Leading construction industry bodies, the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), and the Construction Products Association (CPA) have moved to address confusion over the process of standardising product information for use in Building Information Modelling (BIM).
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), and the Construction Products Association (CPA) have agreed on the respective roles of the ‘LEXiCON’ and ‘BIMHawk’ tools in developing standardised BIM product data parameters and structures.
It’s hoped that the move will resolve the apparent confusion over whether the two initiatives compete or complement each other.
CIBSE has been leading an industry consortium for development of BIMHawk, a project to collect and structure product information in standardised Product Data Templates (PDTs).
The CPA – with the support of the BIM Task Group and UK BIM Alliance – has been developing LEXiCON to create, define and record parameter names in a uniform and standardised way and to make those parameters available to all those creating structured data, initially focussing on product data.
A PDT allows manufacturers to demonstrate the features and describe the properties of a product using standard parameters in support of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings. LEXiCON is a process for defining and publishing that information using a single source of terms so the organisations have agreed to work together.
By aligning with the LEXiCON methodology, CIBSE will ensure that PDTs can feed directly and seamlessly into the delivery process. The LEXiCON methodology provides the governance to ensure the properties defined are the correct ones, and these will then be aligned with the buildingSmart Data Dictionary, which is being developed by buildingSMART International in association with the International Standards Organisation (ISO).
BESA’s head of sustainability, David Frise explained: “This is just what the industry has been waiting for. It is more than six months since the passing of the government’s deadline for BIM to be mandatory on public sector projects and we need to urgently drive forward the process for gathering and transmitting project relevant data.
The three bodies reinforced the message that being able to provide consistent and trustworthy product data, across the sector, had “undeniable advantages for manufacturers, contractors and designers, as well as the sector’s clients”.
Removing the need to translate information between websites, brochures and software models will only increase consistency, remove errors from the system and enable greater use of digital technologies.
Traditionally, product performance data has been requested using bespoke forms and web-based interfaces. Now, by using a structured approach, the data will remain valid for all applications until the product is updated.