Accurate BIM libraries will only be possible through collaboration according to Saint-Gobain PAM, who has just redeveloped its own library for cast iron sanitary, soil and rainwater systems following collaboration with Hoare Lea.
Matthew Hassall, BIM implementation manager for Saint-Gobain PAM, said: “Ultimately BIM is only as good as the data that the manufacturer or supplier provides. It is now 12 months since BIM has had to be implemented on public sector projects and, as a result, the industry is learning exactly what it wants from a library of products and systems. The only way of achieving this is to collaborate with the supply chain and ask it what it needs and – equally as important – what is not required.”
Bogdan Pop, public health engineer from Hoare Lea who has been collaborating on the company’s BIM development, added: “From our point of view we need to work with a manufacturer’s data. Generic libraries just do not work. This in turn means that we need to work closely with suppliers like Saint-Gobain PAM to define exactly what we need and to also remove unnecessary information.
“One very practical issue that we have come across relates to the software platform that many BIM libraries use. If a manufacturer does not put constraints on the dimensions of their products, then in theory you can design whatever you want; the problem is the design you have put together may include products that don’t exist in reality!
“Equally, manufacturers mistakenly believe that they should include every detail in their 3D drawings, where often all we need are the dimensions. It means that the 3D drawings can be so large that it takes time to download and then input them into a design.”
Hassall continued: “BIM encourages us to share data, but the better question is defining exactly what data you need. We also recognise that these needs will evolve over time so on-going dialogue with the supply chain is vital.”
Pop concluded: “Developing a BIM library takes time and resource, sadly too many manufacturers have not invested and this only creates problems for the designer, installer and ultimately, the final customer. There is a real difference between the theory and what is actually effective when it gets down to working on a project.”