Friday, 16 September 2016

Three new enhancements to the BIM Toolkit

The latest update to the free-to-use BIM Toolkit has some nice new enhancements included.

Since the launch of the BIM Toolkit in April 2015 we have been steadily adding improvements in response to feedback from those working on live projects. This work to date has included the ability to search and filter the data, the ability to provide access to other members of the project team, the delivery of an API to access the library data and also a full set of classification tables.

However, the most recent enhancements include:

1. Help your clients at strategy and brief stage
At the start of the project, prior to the team being assembled, the client may work with a consultant to put together a digital plan of work.

At this stage of a project, the specific deliverables will probably not be known. For example, it will be known that the architect will be responsible for the design of the doors. But it will not yet be known whether there will be sliding, automatic or folding doors. Equally, it will be known that the maintenance information for the heat emitters will be required at handover - but will not be known whether air curtains, fan convectors or radiators will be specified.

In this new update, the consultant may work with the client to add items at the third level of the classification structure into the plan of work, assign them to the likely discipline and add a brief note against each item.

As an example, the screenshot below shows that structural framing systems have been assigned to the Structural Engineer and a briefing note has been added based on the client's similar previous projects. Note that at this stage a firm decision has not been made as to what type of framing system (whether steel, concrete, timber etc...)
Defining responsibilities prior to the design stages starting
For those working to BIM Level-2, this information can be exported to form part of the Employer's Information Requirements and then the BIM Execution Plan.

As the project develops and the concepts have been agreed the design team that has been appointed will then make these decisions. The screenshot below shows that the structural engineer has now selected the specific systems using the new 'system picker'.

Also shown in the screenshot is an indicator to the project team on how many decisions are remaining. The initial digital plan of work acts as a checklist for the design and specification decisions at Stage 3 of a project.
Selecting the systems to be designed and specified.
For those project team members using NBS Create, the data from this digital plan of work can then be used to generate a specification that is ready to be prepared. This can be achieved by selecting each of the specific systems and then clicking the 'Generate Specification' button.

Although the above example looks at design, this BIM Toolkit 'picker' functionality also works for the handover stage too. An example would be where the heat emitter deliverable is replaced by air curtains and fan convectors once this is known.

2. Start a job with template deliverables
The previously described ability to bridge the information flow gap between strategy/brief and design was the number one request. However, shortly following this was the feedback that it would be really useful to have an '80/20' list of the likely deliverables on a project.

The basic RIBA Plan of Work template project now contains around 160 systems for a 'typical' building. It is hoped that this helps users get started and aids the initial conversation between the consultant and the client when considering information requirements. If at the start of a project it is known that no excavating and filling is needed - this item can be deleted. Equally, if a more unusual item such as straw bale walling is to be used, then this can be added to the list using the 'Add deliverable' button.

80/20 inclusion of systems in a typical building
Thanks must go to our NBS Advisory Panel who helped put this list together over the last few months based on their experience on recent projects.

3. See a case study of a real project
The third main enhancement is the ability to quickly open up and glance through a real life project. The screenshot below shows that the user can select a case study example from the new project wizard.
Select a case study
At the time of writing this blog, there is a case study for a school project. Hopefully over the coming months we'll get a few more case studies in from different sectors. Example content from this case study can be seen below. It should be noted that example briefing notes can be seen against each deliverable that are relevant to a school project.

Example school project.
Many thanks to Alistair from Manchester City Council and Mark S from PCSG for their support with this case study :)

So, it's great to see the BIM Toolkit continuing the improve in response to customer needs. The whole web application is completely free to use and this includes (a) the level of definition guides, (b) the classification tables and (c) the digital plan of work functionality. We hope you are finding it a great resource whether you are working to BIM Level 2 - or whether you simply just want a well-structured design responsibility matrix and schedule of services.

Please check out:
- A three minute video introduction to the BIM Toolkit
- A detailed introduction to the BIM Toolkit
- Case study - The BIM Toolkit being used on a Secondary School project

Also, a free webinar will take place at 11.15am on Friday 7th October 2016 where my colleague Sarah Grey will be demonstrating these recent enhancements and answering questions. To book your place - please see the webpage below:

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