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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are AEC projects’ key collaboration issues?

Even at the smallest scale – AEC projects are endeavors charged with serious collaboration challenges. Successfully completed building projects are the result of the collaboration of different teams of building professionals such as architects, different types of engineers and a network of the general contractor and subcontractors. These teams more often than not have divergent “trade” priorities and belong to independent organizations with counter-pointing interests.

Due to the above these are collaboration issues present in most AEC projects:

2. What are various approaches to address collaboration issues?

Sticking to the technical level coordination between the different trades has been through a long evolution. Traditionally different trades submitted full printed documentation sets at the different stages of the design process and used light-tables to try and coordinate the different building structures and building systems. This approach is still popular today with paper’s digital equivalents the still 2D DWG and PDF based collaboration workflows.

With the advent of model based design (BIM) design collaboration entered a new era with the much richer building information model data. With BIM models there has been an increasing demand for true model based collaboration. Two fundamentally different approaches emerged one known as the “platform” approach where collaboration happens using the different branches of the same software solution, the other known as the “open” approach where different software solutions form the basis of model-based collaboration.

3. What are the characteristics of the “traditional” approach?

Traditional approach to interdisciplinary collaboration basically means any form of 2D collaboration including paper, DWG or PDF or any other 2D forms. This approach can be characterized as follows:

4. What are the characteristics of the “platform” approach?

One of the prominent approaches to model-based (BIM) collaboration is the platform approach where the different branches of the same product family are used to provide binary compatibility. This data-level compatibility on its own may leave serious gaps in the coordination workflow:

5. What are the characteristics of the “open” approach?

The other prominent approach to model based collaboration promotes open collaboration workflows where complex company and project structures are fully appreciated. This approach elevates the conversation from the data level to the workflow level making data what it is a medium or vehicle of high-level information. With this approach project participants can be selected based upon their professional expertise and not particular software being used.

6. What is the official definition of OPEN BIM?

OPEN BIM is a universal approach to the collaborative design, realization and operation of buildings based on open standards and workflows. OPEN BIM is an initiative of buildingSMART and several leading software vendors using the open buildingSMART Data Model.

7. What is the goal of the OPEN BIM movement?

The only goal of the OPEN BIM movement is to promote open collaboration workflows for better-coordinated projects. This goal is primarily achieved through a globally common publicly achievable OPEN BIM branding supported with clear definitions, specific requirements and best practices to help implementation.

8. Who are behind the OPEN BIM movement?

The OPEN BIM movement has been started by two software vendors – Tekla and GRAPHISOFT and is supported by various organizations such as buildingSMART. OPEN BIM at the same time is not an exclusive club instead an inclusive movement welcoming any organization in the AEC industry to join that is ready to support the overall goals and fulfill the agreed set of requirements.

9. What does OPEN BIM have to offer to me?

The OPEN BIM movement offers various benefits to the different types of organizations (see below) but provides the below toolkit to anyone joining the movement:

10. Why should my organization join OPEN BIM?

Organizations all over the world have been encountering the collaboration issues detailed above. Different collaboration strategies have been used to address them including in many cases open collaboration workflow. At the same time open collaboration practices were used more as necessity in a plural AEC environment rather then intentional strategy to deliver better-coordinated projects.

The OPEN BIM movement elevates open collaboration to a strategic level where like-minded AEC professionals build upon their plurality to deliver building projects better coordinated, with less errors and in higher quality.

Should you or your organization share these values joining the OPEN BIM movement not only provides you with guidelines and best practices but also with common branding and international visibility to leverage upon these values and maximize the value of your projects. OPEN COLLABORATION → BETTER BIM!

11. What are the requirements for joining OPEN BIM?

The OPEN BIM program welcomes not only software vendors but Organizations and Building Projects of the AEC industry as well. The OPEN BIM™ logo is a guarantee that a software solution, a design or engineering practice or a building project fully meets the requirements of open collaboration. Participants of the OPEN BIM Program agree to fully comply with the following requirement respective to its role in the AEC industry:

Software Vendors

Organizations in the AEC Industry

Building Projects in the AEC Industry

12. What are the benefits of OPEN BIM for software vendors?

AEC software vendors’ primary benefit to join the OPEN BIM movement is that they can offer their clients with open collaboration workflows that provide competitive advantage on local AEC markets. The OPEN BIM branding guarantees that the solutions developed by participating vendors comply with the OPEN BIM requirements and do not impose unnecessary limitations to AEC practices choosing their software to collaborate with any other practices.

13. What are the benefits of OPEN BIM for organization in the AEC industry?

In contrast to CLOSED (or “proprietary”) BIM the OPEN strategy offers great benefits to building professionals:

14. What are the benefits of OPEN BIM for building projects in the AEC industry?

Building projects themselves are products with their own market. With diminishing differences in building materials and technology, next to buildings’ genuine design added labels such as “sustainability” can greatly increase the potential project value on the market. The OPEN BIM movement offers projects an additional label with very positive associations. Future owners, operators and tenants of such buildings will have better chances to further utilize the digital building model if it was created using the OPEN BIM approach in the first place. This promise is worth more and more real $$$ with the continuously elongate building cycles.

15. Where can I find more information about OPEN BIM?

OPEN BIM is supported by various organizations that host related information in their own domains. To find some relevant information you may also choose to visit any of the following pages: (buildingSMART) (Tekla) (GRAPHISOFT) (Nemetschek Allplan) (Nemetschek Vectorworks) (Nemetschek Scia) (Data Design System)