools or programs makes transversality possible. Not so long ago, the possibility of sharing something between different programs was doubtful. But thanks to open BIM formats (Industry Foundation Classes IFC and BIM Collaboration Format BCF), interoperability is now a reality.
One of the main uses of BIM, or at least one of the uses that is applied first in all teams that start with the methodology, is the control and improvement of the quality of projects. The objective is to reduce errors in the virtual world before moving on to construction in the real world. The implication of other agents is necessary for this review task because it requires a fast and secure communication flow. In addition, since 3D model reviews can be easily performed by less "expert" participants, more people can be involved in the review process.
Let's see how the workflow works. First we need to install the plugin or the Bimsync extension in Archicad and restart the program. You can locate and activate this extension from the manager in order to display the new Bimsync menu. In here you will find the issue manager range with the CDE Bimsync.
Once this menu is open, you will be able to access your projects in Bimsync by entering your username and password.
The process of modeling, design, creation… will be done in Archicad as usual. What is new is that once the initial basic design phase is complete, it is necessary to share the project for approval or supervision.
Without leaving Archicad, and thanks to the plugin, you can upload your models directly to the platform. The program will recognize all your IFC converters. You will be able to choose the format, MVD and visible elements you want to export. How to create your IFCs? Watch our webinar to learn the best practices here.
Immediately, the rest of the participants with access to Bimsync will be able to visualize, federate models, create section plans, add selective visualizations of elements… and create issue(s).
The issues(s) is/are automatically updated in Archicad. So, the modeler will be able to access this issue, to read the content and display the model from the same point of view and with the same cutting planes applied.
You can now decide what action to take, whether or not to correct what has been requested, or to propose a new solution. However, you will be able to work in your own program, without knowing what is going on in the background. The IFC and BCF formats are used to transfer information, without having any special knowledge in the field. Learn more about BCF workflows here.
Once the changes are made, you can upload the new model to the Common Data Environment Bimsync. From this perspective, you will be able to respond directly by adding a comment if necessary.
All project members will be able to check the changes and close the issue or, alternatively, continue adding requests and comments. All this in a transparent way and in real time.
The following flowchart highlights the entire process as described above.
Through interoperability and open formats (IFC and BCF), it is possible to improve model quality and reduce errors during construction, and Bimsync helps all of this without complicating the usual work processes.
How to boost design collaboration in Archicad with Bimsync? Watch the full webinar here.
José Emilio Nogués Mediavilla. Technical consultant at Catenda. BIM Consultant, ISO 19650 norm specialized.