7 benefits of a 'connected' workflow when validating BIM models
In today’s BIM world, OpenBIM is a must in most projects. Delivering and receiving projects in OpenBIM ensures efficient collaboration between all stakeholders. BuildingSmart created IFC format as an open concept, so all stakeholders can use them without being limited to particular software.
IFC file format was used as a delivery file, but we intend to use it in our everyday workflow. So regardless of the BIM modelling tool, you can always collaborate, and the whole team works the same way. We will use IFC to check what we are sharing with the team.
In BIMcollab ZOOM, it is easy to check the models with Smart Views. You can perform Clash detection and track these clashes with the Smart Issues tool, as well as create Lists transforming the model data into readable and understandable information. Even with the last release, you might be willing to try Smart Properties to arrange better the IFC you are provided with. Then, by connecting ZOOM to BIMcollab Cloud, you can create issues and synchronise everything to the project in the cloud. This way, you are part of the team and not alone anymore in this task.
But let me go step by step:
1) Centralising the model’s folder
First of all, when you are working in a team, you want everybody to use the same files to avoid redundant tasks, double-checking, and duplicated issues. So, an effortless way is to point the whole team to the file’s path in BIMcollab ZOOM files settings and ensure everybody is using the latest files. When you work connected to the Cloud Space, whenever you open the Federated model to perform your validation tasks, you will load the latest files without even noticing. You and the whole team will always be up-to-date with the files, or at least work with the same “approved” files.
Of course, you can reload a file manually, but this task will run automatically when you open ZOOM and connect to the project—this way, we avoid the “human factor” and work faster.
Once you are ready, let’s check if the data is correct. If not, let’s find somebody in the team who can help you improve the model.
Until now, when using BIMcollab ZOOM, you create your federated models and have your Smart Views to check element values quickly and visually. But once you detect some strange values, you should be back to the editing tool and add or correct the data… But how? Which element? Where is it? How many are left?
2) Detecting issues and solving them as a team
Projects can get big and complex, and because of this, issues are bound to surface. You can improve the communication by connecting BIMcollab ZOOM to the project in Cloud. By connecting our ecosystems, you can move and solve the issues freely with the team, and you are not restricted to using specific software for this to happen.
Let me give you an example: Let’s say you have a Smart View for the level naming check. You run the Smart View and detect that one of the models has non-standardized level names. You can create an issue and send them to the discipline’s BIM coordinator to change the level’s naming to match the BEP. He will receive a mail and can go straight to the model to rename according to the common agreements.
Now you are checking the Fire resistance, and you detect elements without this data. Again, you can isolate these elements and create an issue asking for this information. When at the other side, and thanks to the BCF file (which runs behind the issue), the camera position is the same, and the elements are visible in the modelling tools allowing the team to add this data quickly. Next time you perform the same checking, this data should be corrected, and you will be able to close the issue so that you have improved the Project management statistics working as a team.
3) Sharing Smart Views, Clash Rules and Lists
I’m sure you’ve been using ZOOM for your projects. But when there are several people in the team, you need to make sure everybody uses the same rules. A manager’s nightmare is when somebody steps out of the path, makes changes or decides to improve some checking. Now the manager has a problem understanding, accepting the improvement (or not) and updating the rest of the team. And again: are we still working the same way together? For how long?
When connected to a project, you can share the settings such as Smart Views, Clash Rules and Lists with your team so everybody involved can use the same ones on their computer. If you decide to change or adapt the Rules, this will be updated to every single user next time they connect to the cloud. You can set up some users who can help you keep the Shared folder (available in Smart Views, Clash Rules and Lists) up to date by granting them edit rights. You and your inner circle will work shoulder to shoulder, to push the project forward. Easy, synchronised and effective.
4) Sharing Up-To-Date Model Data
We can all agree, there is no BIM without the Information embedded in the project and elements. With the full ZOOM version, you can check the IFC models and extract information via Lists with all the desired data tidily grouped. This feature deserves an article on its own, but for now, I would like to talk about sharing this data with your team.
Once you decide which information is interesting to be shown in a list, you can share this information with the team like you share Smart Views and Clash Rules: by connecting to your project in BIMcollab Cloud. You don’t have to leave ZOOM to do this.
There might be situations where you are working with team members who are not using ZOOM, but they are interested in the data you can extract from the model. Not a problem; by connecting ZOOM to BIMcollab Cloud, your Lists will also be available online. All they need to do is log in to the project in BIMcollab Cloud via the web browser. Everything is up-to-date and accessible for all your stakeholders.
BIMcollab Cloud lets you connect your project to Power BI to add an extra layer for analysis. You can send your project data to Power BI and customise your data dashboards to fit your needs. You can visualise your data to help you better understand your model information through graphs and figures. Updating your project in Power BI requires a single click.
5) Use the same files by integrating with a CDE
When using BIMcollab ZOOM, you can open the models and perform model validation. That’s no secret. But the effort done in every single tool in the BIMcollab Ecosystem is for managing issues and sharing data.
First, let me point out that BIMcollab is not a CDE. No models are stored on the BIMcollab servers, and only issues (BCF files) are shared with the team. But you can let ZOOM know where you keep your models.
Working via BIMcollab Cloud makes integration with your CDE possible, and you can view your models located in your CDE.
When having a ZOOM / Cloud connection, you can point ZOOM to the same CDE and load in ZOOM the files your team is watching in the Cloud. We agreed on a Project Folder in step 1, but now we just added another loop.
This way, nobody in your team is working with outdated files. Not even the ones who have no 3D tools. This leads us to the non-BIM team members. They can also participate in the project.
6) ZOOM for non-technical users
In every team, some users may not have BIM knowledge, but they want to see the model. Now reading these lines, I’m sure you have somebody in mind. This user does not participate in modelling the project but wants to see it in 3D. Not to change the model on their own, but to check it and maybe to share some thoughts.
ZOOM can be used as a viewer. Let’s get everything ready (and easy) for them. Make sure this user in the Cloud has ZOOM installed (and for free) and he is part of the BIMcollab Cloud project. They have enough to connect to the project. The models will be loaded (steps 1 and 5 in this article). Issues are available in the tab, and they can explore the model independently. An easy and effective way to get them also onboard. That’s what it is all about. To collaborate.
7) BONUS: Included ZOOM licenses when choosing a BIMcollab Cloud plan
If this article caught your attention, and you’re considering a connected workflow, let me tell you the good news. When purchasing a Connected plan with 25 users, you automatically get 1 ZOOM license for your team. This license can be used for four users of your choice. You can manage the license pool at your space settings. Then the chosen users have full access to all the ZOOM features.
8) Let’s sum it up:
BIMcollab ZOOM as a tool is brilliant, but we can make it even more helpful if we connect to the Cloud to better communicate with the team, moreover, we can track the issues using the best of both tools.
Using ZOOM connected to Cloud, we improve by:
- Having a single folder for the whole team with the updated models
- Working as a team and sharing the workload (and responsibilities)
- Ensure the team uses the same updated checking rules
- Be able to share lists and data with the team
- Use (and review) the same files you have stored in your CDE
- Let non-technical stakeholders be able to visualise the project's issues in a simple 3D environment
- When you have a team (+25) to manage, you will get a full ZOOM license included in the package
Would you like to discuss your BIM-challenges?