Software news in the latest issue of UK construction industry magazine, Building, talks about Asite BIM, suggesting that the UK project collaboration vendor is “about to shake up the world of online collaboration again with the launch of an online single building model”.
“Users will be able to collaborate on the design of the building, tender it, order components, then collaborate on its construction all in one environment. This should eliminate design errors and clashes – an audit trail tracks changes, and a tool ensures they are authorised.
… the model interfaces with other Asite tools, and external users’ software. For example, users can select the doors for a project, then go to the Asite procurement tool, view prices and purchase them.
Intelligent objects that meet the internationally recognised IFC standard allow a range of software tools to use this data. For example, designers can work with their in-house software but can update the building information model (BIM) because of the IFC standard.
Users can also check the BIM using Asite’s viewer. The design can then be tendered on Asite – all the components being identified makes this much easier. Once it reaches the construction stage, components can be easily ordered and the team can continue to collaborate using the tool.
Asite CEO Tony Ryan admits the solution is “not going to change the world overnight. There is a gradual change from 2D to 3D, then to a BIM. It’s [sic] will be a gradual adoption.” The article finishes by saying Asite will launch its BIM in April: “We would like to have our first projects using this by the third or fourth quarter of this year,” says Tony.
Asite first talked about its BIM product last October, then announced (again) the “forthcoming release of Asite Collaborative BIM at the Building SMART Week Conference” in Washington DC (see 24 October 2006 post). Presumably, the Asite BIM release date will coincide with the third buildingSMART international conference in London on 18 April – part sponsored by Asite (see post).
I think Tony is right to be cautious about adoption of BIM. As I have previously written (see BIM, BIMs or SBIM?, for example, and I returned to the theme earlier this week), use of genuine BIM (as opposed to 3D) requires a fundamental change in project teams’ approaches to design and construction, and industry experience to date suggests that, even within some quite innovative AEC organisations, the approach may currently only be employed on around one-in-ten projects – and adoption within the wider AEC industry will be much lower than that.
I was intrigued by the mention of an “Asite viewer”. To date, Asite has – like fellow UK vendors 4Projects (see Brava! woes at 4Projects?) and Business Collaborator (among others) – relied on the IGC Brava! product to support its collaboration applications (Project Workflow and Project Workspace). However, a quick Google search and I found the answer.
“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.”