Autodesk and Trimble Sign Agreement to Increase Interoperability
AEC Customers will Gain Greater Flexibility Throughout the BIM Project Lifecycle
Autodesk and Trimble have entered into an interoperability agreement aimed at saving customers time and reducing project costs typically associated with workflow inefficiency across different suppliers’ technologies. This will benefit architects, engineers and contractors, and importantly, project owners by enabling more freedom to optimise technology workflows needed to meet the complex requirements of today’s construction projects.
Autodesk and Trimble have a shared goal of meeting the evolving needs of the building and infrastructure industries. Reliable, fluent exchange of information among multiple stakeholders and platforms is essential to this end. The Trimble and Autodesk collaboration demonstrates their ongoing commitment to support open industry standards such as Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie), and can enable current and prospective Autodesk and Trimble customers working on the same projects to work together seamlessly through optimised file compatibility across applications.
Under the terms of agreement, Autodesk and Trimble will take steps to accelerate interoperability by exchanging Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and developer tools to build and market interoperable products. This allows the two companies to improve upon existing data exchanges, as well as open up new workflows between their products. Tighter product-to-product integration can enable design and construction professionals to share models, project files and other data between select Autodesk and Trimble solutions both in the office and the field, and allow for the reuse of information during design and construction throughout all phases of the project.
“The strength of a company is best measured by its willingness to do what is right for its customers and the industry at large. This interoperability agreement, like others we’ve signed, speaks to Autodesk’s commitment to openness,” said Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Autodesk. “This collaboration with Trimble speaks to our shared dedication to making the building process more efficient and productive for all involved.”
“This collaboration demonstrates our mutual commitment to provide design and construction professionals with a seamless experience from both Autodesk and Trimble design-build-operate solutions,” said Bryn Fosburgh, vice president at Trimble. “As a result all stakeholders across the construction lifecycle can optimise their workflow efficiency.”
OpenBIM by buildingSMART
Open BIM is a universal approach to the collaborative design, realization and operation of buildings based on open standards and workflows. Open BIM is an initiative of buildingSMART and several leading software vendors using the open buildingSMART Data Model.
Open BIM Programme is a marketing campaign initiated by GRAPHISOFT®, Tekla® and other members of buildingSMART® to urge and facilitate globally coordinated promotion of the Open BIM concept throughout the AEC industry, with aligned communication and common branding available to programme participants.
Open BIM Certification is a technical certification system being developed by buildingSMART® to help AEC software vendors improve, test and certify their data connections to work seamlessly with other Open BIM solutions.
Why is it important?
- Open BIM supports a transparent, open workflow, allowing project members to participate regardless of the software tools they use.
- Open BIM creates a common language for widely referenced processes, allowing industry and government to procure projects with transparent commercial engagement, comparable service evaluation and assured data quality.
- Open BIM provides enduring project data for use throughout the asset life–cycle, avoiding multiple input of the same data and consequential errors.
- Small and large (platform) software vendors can participate and compete on system independent, ‘best of breed’ solutions.
- Open BIM energizes the online product supply side with more exact user demand searches and delivers the product data directly into the BIM
More info can be found on the buildingSMART website here.
The next generation of BIM
One of the biggest challenges with embracing BIM (building information modeling) throughout concept through completion on a construction project is often the lack of interoperability among the various software platforms used by the different companies. But this challenge is beginning to be addressed by new initiatives and technology developments aimed at helping improve BIM in the construction industry.
This week, at Ecobuild in London, NBS, www.thenbs.com, London, England, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Institute of British Architects, is unveiling a new National BIM Library, which is a platform-neutral database with generic BIM objects. The library is accessible online and free of charge for architects, contractors, interior designs, and other construction professionals in the U.K.
The models will initially be available in IFC, but will be delivered in a number of proprietary formats in the future. The library will offer manufacturers the opportunity to have objects authored to the new standard and hosted in the National BIM Library. According to NBS, in the U.K., 75% of construction professionals currently aware of BIM predict they will be using BIM on some projects by the end of this year, and 95% expect to be using BIM within five years.
This announcement follows last week’s news about the official launch of buildingSMART’s, www.buildingsmart.com, Washington, D.C., Open BIM initiative for the AEC industry. Open BIM is a universal approach to collaborative design based on open standards and workflows, and many software providers are already using the open buildingSMART data model. With an Open BIM Certification from buildingSMART, AEC software vendors can test and certify their data connections to work with other Open BIM solutions.
For the construction industry, initiatives such as this will improve workflow from one discipline to the next, which means team members can continue working in their native solution without risking incompatibility with other pieces of software.
Industry Foundation Classes
So, I’m sure most of us know by now what IFC are, if not, this post may be for you! I just wanted to make a small post to anyone who was still in the dark. IFC or Industry Foundation Classes are a data modeling standard which are complete and fully stable, open and international standards for exchanging BIM data. buildingSMART developed the idea and the certification process.
In basic terms, this means that IFC can be used to exchange and share BIM data between applications developed by different software vendors without the software having to support numerous native formats. As an example, your .IFC model which you created in Revit, can be opened and edited in ArchiCAD by your Architect and the same applies for your structural engineer using Tekla. This interoperability further promotes and makes the process of collaboration easier between different parties on a building project.
“We say that our organisation – buildingSMART – is ‘the home of open BIM’. Every implementation of an IFC exchange should follow what is known as an ‘exchange requirement’. This requirement specifies the information that needs to be present in an exchange or sharing of data at a certain stage in a project. It is important to be specific about the information needed. The exchange requirement prevents woolliness and uncertainty.
How can designers and other software users be sure that the software in use is compliant with the open IFC standard and truly interoperable? At buildingSMART we run a certification scheme that tests software products to check that they meet the IFC standard and clarifies the scope of their interoperability. The scheme was revamped in 2010 to make it more stringent and indicates precisely what parts of the product work interoperably.”
This IFC certification 2.0 process – more information about this can be found here.
Importance to user, supported software and other specific enquiries can be found here.
There are also case studies which have been released by buildingSMART using their technology. These can be found here.
As I have posted about on a previous blog, The NBS are creating a ‘national BIM library’. This is a library which can be used by everyone in the construction industry, with pre-made families and objects. All of these objects will be available in the IFC format. The NBS plan to have their library as “the primary source of standard and proprietary BIM objects.” With the upcoming release of the library at Ecobuild this month, I can imagine the use of IFC files and ceritifcation process becoming a standard practice in all AEC firms.
Please visit the buildingSMART website here for more information about Industry Foundation Classes