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 »
Focus on the “I” in BIM with Invicara’s BIM Assure
July 27th, 2016 by Susan Smith
Lately, more products have come on the market whose goal it is to make building information modeling (BIM) better. The cloud has really opened up the possibilities for this, allowing for easier and more seamless use of a large, often unwieldy building model.
Marty Chobot, VP of Marketing for Invicara, talked with AECCafe Voice about the release of Invicara’s release of BIM Assure, a collaborative, cloud solution that unlocks BIM data and helps the entire project team streamline BIM data management. Invicara provides transformative solutions for BIM.
Cloud-based BIM Assure’s intelligent rules help users to identify and resolve issues to improve BIM quality and then sync the corrections back to the source model. BIM Assure’s common BIM environment allows architects, engineers, contractors, and owners (AECO) to share models and manage data, making it easier to streamline design and construction workflows and improve project delivery.
AECCafe Voice: What does Invicara provide with BIM Assure that the current major CAD/BIM providers are not providing with their cloud solutions and efforts to streamline data, and make it easier for AECOs to share models and share data?
Marty Chobot: Current major providers have focused on authoring tools for creating the building model and coordination tools for analyzing the geometry – for example clash detection for coordinating various trades. Also, they have tools for sharing models between people that use their authoring tools. What BIM Assure brings to the table is a focus on the information in the model. It’s really difficult to find missing or incorrect information using traditional tools. BIM Assure has intelligent rules that make it very easy to find issues. So – instead of wading through thousands of points of information, BIM Assure takes you right to the problems. In addition, it also brings “BIM to the BIM-less”. You don’t need to have to be a BIM guru to be able to view the model, search the model, and view the information about the building elements. Also, models have massive amounts of data.
AECCafe Voice: The idea of managing handover throughout the design-build lifecycle seems like a new one, and I can’t quite imagine how that can work. Can you describe that workflow?
Chobot: Owners and project teams would set milestones during the project for data deliverables. For example if we look at an air handler, at CDs, you could check for a certain subset of the information needed: location, operating characteristics, etc. At the end of submittals, you should know additional information about that air handler – things like the manufacturer, model number, etc. After commissioning, you should have everything you need. You can validate all of the information above and also gather new information like the serial number, installation date and so on.
AECCafe Voice: How does BIM Assure “unlock” BIM data models?
Chobot: We unlock BIM data in three ways. First, as mentioned above, BIM Assure provides a really easy-to-use, browser-based way to view models and data. Folks who have no training or experience in BIM authoring tools can now access BIM. Second, we classify the elements in the model and standardize the element data. A huge problem in the industry is that BIM data is unstructured – without actually opening the model and looking at the elements it’s very difficult to know what’s actually in the model! By classifying and standardizing the model elements and data, we create a common data environment for the entire project team. Now our customers can use a set of rules across all of the models – whether they came from an architect, engineer or contractor. Third, we allow people with the proper permissions to actually edit building data using a browser. For example, if a rule finds that the air handler manufacturer information is missing, anyone on the project team could enter that information. At any point, the owner of the Revit model can sync the changes in BIM Assure data with their Revit model.
AECCafe Voice: When corrections are sent back to the BIM model, is a previous version of the model kept somewhere in case those corrections turn out to be inaccurate?
Chobot: Every time a modeller publishes their model to BIM Assure we create a new version. Each version keeps its data and analysis results. That helps customer look back to past versions and also keep an eye on how data quality is trending.
AECCafe Voice: How is accuracy assured?
Chobot: The main way accuracy is assured is through BIM Assure’s rules. Obviously there are some things we can’t validate – for example, the only way to validate a serial number is to have a visual of the equipment faceplate. But we can ensure that data is present, we can check for valid values from a list of predefined values (for example, ensuring the equipment manufacturer is on a list of preferred vendors) or if values match an expected pattern.
AECCafe Voice: What kind of a plan do customers use for BIM Assure? Is it a service or subscription plan or something piggybacked onto an existing AutoCAD or Bentley cloud plan?
Chobot: BIM Assure is offered in a SaaS model where the cost of usage is consumption based. Customers use tokens to run rules. They can buy a subscription that gives them a certain number of tokens each month. The tokens don’t expire! They stay in the account until they’re used. Our Beta customers really liked this model – the industry suffers from a lot of underutilized software products and customers like that their cost is linked to how much they actually use the product.
BIM Assure helps owners and project teams:
Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, AIA 2016, architecture, BIM, building information modeling, civil information modeling, collaboration, construction, file sharing, infrastructure, integrated project delivery