Content. It is essential for BIM projects. Content, as we see it in BIM (Building Information Modeling), is a digital 3D representation enriched with parametric information such as size, height, weight, article number and more.
BIM content consists of many different parameters. It includes technical and geometric parameters that form the external characteristics of a product. It also includes visual parameters that give an object a distinctive appearance and ensure that the virtual object behaves just as it would in reality. In addition, objects can be enhanced with dynamic parameters such as trade information.
“In short: BIM content is aggregated content consisting of essential information needed by the MEP engineer without creating information overload.”
Good content enhances the value of 3D models in the BIM process and in the ordering process.
The National BIM Reports 2016/2017’ (NBS) show that 71% of the surveyed engineers want to receive BIM articles from manufacturers. This is because engineers want to deliver perfect models— models and drawings containing all the necessary information— information which will not fail in an essential part of the BIM workflow.
Data is essential in the BIM process
Why? Because content is a type of representation of data that allows you to use the data in your projects and to help you with forecasting, calculating, ordering, and project definition.
3D content from manufacturers provided by MEPcontent helps you to work with real-life items equipped with parameters, which can be used in projects to:
- Create BOM (Bill of Material) lists
- Create prefab sets
- Create ordering lists
- Make reliable calculations for MEP systems
It is important to focus on quality data in the MEP domain to make sure the overview of content provided is absolutely relevant.
Therefore, good, up-to-date content is required. But, what defines “good” content?
Working with both engineers and manufacturers on a daily basis, MEPcontent defines the following requirements for 3D content for the MEP industry.
Requirements for BIM content
Compact content (small in size)
Productivity and efficiency in BIM design is the number one priority for engineers. Construction projects often need to be delivered within a tight deadline, so designers and modelers work under time pressure. Content used in BIM projects should be compact and small in size so it does not slow down the entire BIM project, causing painful (up)loading waiting time.
Right and correct data
This might seem obvious, but 3D content equipped with the right and correct data is essential for building 3D models that are reliable and will not fail in the construction stage. But data is not always kept up-to-date. Manufacturers should make sure the available 3D content for their product is correct and matches their actual product data to ensure their content is actually used in BIM projects.
Easy to use and maintain
Once 3D content has been created and published, the content needs to be maintained and updated. Product data from manufacturers change over time, meaning 3D content needs to be updated as well. Therefore, manufacturers have to establish one safe source for their product data, which can easily be synced with the data used for 3D content. This makes it easy to maintain 3D content, even if it is published in different channels. Also, issues with different versions are avoided this way.
Easy to find
You should be able to easily use and find content. BIM platforms such as MEPcontent help engineers to quickly find all the 3D content they need for their BIM project. These BIM platforms also provide the MEP engineer with the necessary Revit, CAD and IFC files— files which can be downloaded for free to be used directly in a project. These are openly available after signing in.
Shrinking budgets result in BIM engineers designing in even smarter and more efficient ways. Good software is necessary to do this. But different projects require different functionalities in your software (and different content needs). Flexibility is becoming even more important here as well.
The ‘on-demand’ model, such as the system we use at home for Netflix, will increasingly penetrate the world of design software. Software, updates, and support are included in a monthly payment, and consequently can be adjusted precisely to meet your needs. Specific design tools, available as Apps, will appear more frequently. The functionality and content you need at a specific moment can easily be installed for your project by means of these handy Apps.
MEPcontent offers a number of Apps for MEP engineers. These Apps can be found on store.mepcontent.com and are connected to the 3D content available on the MEPcontent platform. Some Apps are manufacturer specific, such as the SANHA Product Line Placer or ABB Switch Range Configurator. Some offer content from multiple manufacturers at once, such as the MEPcontent browser or the MEPcontent Product Line Placer for Piping or Valves. You can easily install them for Revit or AutoCAD.
A free account can be created on the MEPcontent platform or the MEPcontent App store: https://store.mepcontent.com/
Are you currently using BIM content in your workflow? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author
Stefan van Eerde is MEPcontent’s Senior Product Marketer for MEP Apps and MEPcontent.com. MEPcontent is part of Stabiplan B.V., a Trimble company. He leads the international App adoption efforts as well as growing the MEPcontent.com platform with more users.More Content by Stefan van Eerde