IFC for Asite Collaborative Bulding Information Model (BIM)

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Company background

Asite delivers complete data logistics solutions at every point in the supply chain, enabling the whole enterprise to work more closely together. Our product portfolio includes tools for collaboration, trading and sourcing.

Asite Collaborative BIM introduction

Asite Collaborative Building Information Model (BIM) is built on Asite’s collaboration system and is developed together with technology partners EPM Technology AS and Octaga AS. Asite Collaboration is an established collaboration platform serving the global engineering and construction industries.

Asite Collaborative BIM is the first collaboration tool which enables distributed supply chains to interact around a centralised BIM. This is achieved via the introduction of "Smart Objects" into the Asite software platform. A smart object could be an air conditioning unit within a BIM that can also contain data about its supplier, lead in times, operation and maintenance procedures, flow rates and clearance requirements.

Asite Collaborative BIM recognises that different organisations within a project team will be responsible for different elements of a building. Within Asite's Collaboration platform, users interact with the overall BIM model which contains components and models uploaded by each party.

By linking "Smart Objects" to product catalogues stored within Asite's e-procurement systems, real-time pricing based on negotiated rates and integrated purchasing is enabled straight from the model.

By offering BIM as an online service within a proven collaboration platform, Asite enables any organisation to collaborate, work with building information models and view 3D drawings via a standard internet browser.

Technical Description

Asite Collaborative BIM is built on the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). The IFC schema sets the international standard for data exchange and sharing of building and construction life cycle information. The independence of the IFC format means that it is not limited to CAD software or any particular software vendor.

The BIM is stored in the IFC Model Server provided by EPM Technology AS. This adds support for the Express-based IFC schema into Asite’s existing relational database server farms. By utilising the Java API of the model server, the rest of the Asite J2EE-based platform connects to and interacts with the model.

Asite has integrated Octaga Modeller from Octaga AS as the preferred 3D viewer of IFC files via a tightly-coupled java integration. Asite and Octaga have worked extensively together to provide a 3D viewer applet customised for end-user needs and optimised for Asite Collaborative BIM.

Events and presentations

A first version of Asite BIM was previewed at the Rethinking Construction Update event at the Great Eastern Hotel, London on the 4th of October. The initial reaction from Sir John Egan was "Asite has delivered on my vision".

The forthcoming release of Asite BIM was announced at the 3rd International BuildingSmart Conference held by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) in Washington DC on 1st of November 2006.

Asite is now looking forward to playing a leading role in the next IAI International conference taking place in the UK in April of 2007. This will be another opportunity for Asite to demonstrate that the company is delivering data logistics to the Nth dimension.

Future

Asite Collaborative BIM is based on IFC and any client supporting IFC can directly import components or complete models as smart objects. By leveraging the increasing adoption of IFC by major CAD vendors, Asite Collaborative BIM will enable data exchange within teams where various CAD systems are in use.

Asite Trading is a feature rich e-procurement application to which subscribed traders and suppliers are connected. Asite Collaborative BIM will allow integration between objects in a drawing and products in online catalogues.

An installable client is in the works that will bring Asite BIM to the desktop. It will facilitate document upload, synchronisation and allow off-line working.