Mace is prototyping a user-friendly “SlimBIM2go” platform for clients that want BIM models and FM solutions – without the need to get to grips with data-heavy as-built models and COBie.
The tablet-based project, which was a finalist in the BIM Initiative of the Year at this year’s Building Awards, is a collaboration with visualisation and app specialist Virtual Viewing.
The SlimBIM2go approach takes the as-built model from the construction team, then “slims” down the data to produce a tablet app that allows non-specialist users to navigate the building digitally.
Users can then tap on areas they want to find out more about, which reveals the different layers of the finished building, with hyperlinks to the various product manufacturers.
Virtual Viewing’s managing director Stewart Bailey calls the system “a lightweight BIM for a mobile world – all the details are stripped out so it can run on an iPad”.
Mace and Virtual Viewing first developed the SlimBIM at Land Securities’ mixed use Nova development in London’s Victoria, where its visualisations were used as a marketing tool. It will also be offered to buyers of new apartments.
The platform was developed at Land Securities’ Nova development
Bailey says: “We’re using BIM to make a smart app for the home-owner – you pull up the app, then click on ‘how to bleed the radiator’ or ‘fix the extractor hood’. These days, you get an app with a bike, so why not for an apartment? You can then pass the app on to the next owner, it will be like a service history.”
But for the next iteration, an office scheme at One Angel Court in the City of London, client Mitusi and developemnt manager Stanhope have agreed to purchase the SlimBIM2go version of the BIM model to meet their FM and maintenance needs after handover.
John Lever, Mace operations director, said the company had decided to help develop the technology as it was finding that many clients just weren’t interested in BIM, and didn’t know what to do with unwieldy as-built models.
“We struggle to get feedback from the clients, who don’t yet know what they want on BIM. So we pass the model to the client who passes it on to the FM team – and often it’s not really used.
“At Nova, we saw the possibilities of a lightweight model, that doesn’t have all the data. So it isn’t clunky or difficult, it can run on a laptop or a portable device, and the FM team can use it. We’re taking all the weight out of the BIM model and transporting it into what I call a ‘cartoon’ version, which will then have hyperlinks to all the associated data.”
SlimBIM will also be offered to homeowners
This approach steps away from COBie and the PAS 1192 protocol, explains Lever. “COBIe information would normally be tied to the model elements, but this moves away from that approach with hyperlinks [to the manufacturers website].”
At One Angel Court, Mitsui and Stanhope are helping to define what functionality they will need from SlimBIM2go. Virtual Viewing will then create the “cartoon” from the coordinated construction model.
The firm’s appointment covers reviewing the various “native” design models to make sure they all align, have the same origins and naming conventions, then federating them in Navisworks.
However, Virtual Viewing is not responsible for resolving coordination issues: Lever says each trade contractor is responsible for eliminating clashes once they’re flagged up. Finally, Virtual Viewing then transposes the federated model into its own system.
The project has just started on site, and Lever explains that Mace will hand over the as-built construction model in stages, likely to be floor by floor. “We have a BIM Execution Plan that sets out how the models get updated. As we sign the building off, we’ll pass on the as-built designs to Virtual Viewing. We don’t want there to be a massive scramble at the end.”
Bailey concludes: “The clients are thinking that buildings without this technology will be worth less in the future….we see a huge potential for this.”
At Nova, we saw the possibilities of a lightweight model, that doesn’t have all the data. So it isn’t clunky or difficult, it can run on a laptop or a portable device, and the FM team can use it. We’re taking all the weight out of the BIM model and transporting it into what I call a ‘cartoon’ version.– John Lever, operations director, Mace