That 5D Feeling: An insight into the recent Middle East BIM uptrend

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  • That 5D Feeling: An insight into the recent Middle East BIM uptrend
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Seb Davies


Seb Davies


Digital Transformation
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The recent uptrend in the Middle East in BIM usage is a step in the right direction for 5D integration. It does, however, come with a spike in misconceptions and confusion.

While the efficiency and visual benefits with 5D BIM – three spatial dimensions plus time and financial costs – are evident, there is room to improve to avoid risks of automation.

Check out RLB’s top ten tips to follow when working with 5D BIM

  1. Check software compatibility: Request the model in file formats that are compatible with your measurement software. Modellers can publish into alternative formats from their native file type, however geometric properties can be lost if not done correctly. A popular programme named after a depressingly rare African animal produces great conceptual design, but the software is not compatible for Quantity Take Off (QTO), even if published into alternative file types. Be cognisant of the file types you are being provided with and what can be done with them.
  2. Collaborate with consultants and contractors: Avoid the circular finger pointing of “your model does not work” and the return serve, “your measurement software does not work”. Instead, opt for collaboration and workshopping with key BIM users within the project consultant and contractor teams. Seasoned BIM experts will not necessarily be 5D BIM experts. All the technology insight in the world cannot replace industry and professional standards and knowhow; working together is the only way to move forward.
  3. Remember geometric properties: Always check the BIM models for geometric properties – without these, QTO is not possible. If you do not know what geometric properties are, you need to do some research…
  4. Never assume accuracy: No BIM model should be opened unless the 2D drawing is opened on a second screen for cross-checking. Following BIM models blindly will be disastrous; bulk checks of key quantities are vital to ensure accuracy.
  5. Publishing 2D drawings from the BIM model: In a perfect world, 2D drawings should be published from the BIM model. This is not always the case and updates are made post 2D publishing. Drawing notes are also typically not shown on the BIM model, hence the cross-check between the two is vital.
  6. Cross-check tagging for consistency: Always cross-check BIM item tags with the 2D drawing tagging as they may not be consistent, even when both are referring to the same item.
  7. Switch off graphics for speed: Large, consolidated project BIM models may be slow to upload into measurement software and are, therefore, heavy to operate. Switch off visibility graphics as required, at least until measurement software moves on to the cloud.
  8. Work with the final model: BIM models must be ‘frozen’ at the design stage to be used for QTOs. If you are sent an interim working model, you will miss ongoing design updates. Designers are working with “live” models in the cloud, with multiple users, disciplines and subconsultants from all around the world. Unless the model is final, the design details within will not be.
  9. Don’t rely on a model for all quantities: Expecting that all quantities can be extracted from the BIM model is naïve and risky. We have found success with key structural elements and items taken by count; however, this is all dependent on the quality of the project BIM model.
  10. Don’t blame the software: Avoid the mentality that the measurement software is the issue. Every problem we have encountered thus far has been either modelling or user issues. Just think, if your CD was scratched (pre-iPod days) then the CD player would not be able to play… it’s clearly not the fault of the player (measurement software) but the CD (BIM model). As for user errors, recall your uncle trying to take his first selfie or your boss trying to unmute themselves on their first video call. When the smart device is smarter than the user, there is only one place where the issue lies. Do not fall foul to the wrong side of technology.

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