BIM is a collaborative process increasingly supported by an ‘ecosystem’ of solutions that can seamlessly exchange information. Opentree provides some ‘glue’ between internal WIP and CDEs.
At the Viewpoint EMEA user conference in May 2017, I met some of the people from Teesside, UK-based Opentree and talked about its Cabinet product, which facilitates the publication of information from its internal “work in progress” (WIP) electronic document management system to “common data environments” (CDEs), helping compliance with PAS1192-2 processes relating to building information modelling (BIM). At the time, Opentree’s CEO Andy Frank said they were working to integrate the Cabinet EDMS with Viewpoint for Projects via APIs. According to a recent Opentree blog post, and a supporting video, this integration is now working.
- Work in progress (WIP) – where non-verified data is stored and exchanged internally by individual teams or disciplines. In a BIM context, this usually means information is kept within the initial team’s system.
- Shared – After data has been verified, it can be shared with the wider project team for coordination with other design disciplines, etc. This would be the point at which model data would usually enter a client’s CDE.
- Published – Once data is published, the design output can be used as information to procure from or build from.
- Archive – After a built asset is completed, the project’s digital record will be archived in the CDE for knowledge, regulatory, legal and insurance purposes.
A CDE platform may be provided by a project server or a file-based retrieval system, but on most projects, a secure online collaboration platform or ‘extranet’ is typically deployed and made accessible to all authorised project participants.
Opentree COO Dan Taylor-North explains:
Cabinet is typically used to manage file names and statuses within a group of designers. It is not a CDE, but we have been working on integrations with the leading CDE vendors to make it easy for files and related metadata to be exchanged between WIP and a CDE. So, once a file is ready to be Shared, it can be automatically uploaded to the designated project space on, say, Viewpoint For Projects (VFP). And, as the video shows, if the status of a file is changed in Cabinet, the new status is automatically synched with the other environment. As a result, designers can maintain compliant and auditable records relating to their Shared and Published intellectual property.
The Cabinet integration with Viewpoint will be followed by two-way connectors becoming available for other CDE platforms. The company is in discussions with the providers of other solutions widely used in the UK, including Aconex (formerly Conject), Asite and GroupBC, about integrations with their systems.
[Disclosure: Opentree is a client of pwcom.co.uk Limited. This post is not part of my work for the company.]