What the heck? Wham? Bam? BIM? Are you on drugs, Brummie?
Well I think we can identify Wham, and Bam Bam from the Flintstone’s – but BIM?
BIM is something that is going to make a big difference to a lot of people around our planet. It stands for BUILDING INFORMATION MODELLING and is formally defined as….
…the process of generating and managing building data during its lifecycle..
So what? And what does this have to do with cloud? And the planet?
BIM is the intelligence to make construction design integrate with the build fabrication process and then the on-going commissioning of a building or similar. It treats the design as an asset management– Facilities Management (FM) to you and me.
BIM allows the supply chain and the customer to work smarter to reduce cost in the various processes, saving tax public money, accelerate completion of complex projects and ensure that once the construction is complete there are innovative and scalable ways to manage individual assets within the construction to monitor Co2 for example, and other specific measurement KPIs that previously were impossible to even contemplate. This is a big big deal as our lords and masters struggle with Green commitments to sustainable housing and public services, and the ever moving world population and third world development.
BIM meets some critical issues with construction projects that have been in the lowest levels of document management maturity for some time e.g. drawings to file based uncontrolled one dimensional standalone diagrams through to CAD and then 3D CAD and then object modelling and beyond.
Sharing asset information across a wide supply chain securely and with accurate control of version and collaboration
Leveraging innovation in CAD tools and GIS solutions to make BIM scalable and open in access to heterogeneous customers across scale and borders
Conformance to BS, ISO and EU standards
Cross geographic collaboration on projects e.g. EU countries already heavily working on joint BIM projects
Dramatic improvements in avoidance of design errors, what if scenario planning for public authorities, capacity modelling and so on
Visualisation of a construction project in progress to provide a real time understanding of what was happening – like they did with the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing which used an IFC based construction model with a linked 4D management system.
Now the relevance here is the ability ( capability ) of Cloud Computing to be the platform for BIM. Why? because BIM pure and simple produces lots of data for analysis, audit, collaboration and compliance.
BIM is a technology customer as it leverages extensive use of so many components of our world today – storage ( BIM is a Big Data customer and some ), interoperability, web services, devices, remote working, security, federation, performance, project, governance, control processes, business to business processes, heterogeneity – this is just a scratch of a very big surface.
Data needs to be available on line for a significant period of time. Legislation now demands that FM on a public building lasts upwards of 25 years and beyond. It may be a hospital or road network. A military base or power facility.
By nature of the 3D / 4D modelling world and the subsequent large file sizes – 250Mb and above – BIM’s side product is Big Data. This will only increase as more and more large scale building projects seek to save money and provide better service through web based services. Locking all this data into a traditional datacenter cannot possibly scale, and this is where cloud ( and many use Cloud already as a underlying platform ) is the only long term sustainable fit. So my original statement on the meaning of BIM may need to be;
the process of generating and managing building data during its lifecycle..in the cloud.
BIM is a work in progress answer to a big problem facing our governments and public authorities as they struggle with renewing our landscapes of roads, railways, networks, public buildings and private facilities. It is an overwhelming cost impact not only in energy ( and therefore a big slice of the planet’s energy bill ) but also in planning and distribution of coping with more people, more services, more travel – more of everything. But what I like about BIM is that Cloud is also a work in progress answer to big problems facing IT professionals and I think the two are coming together in one very neat way.
BTW – I loved Wham! in my early twenties and I loved Bam Bam as a child, and I’m already falling in love with the concepts and potential of BIM.