3D BIM data delivers some wonderful awe-inspiring models and structured information, but it can be a confusing medium to work with due to the huge array of outputs 3D has on offer. 3D data output comes in various formats from point clouds to intricate geometry. These different formats and outputs are where things start to get complex. Sometimes it is hard to know where to start or what exactly you require from your scan data. The 3D road is beautiful but converting 3D files can eat into your time like a ‘boxset on a bank holiday’. With the AEC industry often tarnished by problems such as growing costs, and project overruns, wastage, and inefficient processes, sorting out your BIM workflow is critical.
Getting the right 3D
We are all aware that it is relatively easy to do an ‘ok’ job, but it is much harder to deliver a perfect one. Getting the Software right can be a big issue, it is expensive, takes a lot of investment and training to learn; and not one piece of software is perfect for every job. Each 3D job may require an array of kit, software, and peripherals. The choices you make are dependent on the industry you work within. For example, Revit is widely used for BIM, but there can be unique and specific requirements to BIM that require different software.
We all know that each sector has its own favourite 3D file software and formats. These choices are driven by the tools used in each sector, which is great, everyone loves a workflow that is smooth and fast. However, sometimes software is used for historical reasons, by this we mean, it is the software the company has used for years and that is just the way they work. Again, whatever works for you is good, but the problems start to emerge when one company works with another, and the combined pipelines must work in harmony.
Sticking to what you know v using the right software for the job
Software makers have their own file format, which is optimised exactly for their software. Mistakes may occur when choosing which option to use when saving or exporting a file. For example, do you want those CAD files saved in ASCII, Binary, or Compressed Binary? Using neutral software goes some-way to help workflows and improve interoperability. Nevertheless, there are often niggles with changing formats. Getting the desired results from scans and models boils down to what you want to do with your end data, and the uniqueness of your needs, and it needs to be planned before you start.
CAD v BIM
BIM files contain information used for industrial, mechanical and electrical design. The files are packed full of information about the model and its performance-characteristics. When you convert between a CAD and BIM, the ‘performance information’ is usually stripped out, leaving a messy file behind. When you use a BIM file format to re-design or move items they re-adjust in logical ways, i.e. The outlet knows it needs to be attached to a wall, the handle, needs to attach to a door. Everything works as it should. The file issues arise when integrating different processes, from different sources, which you are required to build into a single project that works.
When it comes down to 3D modelling and scanning services , its critical to understand what your 3D model will be used for, find out who the models stakeholders are and discuss the expected end outputs, standard IT ‘stuff’, but it will save you time and headaches.
Cooperation between contracting and design teams is a vital requirement when adopting BIM. Work with your partners, find out what software they are using, compare workflows, identify exactly what you need to do with your data first, and set out the expectations of all parties from the outset. Perfect 3D data requires interdisciplinary coordination, not just between designers and building engineers, but with your contractors too.
Our projects span an array of market sectors and are typically multi-disciplinary, which means that our engagement and collaboration across teams is vital when developing 3D models and plans. Should you need advice on 3D file formats and what kind of information will be captured, or you are concerned about your BIM phases and information exchange when collaborating with partners, call us and we will gladly discuss.