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What is OPEN BIM?

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Got this on my Planet Vectorworks email:


I mean what is OPEN BIM really? The words are so wooly on the buildingSMART site that it could be anything...

Does this mean roundtripping between BIM packages? Can we at least expect eventual roundtripping between Vectorworks, ArchiCAD and Allplan now that Nemetschek have committed these three to OPEN BIM?

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At its most basic and practical level it means supporting a workflow based on IFC.

I suspect that by the time roundtripping becomes technically feasible we probably won't be sending files to each other anyway. Rather we'll just be submitting updates to a centralised (IFC-based) BIM server.

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Unfortunately the noises coming out of NV have always been anti-BIM server. I've never figured out whether this is because they don't have one and are just downplaying its importance or if they actually believe we don't need one.

It may be that NVs strategy is to support something like http://bimserver.org/ rather than build their own. But will this provide a useful BIM server for internal office use (like ArchiCAD's Teamwork)? I don't know enough about the way BIMserver works.

I wonder whether one day we might wake up to find that IFC is Vectorworks' native file format. Like, say, HTML is Safari's native file format.

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"The whole idea of a single centralized model server through the project life-cycle has been generally discredited."

oh dear...

A centralized model through the project life-cycle is something we must work to, but I also think it is not doable right know because too many things to take care off.

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So let me get this straight....for BIG BIM (exchanging data with others), there appear to be several approaches being developed:

1. Autocracy

The whole Design Team uses Revit. Send me your great big file to add to mine.

2. Project Review Software

Somebody on the Design Team has a copy of Solibri/Navisworks/BIMsight and does all the clash detection, scheduling, etc

3. Interoperability

Someone develops a common BIM file format (not an exchange format) and/or a method of roundtripping and the whole Design Team swaps files.

4. Exchange Format

The Design Team all export to IFC format and swap files. Less data rich transfer than roundtripping.

5. BIM Server

Somebody on the Design Team hosts a server. Everybody posts stuff to the server for clash checking, scheduling etc. Can also act as a central model for booking changes in/out and include a change approval process.

Which of these, if any, is OPEN BIM?

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so many initiatives, so little time...

... my head hurts

Try studying/passing the PE exams at 50+...Then implement 3D Bim Design/Engineering, Simulations and Data optimisation/Analysis and then try Presenting/Building real projects.... you'll feel as if your heads going to explode.

So little time, NAG need to employ Young/Enthusiastic/Talented all round AEC programmers and take this program to the next level.Step-up theres alot of money to be made.HTH

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Open BIM is the support of IFC-based workflows, in many different forms (e.g. BIM server, simple file exchange, native file format, etc.). The intent is to support a means to let users regain control and ownership of the data and processes and not be strictly dictated by the whims of any single vendor. Isn't that something good?

"Big BIM" is NOT about data exchange, per se, but about collaboration at a much higher level. It is about collaboration that requires different means of business relationships, working methods, delivery of services, instruments of service, communications, and compensation. The technology used is an integral part of serving these bigger ideas.

Ideally, the technology behind all of this has some basis in open standards to facilitate communication between proprietary systems. We are all used to this ideal already, using the internet. Open BIM/IFC is a means to an end... removing the barriers currently in place to move the AEC forward in productivity/efficiency.

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Open BIM....... Isn't that something good?

It is, yes. But please don't think I was questioning this...I just wanted to cut through the waffle that passes for an announcement these days. You have advanced the definition a fraction, but really we all knew that NV Inc supports IFC based workflows, so what's new? What does Open BIM mean in practice?

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It is of course easy to point out what is lacking in any CAD app according to each individuals personal definintion of Open-BIM.

Take a step back and think back a couple of years, what is an Open file format and file exchange? Was it ever developed? Did it ever work? I guess partly and in different ways for each practice.

Equally so what is Open BIM?

I'm sure the answer is different in each case depending on how 'you' work, where 'you' work and with whom 'you' work. I think it is quite obvious by now that there is no clear cut answer. Apparently NV creates VWs according to its own visions and definitions for Open BIM.

Instead of trying to figure out what Open BIM is ('you'll' be flaying that horse till your blue in the face if 'you' try) why not instead post wishes for 'your' own definition and needs of Open BIM!? (A little tip though, I think you can forget wishing for a single file format for all platforms, if they can't get this to work for simple 2D drafting Apps, they won't get it to work for 3D BIM!)

File exchange is only part of BIM and IFC is the closest you'll get at the moment. At least several competing companies have decided to work together on this, that is quite an achievement in itself.

BIM is constantly growing in its definition and will continue to do so, which means that CAD app manufacturers will keep on having to adjust and change their products to comply (it is not them that decide what BIM is it is the industry as a whole).

Edited by Vincent C
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