24.08.2021 | By Jenni Pelto-Lampola
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Top5 things to consider when acquiring BIM object modelling

BIM object modelling is a must for MEP manufacturers to acquire. The BIM is the clearest embodiment of digitalization in the construction business and number one solution for improving productivity within the industry. All MEP manufacturers must be on board of the BIM ship, but not just any ship. Here’s what you should take into consideration when acquiring BIM object modelling.

Light weight BIM object is a basic requirement

Light weight is a basic requirement for BIM object, but some BIM object producers simply fail to deliver it. Have you ever struggled to open a browser with a poor internet connection? Or a huge Excel file with limited RAM? This is what designers will face in complicated projects when single BIM objects are too heavy and loading a project can take ages. Even downloading new BIM object models to a software might take a long time if the object sizes and downloading times are not validated by default by the BIM object provider.

Designers are sometimes enquiring information about a ratio of typical model size vs. modelled volume (MB/m3) or typical calculation time vs. model size (mins/MB). Naturally, the figures of different projects are not directly comparable, but these questions have risen when the designers are trying to compare different software and their performance. If you ask ten different construction companies  how long they need to build a building per m3, you get ten different answers, but you cannot base your contractor decision solely on these figures. In BIM object modelling, light weight BIM object is a basic requirement for the BIM object provider. You need to make sure you are getting small size BIM objects with a consistent validation process.

Intelligent BIM object is more than just a 3D model

Intelligent BIM objects include a lot of data and measurements that ensure functionality of calculations. However, there is a common misunderstanding within the construction industry that the more information there is in the BIM object, the better.

The real intelligence in BIM objects lies in using the data and technical data analyzation. As software developers, we know what end-users need and why you shouldn’t fill your BIM objects with too much information and metadata, which actually makes designer’s job more difficult. There is no global standard for the data yet, and when objects have different kind of parameters, they can never be utilized by for example artificial intelligence. In fact, many objects have to be purged before the use.

The best way to make BIM objects intelligent is to make sure they include relevant data, but keep them simple. Don’t be fooled by the amount of data. Simple, consistent and well-organized metadata structure will bring the most value to the end-user.

The intelligence in BIM objects

Different Levels of Detail (LOD) for different design phases

Level of Detail (LOD) describes geometry detail level of components in the BIM model for different phases of a project. Again, there is no global standard in place for the LOD, but having objects with different LODs is important already today as they have a special place in the designing process.

We are providing three different parametrized LOD levels, that have been developed from generic shapes of 3D objects and parameter driven primitives. LOD 200 is for concept design phase to optimize performance of complex designs and serve as a placeholder for the object. When detailed geometry is needed for design coordination and decision-making, the object can be used as LOD 300. They are recognizable in the design. LOD 350 shows highly detailed and accurate geometry with full product information. That can be used, for example, by architects when designing luminaires.

The LOD could potentially increase BIM objects’ size and installation time, but a high-quality BIM object provider can ensure that this is not the case.

Can anyone provide BIM objects?

During design process designers will obtain information from multiple different sources. The information is often unstructured and available in different formats. This is a true pain point for the designers. The buildings’ digital twin may end up with a mixture of generic and specific manufacturer objects with confused data structures. It becomes a massive problem when trying to build reliable and reusable data rich models. Designers often have to use extra time for cleaning up project files.

Try to put yourself on the designer’s shoes. Would you rather obtain structured and manufacturer verified BIM objects from your favorite manufacturers, or utilize information they each provide independently, in different formats and structures? For manufacturers, creating own Revit families is not reasonable simply due to lack of standardization within the industry. Making good MEP BIM objects in today’s environment requires software industry knowledge and experience, and that is not typically at the core of MEP manufacturers’ capabilities and business focus. Maintaining and updating own libraries also include costs that are not visible. Designing programs are updated on a yearly basis, and only the largest software developers within the industry have the best knowledge for up-to-date BIM object modelling rules and parameters. The BIM objects have to work as functional objects in different software and platforms, and in the yearly updated versions.

When BIM object modelling is not enough

Some products might always come in custom sizes, or selecting the correct product might require a certain set of parameters. In those cases, providing only a pre-determined selection of BIM objects is not the easiest way of making products available for the end users. Manufacturer applications such as selection tools and plugins can be used to make the product selection easy and help designers to do their job faster. They are perfect for custom made products, or for selecting correct products without lengthy trial and error procedures.

Selection and configurator tools are tailored to the manufacturer’s specific product logic and rules. They help the user to select and configure the right product for that specific project. Plugins are add-ins which integrate existing selection and configurator tools into design software such as Revit. This integration improves the design experience as it automates time-consuming tasks and extends the capabilities of the BIM designer. Most BIM object providers are not able to provide also selection and configurator tools and plugins, thus helping MEP manufacturers to take full advantage of the digitalization.

Ask yourself, what are your requirements for the BIM object modelling? Is that your core business, or should you turn to a professional modelling team with long experience and capability to support you in all BIM related questions?

BIM object modelling requirements

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