BIMStorm is Here

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Industry News
BIMStorm is Here

By Susan Smith

The GeoWeb 2008 Conference held July 21-25th in Vancouver, British Columbia, hosted by Galdos Systems, focused this year on the theme, “Infrastructure: local to global” which emphasized CAD/BIM/GIS integration and building towards “GeoWeb 2009 Cityscapes.”

On the agenda was a timely presentation by Kimon Onuma, FAIA, principal and BIM evangelist, whose firm, ONUMA Inc., both an architectural firm and a software company, explores open standards to facilitate building projects with their revolutionary BIMStorm approach to architecture.

Onuma spoke about the concept of little BIM, which is a piece of software, and big BIM, which expands it just beyond the project and looks at the data and the process of how things can change.

Since the mid 90s, ONUMA has been involved in using BIM in an innovative way, focusing on the information in BIM, which allowed the company to collaborate with teams worldwide on projects. They employ the ONUMA Planning System or OPS, developed by ONUMA, a BIM Model Server and editor.

Using open standards, Onuma said they look beyond the envelope of the building to how it ties to the enterprise and the whole portfolio. All organizations have trouble managing existing infrastructure, and planning for the future. “How do we predict what we need when it’s a constantly moving target with the challenges we’re faced with as far as technology, budget, requirements, the world?”

The Model Server uses the open standards of the web to make the entire BIM model accessible to users, without them having to download the entire BIM and then open it in client applications, an unwieldy process at best. Data such as municipal GIS and parcel data and analysis data can be also translated and imported into the Model Server to be used by BIMStorm participants.

BIMStorm is not a software, it’s a process. Onuma cited the example of a U.S. Coast Guard project they have used BIMStorm for. In 2003, using the OPS, the U.S. Coast Guard saw and developed an initiative called “The Framework for Integrated Decision-Making” which was at the core of the Shore Facilities Capital Asset Management Road Map (SFCAM) led by David Hammond in Washington, D.C.

The process employed web enabled tools and real time planning to collaborate worldwide with many users from many different perspectives. “It’s not just about the building, it’s also about the business needs and drivers and data associated with the buildings and spaces and sites and things inside buildings and how they operate and manage and support the Coast Guard’s needs,” Onuma explained. “How do we manage our entire portfolio of existing buildings, and look at a building as a database, look at it from geospatial perspective of needing to land buildings somewhere on the world and being able to do scenario planning of an entire Coast Guard inventory?” This process would tie back into their business drivers which are their ships, and then “what happens if that ship drives a need for a building?”

Without pushing the limits of using open standards exchanges the industry will not progress, Onuma said. He believes that open standards is where it’s at, and that proprietary formats will become a think of the past. BIM is a container for data, and what is important is how the data is exchanged and the process by which this exchange is executed. Collaboration is everything; technology is not a barrier to change.

The National BIM Standard Capability Maturity Model (CMM) measures 11 areas of processes of BIM implementation, that BIMStorm can be measured against for large and small projects:

  • Data richness
  • Life-cycle views
  • Change management
  • Roles or disciplines
  • Business process
  • Timeliness/response
  • Delivery method
  • Graphical information
  • Spatial capability
  • Information accuracy and
  • Interoperability/IFC support.

The CMM is most successfully used as a tool for BIM users to evaluate their practices and processes.

Open standards used by ONUMA include: Industry Foundation Classes (IFC); International Code Council, SmartCodes; Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) WFS, CityGML; Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE); and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

The firm makes use of a wide variety of tools that include but are not limited to: ArchiCAD, Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Revit Structural, Adobe MAPublisher, Ecotect, ERDAS Imagine, ESRI ArcInfo, GeoPDF, Google Earth/Maps/Docs, Green Building Studio, Rhino, SketchUp, Solibri, VectorWorks, NavisWorks, Microsoft family of products, Solibri, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Skype, and of course, OPS Model Server and OPS BIM application.

Onuma has put his finger on what has been a primary challenge for the building industry and what has caused that industry to lose $16 billion in revenue annually: the lack of interoperability and the need for collaboration.

This is not news, however, what is news is that BIMStorm has demonstrated in several cities such as Los Angeles, Rotterdam and Boston the potential of collaboration using open standards, for anyone who is willing to participate.

Top News of the Week

The members of the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) have adopted version 1.0.0 of the OpenGIS® CityGML Encoding Standard and as an official OGC Standard.

CityGML is an open data model framework and XML-based encoding standard for the storage and exchange of virtual 3D urban models. CityGML is an application schema of the OpenGIS Geography Markup Language 3 (GML3) Encoding Standard , an international standard for spatial data exchange and encoding approved by the OGC and ISO.


Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that it has acquired Struc-Soft Inc., a leading Montreal-based reseller and developer of 2D and 3D engineering, construction, and fabrication products for analysis, design, and drawing production. Struc-Soft has been the exclusive North American reseller of Bentley’s ProSteel 3D structural steel detailing and fabrication software since 2000, and also offers custom-developed ProSteel add-ons for specialized applications such as stairs, light-gauge walls and trusses, offshore platforms and jackets, pressure vessels, and towers. Through its team of certified engineering professionals, Struc-Soft also provides expert services for ProSteel users – from consultation and customization to implementation, training, and long-term support.

PacifiCAD, Inc. announced it has become an Autodesk authorized value-added reseller (VAR) for Autodesk NavisWorks software products. PacifiCAD delivers NavisWorks training, consulting and implementation services to clients involved in the architecture, manufacturing and plant industries. PacifiCAD’s qualified staff demonstrates in-depth technical and industry knowledge and a commitment to customer service, and provides its customers with the world’s leading 2D and 3D design software solutions, training and support.

Control Group, an information technology consulting, outsourcing and managed services company, and Newforma, Inc., a software company addressing the project information management (PIM) needs of the design and building industry, announced that Control Group has joined the Newforma Authorized Partner program as a value-added reseller for the sales and marketing of Newforma Project Center software. Control Group will provide the full range of professional services, including deployment, configuration and training, to small and mid-size architecture and engineering firms in Greater New York City.

Newforma, Inc., a software company addressing the project information management (PIM) needs of the design and building industry, announced the expansion of the Newforma Authorized Partner program in response to increased market demand in North America. The program has been expanded to include value-added resellers (VARs) -- selected technology companies certified by Newforma to resell, deploy and configure the Newforma solution, and to train architects and engineers in its use.

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