Choices. We are forced to make choices every day. Some are easy while others take a lot more effort to make. For instance choosing to make use of an issue management platform is an easy one. The time savings alone are enough for anyone to abandon the old spreadsheets, sticky notes and emails and start working in the cloud. But which platform to choose may be a much harder one to make.
At first glance most BIM issue management platforms seem very similar. And that makes sense as they all started out being based on BuildingsSmart’s BCF-file format. They also seem to offer the same core functionality and benefits. And none of the platforms have a lack of marquee customers to boast about. So how do you choose?
The devil is in the details.
Despite the many similarities you will find that the various platforms do differ greatly in their general approach. And these differences can be of some important consequence as you start integrating the platform in your current workflow. We therefore compiled a list of things to consider when choosing between BIMcollab and BIM Track.
One of the most prominent features of BIM Track is their integrated model viewer while BIMcollab does not offer one out of the box. But that is for a good reason.
At BIMcollab we made the strategic choice to integrate with existing CDE’s instead of building an online viewer ourselves. This is why:
BIM track offers a simple online model viewer and it seems as if they want to compete with major CDE platforms. But they currently lack many of the features offered by other CDE’s.
The integrations currently available for BIMcollab are BIM360 Docs and Trimble Connect.
We asked ourselves what ís essential for creating high quality models for an efficient construction process. Actually there are two pillars:
The smooth integration between the two brings the real productivity gain: how easy can you publish found issues? Can you resolve clashes automatically? Are all issue properties from the issue management system editable, etc?
That’s a real benefit of BIMcollab ZOOM. A desktop BIM application available on Mac and Windows which provides functionality for model validation fully integrated into the issue-management workflow.
This has multiple advantages:
Plug-ins with standard BIM authoring and model checking tools are an essential part of a issue management system to include all participants in the workflow.
BIMcollab has so called BCF managers which work semi-offline so you can choose what you publish with a 'Send- and Receive changes’ approach. BIM Track works with plug-ins based on web-technology meaning you directly edit the online content. Not always what you want when publishing thousands of clashes.
BIMcollab’s BCF managers were released before BIMcollab’s cloud system and allow users to open BCF files to work offline. This is why they are widespread. Where BIMcollab has connectors to many BIM tools like Revit, Navisworks, Solibri, Tekla Structures, ARCHICAD, simplebim, Bexel, TRICAD MS, DDS CAD, and more, BIM track currently only offers 4 (Revit, Navisworks, Tekla Structures and Solibri).
Next to supporting more BIM applications, the BCF Managers of BIMcollab have a number of advantages when compared to the web-based plug-ins provided by BIM Track.
BIM Track dedicates a full page of options allowing you to perform considerable customizations in reporting results. These are however limited to which content is being shown. You are not able to customize your report layout nor are you able to add additional metrics.
BIMcollab provides basic reporting and extended functionality by integrating a much better alternative: Microsoft Power BI. The BIMcollab Power BI connector is ready to use and needs no programming skills; Just install, connect to a project and you are ready to go. While BIM tracks connection to powerBI is offered as a programming interface only usable for developers.
The Power BI platform (desktop, cloud, report builder, on-premises data gateway) will allow you to create fully customizable reports as well as interactive dashboards. These can be embedded into your own intranet or, for instance, into BIM360. The BIMcollab Power BI Connector supports this all and can be downloaded for free.
Both BIM track and BIMcollab offer API’s for 3rd parties to extend their eco system. But once again you can see the differences in strategy. BIMcollab goes further in helping others to connect to their ecosystem by offering several options on different levels of needed expertise.
This attracts more developers, resulting in an already faster expansion ecosystem.
We at BIMcollab focus on actively working together with other 3rd party software developers such as Bricsys, Formitas, Vexel and more in order to expand the eco system as fast as possible.
In the end there will be many factors to consider when deciding which issue management platform to choose. It is our hope that we have made that choice a little bit easier.