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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

SEPS2BIM can create BIMs from Owner Requirement Data

July 8th, 2015 by Susan Smith

In a recent webinar on the topic, “Space and Equipment Planning System to BIM (SEPS2BIM)” using SketchUp, Kimon Onuma, president of ONUMA, Inc., Dennis Shelden, associate professor of Practice, MIT, Gehry Technologies, Ryan Ghere, content manager of SketchUp and Devon Sparks, professional services consultant, Gehry Technologies talked about automating the creation of BIMs from owner requirement data.

Given that experts decide what is to go in buildings, much data is not digital, according to Onuma. Designers want data that others can use. We are moving away from static documentation.

There are new ways to manage health care data in terms of a way of automating and updating information that can flow to design that helps owners. How does the owner communicate requirements to the design teams, suppliers, software vendors and work with the data?

ONUMA was involved in a project with the Veterans Administration through NIBS. They looked at space planning and equipment systems being used by the Department of Defense and the VA, and asked the question, what happens if you web enable it and make the data inside consistent and accessible?


The designers still have to make decisions. The objects is the SEPS are generic, not product-specific intentionally. SEPS data can be the basis for the design and construction process throughout the lifecycle. Once you get into the operational phase, a lot of material is available online. The challenge was to work with SEPS data as they work with design teams and SketchUp.

In designing a dental examining room, for example, experts were brought in such as clinical staff, architects, designers, planners, medical equipment consultants, and other shareholders that know the design for these rooms. They had to assemble information into documents, then convert documents to data that goes into SEPS2BIM.

Data goes to SEPS2BIM as a database, and data from SEPS can be used to automatically drive to BIM objects and templates. Default standards are publicly available on line on the VA site. Some data should be openly available to the public, not only the SEPS user.

There are millions of data points in web services that you can use to create objects in BIM.  According to Onuma, these are just the beginning requirements for an owner, the designer still has to make a decision as to what goes into the model. Using BIM helps to surface this data. Once you can see the actual data show up in objects and templates, you can find potential issues even in the standards. Issues such as equipment not fitting in a room may show up.

The objects are from a library of objects that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built in Revit that are still available in a catalog placed on the VA site. SketchUp converted all 900 objects in SketchUp. They are generic, low level of detail models with SEPS data associated with them. The same is true of spaces which are also catalogued and on the site.

The SEPS database is essentially a catalog – a list of objects that need to go into a medical center, clinic or room. BIM process automates those standards into BIM and then many different tools can be used.

Onuma said they began by using the Revit templates and objects converted into the ONUMA system of objects and templates on the web. That system catalog automates the cleanup of the data setup of the templates and buildings.

The SEPS2BIM team is in other ongoing discussions with application providers and is open to including them in the process. SEPS data becomes the source of information that can be driven equally into any application (not just BIM). If standards change, data is driven into BIM and other applications.

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, BIM, building information modeling, collaboration, construction, mobile, project management, site planning, SketchUp, sustainable design

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