BIMcollab Twin | Data in a grab bag or bookcase?

As far as I’m concerned, the possibilities of BIM are among the innovations of the century. However, not everyone is convinced yet, as it turns out during a dinner with a friend…

Grab bag

I let my friend imagine putting his phone and his house keys in a grab bag and explain that these two items are now part of a total of 20,000 items, of which 2,000 are telephones and 3,000 are house keys. Then I ask him how much time it would take to find the two items. He immediately admits that this would be very difficult and would take a lot of time. “I quickly get hold of the phone,” he jokes with a laugh, “because I just call my own number. But my bunch of keys…” I pause to let him draw his own conclusions.

I then ask him to repeat this process, but now to label his items with name and address details and information about the object. And to then place these labels in a bookcase with a clear structure by means of shelves-labels-compartments in alphabetical order. I ask him how soon he expects to find his own two items. “Much faster, of course, because based on the label I know which of the 20,000 items are mine,” he admits.


Finally, my friend tells me that it also takes time to write labels and put them in the right place in the bookcase. Sure, that’s right. But how many labels could he write and put away in the time he would otherwise have to find his stuff. The same is true in construction. Coding building information or data into a BIM model takes time. But how nice would it be if he could help his customers, who are always looking for information, in a fraction of the time or even immediately, because he has a system in which all this is arranged. And if he can also explain to those customers what their profit is, then they are willing to pay for it. His smile makes it clear: the message has come across.


Rather than dumping your data in a grab bag, archive your information in a bookcase, ideally according to the spatial structure of your building. The difference between a grab bag and a bookcase is that the latter is normally orderly and tidy. Books are in alphabetical order, sorted by number codes and classified by subject. Finding the right book is therefore a breeze. This way you can also look at your building and all the information you need to build, maintain and manage the building.

Spatial structure

A building file is comparable to a bookcase. If you want to organize it properly, you arrange it according to the spatial structure of the building. Each floor has its own shelf and each room on the floors has its own compartment on the shelf. This way, all information is stored in the right compartment with the right label. You can link this method to the 3D model down to object level, so that you can filter in the model by depth, discipline, labels or other variables that are important to you.

In your building file you can also zoom in on the work processes of your organization, i.e. how you use, maintain and manage a building. If a window is broken, you will quickly find all documents with the dimensions, specifications and installation instructions for that window on the right shelf. And so you can quickly order a new window and repair the damage. In principle, even without someone having been on location first. The same applies to all parts and materials in the building, such as air conditioning filters, door keys, etc. In short: you can control all data about your building from one place.

To build is to inform

So where does the shoe pinch and why doesn’t everyone work this way? Well, I probably don’t have to explain to you that the construction process is sometimes a difficult process and that innovation in a work process quickly causes resistance. Clients deal with various disciplines such as an architect, constructor, installer and all kinds of consultants who make a plan together. Then the contractor who is going to realize the project comes with this plan as a guideline. Subsequently, a property manager must manage and maintain the completed project.

Each party involved creates information that others need, so everyone must be able to find information quickly and completely. This requires a well-organized bookcase building file. With smart innovations and the integration of applications with your building file, you can visualize data in VR, AR and AI and make your work processes even more efficient. Project members can then immediately start working with the correct and approved information. This saves time, prevents irritation and saves money. And above all, you have satisfied customers who know that you can quickly, and for a good price, ensure that they have the correct information in their building file.