Analysis

GoBIM website sets manufacturers’ product data free

14 September 2016 | By Nick Tune

goBIM, a website aimed at improving how manufacturers share their data, was unveiled earlier this week. Nick Tune, CEO of coBuilder UK, explains what the site aims to achieve.

GoBIM just launched, what does it do?
goBIM is the world’s first tool to allow construction product manufacturers to make product data sheets based on European and national standards as well as openBIM standards, and for them to then share their data in multiple languages and BIM formats, such as IFC, COBie and Revit.

What are the main aims of the site?
The main aim of the site is to set manufacturers’ data free so they can meet their customers’ needs and therefore increase sales. By using goBIM manufacturers can structure their data, edit it, control it and then share it with their customers and most importantly make it interoperable.

goBIM also allows the manufacturers to structure and share their product documents and their BIM geometries (objects). By using goBIM the manufacturers can also monitor who is using their data and what data their customers want. This is vital market intelligence.

Finally this makes contractors’ jobs much easier as they can now collect the data they need in the formats they require and enter it into models and COBie without having to enter the data manually.

Why is it important that manufacturers provide objects in many formats?
Objects are not required in many circumstances. No one needs specific objects for insulation, sheeting, plasterboard and such, ie geometrically simple products, which means in many cases the generic object available in Revit or ArchiCAD will do fine.
It is the data that people need and to be able to attribute it to the models. That is what goBIM allows you to do as well as hosting BIM objects (if required).

How big a problem is lack of interoperability for manufacturers?
The problem is huge as Revit, ArchiCAD, IFC and COBie all name product attributes differently. As well as this many organisations are also trying to make their own attribute names.

It is a ridiculous situation as all manufacturers have to meet standards such as CPR in order to sell their products. So why doesn’t everyone use the names of the attributes the products are tested against? That is what we start with at goBIM and then map the names to Revit, ArchiCAD, IFC, COBie etc so that the data is now interoperable via goBIM.

Is lack of interoperability limiting manufacturers’ uptake of BIM?
For sure. However, the biggest problem is that they are being given poor advice by many well known organisations (mostly BIM object libraries) as to what they must do to be “BIM compliant”. Manufacturers need to structure their data and make it interoperable, and then if a specific geometry (object) is required they should be made without the data being fixed to the object.

If the manufacturer has a geometry and their data available separately the clients/users can select the data they require in the format they require it in, and then attach the data to the object in the model. This is a much smarter way of working as the client gets the correct data.

How does the wider industry make sure that manufacturers do not get left behind?
They need to be clear to the manufacturers what information they need and how they would like to receive it, such as Skanska and the Ministry of Justice have recently done.

By using goBIM manufacturers can structure their data, edit it, control it and then share it with their customers and most importantly make it interoperable.– Nick Tune