Last week's article Calls for building product manufacturers to get onboard with BIM in Australia looked at how the industry is calling for national standards for BIM to be implemented.

The second part delves deeper into manufacturers getting on board with BIM and the development of a BIM library.

Manufacturers embracing BIM at different rates

In Australia and New Zealand BIM is heavily utilised at the conceptual and detailed design phases, however the construction industry is still catching up.

A recent BIM survey conducted by Autodesk showed 80 per cent of those surveyed use BIM during the design phase of a project, while less than 45 per cent use it during construction.

Autodesk product line manager for Design, Lifecycle and Simulation Brian Frank says manufacturers have embraced BIM at different rates, with a lot of this to do with criticality and pain associated with the construction of their systems.

“What we see now is that all manufacturers are being asked to support BIM, as BIM has matured from just a design methodology to a construction and project delivery methodology.

“It is becoming a requirement for all manufacturers to provide BIM content and participate in BIM workflows,” Frank says.

A major challenge behind uptake is what type of information to provide to the process. Autodesk have developed methodologies to help manufacturers determine the type of data to provide, and when, to the BIM process.

“BIM provides a unique opportunity for manufacturers, both in the early stages of a project, and during the operations and management of the project once it is built,” he says.

KONE uses Autodesk to create BIM designs in order to visualise the finished product.

Information provided by manufacturers has a large range, but primarily should be based around geometric and performance data. Yet additional information around assembly and maintenance procedures, scheduling and sequencing data, and other lifecycle information can also be provided.

“These create true value to the benefit of BIM workflows and benefit both the manufacturer and the design and construction teams,” Frank says.

Waste on the construction site and minimising design re-work can be reduced, along with enabling new methods to manage the building once it has been commissioned, he says.

“By providing product specific information during the BIM process, the project team gains a deeper understanding of how the products and design will work together.”

Manufacturers can help tailor solutions for each project, and architects and engineers get a fuller understanding of how their project will come together, perform, and ultimately serve the needs of their clients.

“BIM has constantly shown significant return on investment (ROI) on all types of projects, and the process is heavily dependent of manufacturer specific information to inform the model and processes,” Frank says.

Newly founded BIM Consulting managing director Stuart Bull says over the next few years the evolution of the BIM workflow will dictate more organisations need to provide BIM specifications.

“It’s going to be more cost-efficient and beneficial for the main contractor to have a supply chain that has componentry available direct to software and workflows,” Bull says.

One manufacturer that has embraced BIM is AFS Products Group which has made BIM specifications of its AFS LOGICWALL product available on its website.

An AFS technical specialist says they noticed a trend in enquiries from consultants, and that BIM was the way design was heading.

“We saw it as an opportunity to get our product on to projects,” he says.

Many consultants even mentioned they would tend to favour the AFS products more because of the availability of BIM tools.

AFS have not yet measured the advantage having the BIM specifications available, but consultants have commented on how glad they are to see AFS have the tools, as very few manufacturers provide them, the technical specialist says.

Being an early adopter will have its advantages in the near future, particularly because AFS is looking to develop the specifications more.

“Currently the specs are fairly elementary – they can be improved,” he says.

A Tekla BIMSight 3D model.

Evolution of the BIM Library

With the slow evolution of BIM and the eventual need for product specifications, there is the need for product libraries to be built.

Many products for use in residential designs can be found on, however it is in the larger, commercial industry where BIM specifications are lacking.

Bull says most architectural organisations should have their own BIM library as it is a fundamental part of their building mechanism.

“You need a very robust object library to suit. Some of that does come down to what you can get from a supplier and what you can amend. Lots of people don’t like it, but you can get lots of things from Google Warehouse – you can download basic 3D models which you can build up on top of that in Revit to more complex specific technical objects that will be very useful in fit-out models.”

Bull also believes there should be national BIM standards, of which he says the industry is working very hard to get.

On a national BIM library he says, “A national library of components would be very good, but I believe extremely hard to manage. It would have to be a national organisation to deal with that.”

Currently the United States and the United Kingdom are trying to build national BIM libraries in line with government mandates on BIM standards.

“Ultimately what needs to happen is a mandate from government in the same way the US has a mandate from government, along with the United Kingdom, who will have it in 2016, to use BIM on government projects or other projects.”

By implementing BIM standards on government projects, consultants and contractors, who of course will want to win government contracts, will begin using BIM workflows on projects, which will automatically filter down into regular commercial works, he says.

However, the government has too many other things with which they are concerned with at the moment.

“Whether the government really sees a value proposition in them doing such a thing, I think they will be really watching what happens in the UK in 2016 to see what the value proposition is,” Bull says.

“I can only see good things coming out of it, to be honest.

“The sooner [Australia] starts it, the better things will be.”