In the Open BIM environment, projects are solved in a collaborative and progressive manner, as these are defined as the members of the work team establish proposals and solutions for all the aspects of the project: structures, building services, urban planning, furniture, surroundings, etc.
Open BIM as a project tool.
Duality of work areas
The duality that exists between the work areas is one of the most important features of the workflow implemented in BIMserver.center. The native files of the applications used to develop the projects remain at all times in the private sphere, and are not shared in the cloud. It is the IFC files generated by each application, with the final results and the adopted solutions that are shared in BIMserver.center to enable the collaborative development of the project.
The main property of Open BIM technology is that it is based on the use of IFC standard interchange formats.
By using this format, which is standard and public, and not linked to a specific developer, the durability of the work that has been carried out is guaranteed, since it does not depend on the applications that have been used to carry out the work. Even the own data files of these applications, from a durability point of view of the project, are set aside as auxiliary files, because the IFC file that is generated provides the final information of the project (e.g.: a structural analysis performed using a specific application can be easily verified with another using the IFC file that is generated).
At the same time, it allows for there to be real and efficient communication amongst users, since these formats can be read and generated by the vast majority of applications used in project development.
In the proposed Open BIM workflow, it is established that the description of the elements that make up the project, from a technical point of view, is carried out in each of the specialised applications that is used.
In the workflow that is proposed by classic BIM applications, all the information of the project is managed from a single application and on a single data file. This is simply impossible; look at the different descriptions a room or space can have from a structural, acoustic, thermal, fire safety, electrical, etc. point of view, and the different standards that are applicable in each country. If we look at equipment, this impossibility is even more evident (electrical consumption, noise level, anchor layouts, standard conceptualisation, colours and textures, technical manuals, bills of quantities, maintenance, etc.).
In the proposed Open BIM workflow, the descriptions are highly specialised, as these are carried out from the specific applications that are being used. In other words, each user only manages the information for which she/he is responsible and, also, needs.
The synchronisation concept between models of different applications is introduced in the classic BIM workflow specification. Basically, when two or more applications manage data that affects their models, a communication protocol has to be established which allows an automatic two-way data interchange between these models to guarantee, or ensure the data will always be the same. This approach presents some serious problems.
On one hand, a clear hierarchy of the data that has been introduced is not established, which implies users do not know what information is valid or which element are more important than others.
On the other, it is not possible to have separate and simplified analysis models, due to the introduction of inefficient and even unacceptable complexity levels for the various disciplines working on the project.
In the proposed Open BIM workflow, it is proposed work is to be carried out with continuous and one-way updates, which build the BIM model in a progressive manner. This way, each piece of data or concept is in a single place, where it belongs, and moves in a single direction. Users provide solutions for their specific disciplines and can view the solutions that have been adopted by other users at any moment. However, they will only be able to edit, separately, the part of the project they have been assigned and from the specific application that has been destined to do so.
This way, a clear distribution of responsibilities is guaranteed, as users only provide the information they are responsible for. At the same time, the BIM model is continuously being updated and developed, enriching itself with all the information that is provided by users.