BIM Agreement

Three UK construction industry bodies are aiming to clear up what they see as growing confusion over the process of standardising product information for use in Building Information Modelling (BIM).

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), and the Construction Products Association (CPA) have agreed on the respective roles of the LEXiCON and BIMHawk tools in developing standardised product data parameters and structures.

They said this should resolve the apparent confusion over whether the two initiatives competed with or complemented each other.

CIBSE has been leading an industry consortium for development of BIMHawk, a project to collect and structure product information in standardised product data templates (PDTs).

The CPA – with the support of the BIM Task Group and UK BIM Alliance – has been developing LEXiCON to create, define and record parameter names in a uniform and standardised way, and to make those parameters available to all those creating structured data, initially focusing on product data.

According to the CPA, a PDT allows manufacturers to demonstrate the features and describe the properties of a product using standard parameters in support of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings. LEXiCON is a process for defining and publishing that information using a single source of terms, so the organisations have agreed to work together.

By aligning with the LEXiCON methodology, CIBSE said it would ensure that PDTs could feed directly and seamlessly into the delivery process.

The LEXiCON methodology is said to provide the governance to ensure the properties defined were the correct ones, and these would then be aligned with the buildingSmart Data Dictionary, which is being developed by buildingSMART International in association with the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

CIBSE will also become a Senior Relevant Authority for LEXiCON to enhance further development of parameters for mechanical, electrical and plumbing product data. BESA, CIBSE and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) are already working together with many interested parties in the building services sector, and said this agreement would extend the level of co-ordination and collaboration across the sector further.

BESA’s David Frise said, “This is just what the industry has been waiting for.”

He pointed out that it was more than six months since the passing of the government’s deadline for BIM to be mandatory on public sector projects, and that there was an urgent need to drive forward the process for gathering and transmitting project relevant data.

“This collaboration is, therefore, just what we need to move the whole process on to the next level,” said Frise.