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BIM Project Aids Closer Collaboration

Team Seeks Low-Carbon Supply Chain

29 February 2016

Costain has demonstrated its industry leadership in BIM (Building Information Modelling) by playing a key part in a project tackling some of the challenges of BIM Level 3.

David Owens, Costain Design & BIM Manager took a lead role in Clouds for Coordination (C4C): a recently completed project aiming to solve some of the issues around the implementation of BIM Level 3. The two-year project was part-funded by Innovate UK, the UK Government’s innovation agency, and a number of industry partners including BRE, Cardiff Uni, IBM and AEC3.

Industry BIM leaders from Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Highways England, Environment Agency, HS2, Autodesk, Trimble and Bentley Systems were in attendance.

Says David: “BIM Level 3 presents challenges around who owns the data (and is therefore liable if part of the model is wrong) and trust in the data. The BIM Level 3 process will need an evolution in the way we share data in construction and how contracts view these transactions.”

The aim of the C4C project therefore was to ensure that the right people get the right data at the right time.

Says David: “To achieve that, C4C successfully developed a ‘cloud’ facility which followed the BS1192 protocol and respected the need for Check, Review, and Approve of all project data and the range of suitability levels and extent of project partners and their staff.

It adopted the approach that each party involved continues to create and be responsible for its own BIM data but instead of uploading it to a central electronic document management system, the project team stores it on its own servers or cloud. C4C retrieves the shared/published data, merges the files and distributes a ‘suitable’ .ifc (Industry Foundation Classes) file to the project partners.

“C4C tracked that process, and once data (including 3D) met the clients’ criteria and only that criteria, those objects/data were instantly shared with other project participants’ servers. This can then be used as a reference model for the other disciplines – for example the architects can share the building envelope with the structural engineers. Key to this was to ‘tag’ each and every object with a ‘suitability’, at present we only declare suitability at a file level.

“C4C has helped us take a significant step towards full collaboration between all disciplines using a single, shared model.”


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