Explainers

NBS periodic table offers a new look at BIM

5 May 2016 | By Tom Ravenscroft

Taking its inspiration from the periodic table of elements, the NBS has created an at-a-glance guide to the main elements of BIM. BIM+ talks to Stefan Mordue, a technical author at NBS, about the aims of the guide.

Why did you decide to make the BIM periodic table?

We created the periodic table as a way to visually get people thinking about the key terms and concepts they are likely to encounter when thinking about BIM implementation.

The table looks at implementation not just from a technological point of view, but also takes into consideration people and process. The people element is often overlooked when we talk about implementing BIM and we all need to acknowledge that like within any change process, people adapt to change in different ways.

Each of these elements, or considerations, are grouped together. While some people will be looking at the standards and processes, others within the organisation may be looking at implementation from a more strategic viewpoint, looking at a much larger picture, such as setting the overall organisable BIM strategy and underlying foundations.

Standardisation and interoperability are key to the table and are considered under the collaboration grouping. COBie and other information exchanges are early considerations within the strategy grouping (element 61). We then consider the standards such as facilities management (element 42), which covers documents such as BS 1192:4

What do you hope the periodic table will achieve?

Primarily we hope that it stimulates debate and discussion. Looking at the responses on social media I think it has certainly achieved its goal. Having a simple handy reference guide such as a periodic table, means it is easy to share virtually, while others may decide to print it out and stick it up on the office wall. We are now in the process of developing a more interactive version of the table.

How much interest has there been in it?

The table itself has had close to 6,000 downloads since its release in March which is phenomenal. What is nice is that it is not just people here in the UK that have been discussing and sharing the table. We have had engagement from all corners of the globe.

Do you think the number of acronyms related to BIM makes it hard for people to understand?

There is no denying that there are many acronyms in BIM. The very nature of the periodic table of elements uses one or two letter symbols. Our table breaks this rule when there is already an established three of four-letter acronyms already in the industry – BIM, EIR, or MIDP being prime examples of this.

It would be impossible to put every acronym within the table and indeed that is not its intention. Requirements such as OIR, AIR etc are reference within standards such as element 16, Cd - Capital delivery stage (PAS 1192:2) and element 29, Op - Operational Phase (PAS 1192:3).

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We created the periodic table as a way to visually get people thinking about the key terms and concepts they are likely to encounter when thinking about BIM implementation.– Stefan Mordue, NBS