First published 7th May 2015, last updated 10th October 2016
Through BIM information can be provided to a standard data structure. This increasingly allows project teams to digitally verify that the information that is being requested has been delivered. In this article, NBS Labs Manager Alan Smith, looks at what is possible now in terms of BIM and verification.
Since releasing the BIM Toolkit verification functionality in April 2015 as a private beta, we have worked with beta testers to further refine the tools to make them suitable for the industry as a means of verifying BS 1192-4:2014 (COBie).
The BIM Toolkit may be used to capture information requirements for the various project deliverables.
For an example project, at stage 1, there may be requirements to deliver specific documentation. At stage 6, there may be a requirement to provide information about products for to assist operation and maintenance.
Stage 1 – required documentation
Stage 6 – required product information
These information requirements for a specific stage of the project can then be exported as COBie or IFC. The BIM Toolkit is able to exported COBIE in its spreadsheet format, or in more ’machine friendly‘ electronic formats such as JSON or XML.
Export stage 6 to COBie
Project deliverables are exported to their appropriate COBie spreadsheet tabs. Space requirements are exported to the Zone tab; other project requirements are exported to the Type, Component and Attribute tabs. Project tasks are exported to the Document tab.
Document requirements exported by the BIM Toolkit - ready for the supplier to fill in
Product deliverables exported by the BIM Toolkit – ready for the supplier to fill in
In the following simple example, the submission data has been completed in the Microsoft Excel format. How this data is completed is a decision for the supplier. The various BIM software tools have greatly improved their COBie exports in recent years.
The following show details of the relevant worksheets in the COBie file. The location of the documentation required has been provided - in this example a location on Dropbox has been provided.
The supplier provides the location of required documentation
In the second example, details of deliverables, including details such as the manufacturer, model number, replacement cost, dimensions, warranty information are provided.
The supplier provides product details
Information that is instance specific is also provided in the Component worksheet (for example the installation date and the bar code of the individual item).
The final step is to verify the data in the submission and generate an acceptance report.
Within the verify area of the BIM Toolkit, the user may upload the Requirements file (COBie form BIM Toolkit) and the Submissions file and upload them to the cloud for verification.
Provide Requirement and Submission files
The verification tool automatically checks the data and generates a simple red-green report. The first sheet of the report shows a high-level summary of passes (green) and failures (red). Further information can be found in the examples below.
Verification summary sheet
Documents pass validation if a directory and filename have been provided. So in the example below, the handover strategy document has been uploaded to project’s shared Dropbox folder and path is detailed in the submission file, as a result this document passes verification.
Each deliverable has a dedicated tab showing all instances found in the submission data. If any required data is missing, it is highlighted in red. To determine whether a Red or a Green is reported, the verification functionality checks for information in the Attributes tab first, then the Type tab, then finally the Component tab.
The software development for the verification work as detailed in this article was delivered by BIM Academy using their xBIM software development kit. Thanks must go to Professor Steve Lockley and his team for their contributions. For those interested in helping us improve and refine this verification functionality should join our beta testing programme.
Further information and sample spreadsheets that can be used with the verification functionality can be found on GitHub.