Norwegian data services company targets UK industry

The UK division of Norwegian BIM data services company CoBuilder, headed by BuildingSmart UK director Nick Tune, is calling on UK contractors to participate in trials of its products.

For the past 15 years, CoBuilder has been operating in the Norwegian and Swedish construction sectors, but is now targetting the UK industry as its first foray into the rest of the world.

Its main product for contractors is called ProductXchange, a system that allows subcontractors to easily upload data on the products they have installed in the building to create an “as-built” BIM model.

This is complemented by the GoBIM system, mainly used by manufacturers, which allows them to turn libraries of product information – which are often held in static pdfs – into structured data that can be exported directly into BIM software.

Tune, formerly a director for digital products at BRE, told Construction Manager that GoBIM is currently available to UK manufacturers, while ProductXchange will be offered as a commercial service from 1 September.

Tune said:”We’re looking to do trials with manufacturer to write product data templates and contractors to select projects – I’ve met most of the majors and had a very good response, virtually all of them have said they’ll trial it.”

Giving an example of how ProductXchange works, Tune said that a contractor that has to compile an as-built model and an O&M manual might find that a sub-contractor has swapped the architect-specified Nordan doors for a cheaper alternative.

The contractor then has to source the product data template, environmental performance certificate, warranties and other documents relating to the imstalled product, then scan them in to create an O&M manual for handover to the client.

“In ProductXchange, the contractor sets up a project, and invites the sub-contractors to add data to the project. The sub-contractor can search for data [via GoBIM] and then attach it to the model, GoBIM data sets can be imported into the model. You have a record of everything you’ve bought – the contractor can hand-over an as-built model with attributed data.”

Another advantage, he said, is that contractors can then query the data they’ve gathered, for instance to check for the presence of certain chemicals, or products U-values.

In Norway, contractor Skanska routinely uses ProductXchange in this way, he said. The Norwegian GoBIM service is said to include data on over 2.5 million construction products.

Tune said that the service does not replace manufacturers’ 3D "BIM Objects" held in libraries, but provides a complementary service.

“People [manufacturers] will still want their geometrical objects for selling purposes and to go  in to the model, but typically a manufacturer will only produce a BIM object for one door, when there might be dozens of specification variations, and then you need to attribute the specific date.

“GoBIM easily allows all the EU declarations of performance and safety data sheets into structured data, in a master product data sheet, which can be exported into any BIM tool.”

We’re looking to do trials with manufacturer to write product data templates and contractors to select projects.– Nick Tune

Story for BIM+? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News