Case Studies

The devil is in the data.

BIMstore takes control of their shared parameters to become the leading BIM library in the UK

How bimstore UK took control of shared parameters to become the leading BIM library in the UK.

Seeing an opportunity in the market in 2011, architecture firm Space Group launched what was essentially the first manufacturer specific library of free downloadable BIM content, known as bimstore.

Since then the platform has grown exponentially and now employs the largest team of BIM content creators in the UK, working with over 175 manufacturers.

“Last month our website had an incredible 708,000 views, and downloads are at approximately 30,000 a month,” says Kris Atkinson, Technical Director at bimstore UK.

But getting to this point has meant having to overcome some of the software challenges that BIM can so often present.

“We only host content that is up to the standard of our BIM-bible. One of our processes is ensuring that all Shared Parameters have standard headings to ensure compatibility across platforms such as Revit, Archicad, IFC, Bentley, and Vectorworks.”

RTV Tools’ Shared Parameter Manager automates the process of creating and editing Shared Parameters in Autodesk Revit. It allows users to make edits to parameter values without data loss with functions such as find, replace, substitute, edit or purge and can be set to batch edit a selection of files in the background.

“Without RTV our timescales would be three times longer” says Kris Atkinson, Technical Director at bimstore UK.

A BIM component can have anything up to 100 parameters – everything from height, width, and length, to manufacturer’s website, product cost, and schedule timing – and the standard way of editing them has been to add and fill them all in typically one at a time.

“To bring all the parameters together for a BIM component was painstakingly manual. We had to fill in about 30 fields for 30 components and it could days or weeks to complete the data,” says Kris

“Looking at it now we couldn’t work at our current scale without RTV. We have 6-7 licences for the Shared Parameter Manager and every single person uses it on a daily basis. If we didn’t have it life would be eye-gougingly frustrating.”

Unless shared parameter headings are put in correctly and in the right order, the current software will consider the parameter an unrelated value and push the data into a separate column rendering scheduling basically meaningless.

For example, even a small difference in a heading’s name such as the use of capitals or a space – i.e. ‘AcousticRating’ vs ‘acoustic rating’ – will cause the information not to be in the same location and as a result it may be missed or overlooked. A big problem could arise during construction out of a small but significant software issue in the design phase.

“That’s why here in the UK we have had a government mandate come in to force in 2016 that requires all publicly funded work to be compliant with certain BIM standards (i.e Level 2) such as the COBie standard which has specific parameters that must be set out correctly,” say Kris

“RTV Shared Parameter helps us with adding our ‘COBie’ parameters because we can take our Shared Parameter template file and pump the parameters into a whole batch of files, taking 2 -3 minutes instead of hours. This allows our content to be structured and organised much more efficiently.”

The UK and North America are considered as being at the forefront of BIM but Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have also started looking at local standards and mandates pushing the industry to consider the digital side of construction and to take advantage of all that BIM has to offer.

“It’s been a real kick for everybody to get involved with these processes and software applications like RTV Shared Parameter Manager has been needed to catch up and bridge the gap between different disciplines in the industry, making the tasks in hand quicker and easier to do”

“These models are not just being used for 4D construction plans, they’re being used for facilities management and that information is really powerful for clients and building owners. The buildings are becoming very intelligent but that information has to be built correctly into the models from the start.”

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