Building a Better BIM Viewer, With Focus on Responsiveness
Getting BIM models to the field has been an ongoing struggle in the industry, with many ambitious stabs at cramming a whole BIM model onto a smartphone. But that focus has been all wrong, says Jukka Muhonen, head of production at Tridify, whose firm’s BIM viewer is targeting ease-of-use.
“The difference is that we use the BIM not to just show you everything, but we can show you just the part you want,” he explains. “We can show you the entire building or a single apartment. There’s no prep work involved, you just push the data to us and we show the model.” Tridify’s cloud-based BIM viewer works off the widely used IFC file format and doesn’t need a tailored BIM file for VR or mobile.
“You simply push the BIM to the IFC file; there is no distinction between any 3D modeling tool that was used by the architect or the HVAC [contractor],”says Muhonen.
The obstacle for broader use of BIM viewers is the idea you need to already know BIM, says Muhonen. Tridify focuses on users who want to view the BIM without the extra work.
Tridify’s approach is based on the idea that not everyone needs the entire model, allowing for elements to be quickly peeled away. “You can separate any piece of a model from any BIM to show it to anyone,” says Muhonen. “They just click a link and see a single building element for review.”
“[Tridify] opens up a great variety of possibilities for further development of VR models as BIM communication tools … not only as being a pure visualization,” says Roope Syvälahti, project manager at WSP Finland Oy.
The viewer is based on WebGL, and runs on most devices. Tridify files can be downloaded and used in the Unity engine with a plug-in, with Unreal support coming soon. Tridify is available with 1GB of storage at $90 per month for an enterprise client, with unlimited users.