The BIM Toolkit one year on – Enhanced and improved

Over a year since the launch of the BIM Toolkit the NBS has continued to improve this tool based on user feedback, says Dr Stephen Hamil, director of design and innovation at NBS.

The BIM Toolkit gives consultants the ability to support their clients when defining Employer’s Information Requirements. As the project progresses the project lead can then develop this information through the timeline, which helps define who is delivering what and when and provides clarity through project team collaboration.

Over the past year at NBS we have been listening to user feedback on what they liked about the BIM Toolkit and also on where we could improve it. These are the improvements we have made:

Quickly filter deliverables based on search criteria

On the Digital Plan of Work, users told us that working with large lists of information requirements was a challenge. In response we implemented a quick search function that allows users to enter a few characters of text so that this list of items reduces based on the chosen criteria. So if the user types “project lead” they see only the items that the project lead is responsible for. If they type “floor” then the list reduces to only show relevant items.

Add other users to participate in the project

Users also told us that they wanted to grant access to the online Digital Plan of Work to other members of the project team. This feature provides the project administrator with the ability to add other users as participants. These participants may view the digital plan of work and add comments to the tasks and the deliverables.

12,000 classifications across 11 Uniclass 2015 tables

Industry has been collaborating on the development of the Uniclass 2015 classification tables. All 11 of these tables are now available and eight have been formally published. There are now around 12,000 classifications in total and these cover everything from project roles (for example PM_10_20_35 Client advisor or PM_10_55_41 Interior Designer) to spaces and location (for example SL_80_05_06 Aircraft standing areas or SL_80_35_16 Central reservations).

Thanks must go to those at organisations such as Environment Agency, Highways England, Transport for London, BAE systems and many others who have commented and added content to the tables over the consultation periods. Uniclass 2015 is a free-to-use classification system that may be accessed from the web, through downloadable spreadsheets or through a software API.

Select specific systems based on the client’s requirements

The most recent update to the BIM Toolkit allows more generic deliverables to be added to a Plan of Work at the start of the project – these can then be expanded upon as the project develops. This has been the most requested enhancement from users working with the BIM Toolkit on live projects.

For example, at the start of a project the client may have the wish to know the performance of the heating system by the end of RIBA stage 3 and this is the responsibility of the building services engineer. At the start of the project, they do not yet know what heating system will be designed and the organisation undertaking the role of building service engineer may not yet have been decided.

A few months later, however, there will be an organisation undertaking this role, they can then use the new “picker” functionality in the Toolkit to select the specific system (for example underfloor or solar heating system) that will go into the built asset. This decision can be made referring back to the client’s brief and any lessons learned from previous projects.

Based on these recent improvements, one final enhancement has been additional templates and a secondary school case study that users can access from the project wizard. This secondary school case study was developed working with Manchester City Council. It contains selected tasks relevant to school projects and also a populated stage 3 deliverables list for a typical secondary school.

More case studies will be added in the coming months and discussions are underway with a number of the “BIM4” groups representing the various sectors with a view to progressing this.

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  1. Is there a way to link an IFC model to Digital Plan of Work?

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