BIM 5 - What does the industry want from the manufacturers?

29 March 2018 Kingspan Insulation UK

In the third BIM 5 article in which we are going to talk about what the industry wants from manufacturers in terms of BIM content used within their building models.

Manufacturers of building products/materials can supply their data in a number of ways. At Kingspan Insulation we choose to create BIM objects which designers can download and paste straight into their model. By creating and supplying BIM objects of our products, we can supply the industry with 3D representations of our products that also hold non graphical data like thermal resistances and our technical service contact details. As part of the process we have learnt a few key points:

1. Small file sizes please!

File sizes are a huge issue when it comes to building information modelling. Therefore, manufacturers supplying BIM objects need to make sure these files are as small as possible. Designers don’t want large files, because by the time they have modelled the whole building the total file size would be huge and the model would be very clunky and hard to work with.

2. Get the levels of detail right

The levels of detail are very important when creating BIM objects. There are generally three levels that products need to match, from a very basic outline (so if a manufacturer is  producing a radiator, it could just be a box on a wall) to a fine level (again taking the radiator as an example, a manufacturer could produce an accurate shape and size with fixing brackets and pipe connections). A manufacturer needs to make sure the levels of detail for the object are designed to match the correct level of detail within the design programme and change to suit what the designers want to do with the object at the time. For example, designers don’t want to see all the connections and brackets if it’s just an initial concept design, they just want to see the rough shape and size. However, as mentioned before, don’t forget to keep the file size low!

3. BIM objects need to be easy to use and understand

One thing is for certain with BIM objects, designers will not use them if they are hard to use or difficult to understand. Designers would much rather create a version of an  object themselves then try to understand how to use a difficult object. Designers want these objects to speed up their design process not to hinder it; objects should be easily loaded into a project model. All of our objects are created so they can simply be copied and pasted into the project and we also provide a guide on how to do this. 

4. High quality and accurate information

Designers downloading the objects are doing so because they believe they are full of high quality and accurate information. A manufacturer needs to make sure that the data within the object is current and correct even if it means checking through the object data multiple times before launching them.  

5. Digital marketing

This final point isn’t really what the industry wants from manufacturers, it’s more about why manufacturers need to be making sure they are doing all the above points. The BIM objects manufacturers create for their products are essentially digital marketing material. They bring a whole range of documentation into one file that can be quickly downloaded and accessed by everybody.

Although providing BIM objects is not in itself a guarantee that a certain company’s products will get specified, having a user friendly and accurate object will make more designers want to use them. BIM is all about collaboration and by listening to what the industry wants from them, manufacturers will be able to service them better and produce better BIM objects.