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Software extracts dispute-related data from BIM models

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Innovative software scripts that analyse and extract dispute-related data from BIM models have been developed by a team of experts at HKA.

The practice of interrogating project BIM models to help resolve disputes is in its infancy and HKA – the former Claims Consulting Group of Hill International – is one of a handful of firms leading the field.

The scripts, a form of plug-in for BIM software, search models forensically for properties, such as when and where 3D objects have moved in position, when materials or attributes have changed, and what software was responsible for making those changes.

This information is extracted into databases to be interrogated by data analysts who run quick comparisons to determine the precise sequence of events related to a dispute.

David-John Gibbs, head of BIM advisory and dispute resolution at HKA, told BIM+: “BIM captures a lot of information, but getting to it all is not as simple as clicking a button. There are databases that sit behind the software, so we run scripts to get the information out and

into a format we can work quickly with and that dispute boards are familiar with. This allows us to see patterns and trends, sort and filter data to use in our analysis.”

The process has been proven and is currently being put into practice on a complex facade project in Asia, where a dispute emerged over design delays, but designers had failed to keep track of their changes in BIM.

The scripts are being used to drill into the detail of every design change to understand the consequences of each revision, much faster than a manual analysis of the model.

Gibbs commented: “The scripts save us lots of time, some models have hundreds of thousands of objects, for example, you wouldn’t want to have to click on every unique section of steel to see its history of revisions. Someone may have gone in and changed a certain unique connection on a beam, which might visually look the same but may have resulted in a week of meetings with a big effect on that project that might not be immediately be apparent to an outsider just looking at the graphical model.”

HKA’s advisory team is also utilising the scripts to help clients assure data in BIM models and check that relevant information has been populated, and is currently developing a methodology to use it to verify and validate the quality of data.

Image: Michal Bednarek/Dreamstime.com

The scripts save us lots of time, some models have hundreds of thousands of objects, for example, you wouldn’t want to have to click on every unique section of steel to see its history of revisions. – David-John Gibbs, HKA