A new software application that helps contractors add facilities data fields into a building-information-model file system throughout the construction cycle is showing promise to address a major pain point with as-built information.
"BIMfx will be revolutionary for the industry," predicts Kevin Bredeson, virtual construction director with Chicago-based Pepper Construction Co., referring to the application by StratusVue, formerly known as PlansandSpecs, also of Chicago. "BIM benefits the design phase through to the construction phase, but there's always been a gap [with the] handover to the owners. I think this is going to narrow the gap, if not eliminate it," says Bredeson, who beta-tested BIMfx.
BIMfx is an intelligent indexing system that gives unique IDs to building-asset data and ties those IDs to points in a BIM file, such as Autodesk Navisworks. Contractors fill in the data during construction so that BIMfx can index the assets as they are installed. Then, the facilities-info-packed Navisworks file can be shared using StratusVue's cloud-based service or viewed using other BIM viewers, such as Autodesk BIM 360 Glue. BIMfx decreases the time it takes to update a model with edits because it syncs only the edits made and not the entire model. If a field is left blank, the software indicates which party should fill it out.
"If a contractor doesn't fill in the list, the owner can see who hasn't filled in blanks," says John Goecke, StratusVue president. He says BIMfx builds upon the "computer operation building info exchange" (COBie) concept of collecting fields of data for owner takeover, but it goes a step beyond COBie by offering more dynamic fields of data entry based on specific job requirements. "COBie happens after the project is over," says Goecke. But since COBie is based primarily on spreadsheets and isn't linked to project or document management solutions, it has been difficult to implement in practice. "It's done at the end of a project. Everyone wants to go home."