As of today, Level 2 BIM – “collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic)” – is mandatory for all public sector centrally procured construction projects.
This means that the 3D CAD models that are developed by each design team during a project lifecycle, and all associated data, must be shared as a Building Information Model (not just a ‘print’) in a common file format.
The impact Level 2 has on designers is clear, as it provides for a far more collaborative, innovative and intelligent way of working for everyone involved in the project – from initial concept through design development, construction, handover and end use. However, for manufacturers it’s a slightly different story as there is no real requirement to work fully in BIM; the need is simply to provide the designers with product data, which is easier said than done.
While most manufacturers already produce some sort of product data, this is often in a variety of formats – from product literature to certificates, and everything in between. This makes the designer’s work harder than it needs to be, having to search high and low to find all necessary information.
Couldn’t there just be some sort of ‘one size fits all’ document? Well, the answer is yes.
By producing Product Data Sheets for each product, manufacturers can provide all relevant information – including manufacturer, IFC and COBie data – in a format that works within a designer’s Building Information Model.
Product Data Sheets also allow manufacturers to create BIM Objects. These can be:
- Single materials, such as our own which are available via the NBS National BIM Library, or;
- Material layer sets, a collection of materials used to create one object – for example, those found on the U-value Calculator
The designer can then simply choose the required product and drop it into their project in the chosen place, saving both time and effort in the process.
Finally – as it’s not all about the designer! – Product Data Sheets also make life that little bit easier for technical and sales teams, who should see a reduction in the amount of bespoke product queries and follow-up questions.
So we come to the burning question: How does a manufacturer produce a Product Data Sheet?
CIBSE, in collaboration with BIM4M2, the CPA and the NBS, is currently developing Product Data Templates, which aim to “anticipate the information sought by every party – from specification through operations to decommissioning and replacement”. Once a template is completed, it becomes a Product Data Sheet that the manufacturer owns and can display as it chooses. It’s as simple as that!