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Our standpoint on Building Information Modeling

Making the consultants life easier with ABB

I am responsible globally for the building segment at ABB and have led our Building Information Modeling (BIM) initiative for about two years. If speed is the mantra of today’s world, then BIM is a perfect example of a rapidly changing area and one in which I have much experience. In many countries in which ABB operates, either BIM is compulsory or its evaluation when considering public building projects is compulsory.

Whether mandatory or not, it is, as a matter of fact, the de facto standard for most large building projects around the world. This is because BIM makes two improvements possible: collaboration and control. As an innately-collaborative framework, BIM is the best team enabler in the building segment, allowing all stakeholders on a project to interact constantly and pervasively across the design and commissioning phase.

BIM enables all architects and engineers to access and implement all the construction data and content, even before the cornerstone of the building is in place. It ensures that cost, time, and resources are under control throughout the whole building’s lifetime, making a BIM project cost effective and rapid as compared to traditional methods. That’s why, in times of disruptive innovation, BIM should be listed among the technologies that are changing our world, specifically making building technologies smarter and cheaper. The shift of paradigm from physical to digital is so strong that a mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineer told me once that among similar trusted solutions from different brands, she often chooses the one with the best BIM objects to incorporate.

Together with our ABB team of BIM experts, we have spent quite a long time listening to customers, to understand their expectations and points of view on various aspects related to the proper approach to BIM. We have surveyed architects and engineers to find out which software platforms they prefer for sketching, designing, making estimates for bids and quotes, and for approaching their investors. We made these enquiries because we wanted to know which BIM objects to develop and in which format, whether open or proprietary, and in which warehouse we could develop to ensure customers would pick out off the shelf ABB solutions and place them into their buildings.

This fast evolving technology is crying out for standardization. Currently there is none. There is competition on platforms, content, and repositories and the development is very dynamic. Despite this, it is nevertheless my intention to deliver to MEP engineers as much BIM object stock as I can within the ABB offering.

So far ABB has chosen a blended approach, offering most BIM objects for off the shelf solutions from our “download center”, where they can be accessed by category or by product line. At the same time we’re collaborating with many third party repositories, to contribute to an open ecosystem. Objects are available in both proprietary and open formats, which mirrors the divided opinion of engineers on this topic. For partly or fully customized objects I’m currently working to develop tools to help consultants get the most out of ABB’s service.

Finally, and most relevantly, is the human factor. All our technical promotion engineers active in the building segment are now enabled to exchange BIM projects and content with consultants and architects, and we are working to train all our people to manage BIM-related requirements.

All these activities have only one purpose: to make the consultants’ life easier with ABB. Thanks to premium partners, expert ABB engineers and the hard work we put in every day, this is becomingincreasingly possible. If you want to see and learn more about BIM, please visit our webpage. If you have an opinion about our offering, or would like to discuss your daily problems with BIM or the fast-changing building business, why not contact me, I would love to get feedback from you. Just post it below and I will happily reply!

 

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