How BIM Assure 1.3 Benefits Owners and FM: Q&A with Scott Mollon
- BIM Assure Version 1.3 allows the owner to better understand their model, interrogate the model, and test the model.
- BIM Assure can analyze data based on specified criteria, and checks and highlights any mismatches in a project.
- Using in-depth, filtered views, called ‘slices’, opens the data to a larger audience.
Last week, Invicara announced the release of BIM Assure 1.3 with new features focused on expanding access to building data. The new features provide opportunities for AEC firms, consultants, and owners to create an integrated BIM data platform that helps owners get better control over their building data throughout the entire building lifecycle.
To get a better understanding of BIM Assure’s capabilities, Scott Mollon, Director of Product Management and QA at Invicara, explains the features and benefits of 1.3, and what this means for owners.
What are the biggest barriers that owners face with BIM?
A challenge for owners has always been the ability to understand their model, interrogate the model, and test the model. In addition, owners often struggle with their information being locked away in the model, making it difficult to access.
How does BIM Assure 1.3 address these barriers? What are the greatest benefits to owners?
The interactive slice creation grid, and validation addresses the problem owners have in being able to interrogate their model and understand the model that they’re being given. Slices, or queries, allow you to build sets of elements based on your own criteria and interactively slice the information that you’re interested to see the data that is important to you.
For instance, if you’re using LOD to help manage a project, you can isolate elements in the viewer and pull that information into a data grid which tells you whether your project is on track or behind. With that data, you can create validators to help you figure out if the data meets your criteria. BIM Assure then analyzes the data based on the criteria you give it, and checks and highlights any mismatches in your project.
What makes data “valid?”
Valid data makes sure a property has a value or matches criteria you define through patterns or text. An owner can say, “I want all my walls to have a fire rating of 20 minutes,” input that data into BIM Assure, and the grid will show which walls don’t have that fire rating. In addition, you can add logic, “I want my walls to have a fire rating greater than 20 minutes,” to highlight elements in the 3D model and data you can view in the grid.
“Now owners have access to the data and can validate that data seamlessly.”
Why is highlighting valid data so important to owners?
Because owners can now unlock data in their building models that they may not have access to – now owners have access to the data and can validate that data seamlessly.
In BIM Assure we have the 3D model for you to view and rotate, with all the building elements in it. But looking at all your elements at one time can be overwhelming, especially if you’re only worried about something like walls at the time. BIM Assure allows you to create a slice definition in the 3D view, and the model will update to show you what is in your slice definition.
Can you tell us about the process of creating a slice grid?
Users begin by creating a slice with all elements in building. Let’s say that the user is only interested in second-story walls for this example. The user will alert the system that they are interested in isolating the walls, and the 3D model updates to show you only walls. If the user wants a more in-depth view, they can then go into the scope properties (which are like a filter) and specify parameter values, like, “of these walls I only want to see the ones with a property level of two,” and then BIM Assure scopes the view down to second floor walls exclusively. This instant feedback shows the user in real-time which elements meet the definition.
How do the new features support the IFC BIM Data Standard?
Since its inception in 1994, IFC has become a neutral format for collaboration amongst the various tools project teams are using. As an intermediate communication format, all project collaborators understand IFC format and can read files in that way.
With BIM Assure 1.3, we introduced the IFC Explorer so users can open and federate multiple IFC files and publish in BIM Assure. Owners can access data from a wide range of BIM and CAD tools in BIM Assure, run rules, create slices, use slice grids, and perform other relevant tasks.
Can you tell us about the new enhanced reporting features?
The new enhanced reporting provides a huge benefit for Revit collaboration. BIM Assure now allows users to create element reports with Revit IDs, making it easy to locate data in Revit from the Excel element report. If you find an issue with an element, for instance, if the value of an element is wrong, the generated Excel report will list the Revit ID, so users can simply go back and make the highlighted change in Revit.
What are your clients saying about the newest features?
BIM Assure 1.3 has gotten such a positive response from our current clients using the latest features. Overwhelmingly, our clients are excited about how visually users can see what’s not in the model, so you can go back and make additions that are needed. When it comes to analyzing data, having the numbers and the 3D model ensures that project teams are all on the same page when it comes to changes that need to be made. All the information is captured in a context that makes sense to the individual – whether that’s by the data or the images. As one client pointed out, owners may be data-centric but design is more visual – and the new features capture the data in a way that makes sense to both.
In addition, these capabilities are huge for showing what data is missing. This helps with internal validation, trending and tracking so the owner can communicate with design what has been changing, improving, or needs to get back on track.
Slices are also receiving a positive response. Our clients have pointed out that instead of using the hunt and peck method to see if you’re getting the data when you need it – slices allow you to validate data beforehand to make sure you’re collecting and reporting on data that aligns with your rules. With slices, you can train people on the views quickly – opening the data to a larger audience and a much faster on-boarding into BIM Assure.
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