A new $500 million multi-storey office tower and 5 Star Westin Hotel in the middle of Perth’s CBD is said to be setting new standards for project development with its use of true Open BIM workflows.

480 Hay Street by BPi, a joint venture between BGC Australia and POSCO E&C Australia, is the flagship Australian project for Open BIM, a platform that seeks to provide a universal approach to collaborative design, construction and operation of buildings based on open standards and workflows.

Allowing the best of breed tools to come together and “talk seamlessly”, Open BIM uses international standards such as Foundation Classes (IFC) and BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) so data can be easily shared between project participants.

This greatly simplifies the data sets in a construction process, which are often vast, complex, and the cause of collaboration challenges for many Australian projects, including the lack of real coordination workflows, losing information during data conversation, the lack of detailed models for construction, and missing follow-up design changes between trades.

“For the past 50 years, the Australian construction industry has become less and less productive despite the technologies that are out there. We have seen the implementation of BIM in Scandinavia see a 1% productivity waste versus Australia at 29% waste,” says Levi Naas, VDC Manager at BPi.

“Open BIM is the only way forward for the AEC Industry in Australia. Normally interoperability between software platforms is highly challenging but with Open BIM and the IFC, software platforms like ArchiCAD and Revit can actually share building information.”

For 480 Hay Street, BPi used Open BIM with GRAPHISOFT’s mobile software solution BIMx docs, a BIM visualisation app that allows stakeholders to navigate through their project by moving between the 3D model and 2D drawings on their tablets.

“All delivery for the project’s documentation to the site is through BIMx. We are contracted to convert Revit and Tekla models and any other documentation that arrives in 3D or 2D into ArchiCAD and out to BIMx Docs on the iPad,” explains Colin Dibb, VDC Services Director at WEBBER Australia.

“This means that every person that goes on site has an iPad ready to go with the 3D model and all documentation for the entire project.”

The project, which will be Perth’s first five-star CBD hotel to be built in almost 30 years, is located on the former FESA headquarters site.

BPi is targeting a minimum five per cent reduction in waste on this project, which will translate to significant costs savings. The project is due for completion in 2017.