Standardization of BIM : the French avant-garde ?

ISO, CEN, Afnor, everyone is working on the digital model and the formats of the files that are associated with it. A huge effort of rationalization is undertaken, in particular by the French actors who are trying to impose their vision at the international level. The Plan for Digital Transition in the Building has just published its roadmap on the topic, which is explained by Souheil Soubra (CSTB), one of its editors.
It has the force of abbreviations and acronyms, and very quickly we lose the non-specialists, “says Souheil Soubra, director of information Technology at the CSTB, a specialist in issues related to the digital model. “But it is a subject that is essential for progress on the deployment of BIM ! It should be a red wire to position the various actions, pre-normative and normative in order to know what we are talking about, how to interface the work with those of others, how to carry a message that upholds the interest of the French players and small structures, “he continued. Standardization is, therefore, necessary but challenging : “If you don’t understand what you are talking about, how to do and how to exchange ? The quality would be very low“.
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Understand the role of the various international committees


The method that has been chosen, the Plan for Digital Transition for the Building, has been to gather experts from different areas related to this matter. “They draw up analysis documents on different themes, “explains Souheil Soubra. A first work, “very fruitful,” according to him, which has enabled France to build a global vision of the problem and to adopt a coherent position. It describes : “The aspects of pre-normative are managed by BuildingSmart for the IFC and by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) for geographic information. The normative part, it is managed at the level of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), and more particularly of the Technical Comittee TC442. The ISO is also working on the issue, but at the international level“. The difference is important : if the ISO standards are being adopted around the world, there is no obligation to apply them. In contrast, a standard adopted at the european level will have direct impact in France. Hence the importance to monitor and guide the work of the CEN, note Souheil Soubra.


The three floors of the standardisation BIM © Plan Digital Transition in the Building


The specialist of the CSTB we then described the different levels of the architecture of the BIM : “there are different floors that are the work of standardization. The 1st floor, first of all, is the one in which are expressed the needs for exchanges between the actors of a project. The 2nd floor, is for him to communicate with machines between them. The 3rd floor, finally, is the terminology where are reported the definitions of the concepts used“. An organization chart already detailed at the trade show BIM World in the month of march 2017. The director of information Technology said : “The recommendation that we made for the first level is to follow the work of CEN TC442 on the process BIM Execution Plan“. He believes that it is probable that what is done at the level of the ISO (TC59/SC13/WG13) on the standard 19650 structure the future of BIM in the world and that, through the Vienna agreement, these standards do not come back to France under the auspices of the CEN…


Too much data kill the data


For the floor 2, the standard IFC, it is necessary to validate simple models for improving the confidence, and move forward on the concept of the MVD, these ‘views trades that allow all actors of a project have access to the information they need, in the phase where it is“, explains Souheil Soubra. A way of not drowning the users of the digital mock-up in a flood of useless data for them. “For the floor 3, it is necessary to continue the work on the dictionaries initiated by the Afnor and worn at the level of CEN“, argues the expert, who wished that the French vision is needed with the support of the pragmatic Dutch. Other issues are also addressed in the document of the UTP, including the integration of buildings in their environment : “It is essential to address the issue of sustainable development as there are mutual influences between the two, the image of an air-conditioned building that undergoes the meteorology and the pollution, but contributes to form an urban heat island“, describes there. The use of the standard CityGML would, according to him, go to the BIM multi-scales.
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Another problem, that of “data containers”, explained the director of information Technology of the CSTB : “We realize that it is impossible to contain everything in the data model IFC : Revit, Excel table, PDF or Word documents… It is thus necessary to integrate all of them in one compressed file“. Souheil Soubra developing in particular the notion of “linked data” (linked data) to external sources on the Web that you have to connect to the IFC. Again, standards will quickly emerge so that exchanges are facilitated and that the actors do not invest in solutions that will be complex to communicate and that, ultimately, will be discontinued. The work of French specialists is therefore essential.


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