usBIM is a cloud-based BIM collaboration platform or common data environment (CDE) from Italian software developer ACCA, set to be launched in 2019.
Based in Italy, about 40km east of Naples, ACCA is a software developer specialising in applications for the architectural, engineering and construction industries. Founded in 1989, it has been developing solutions for wide range of construction industry needs, and now has over 90 solutions in its portfolio. These range from architectural design, bills of quantities, structural design and analysis, maintenance plans and facility management, to health and safety, energy efficiency, scaffolding, technical systems engineering, fire prevention, renewable energy and office management. A member of BuildingSMART International, ACCA claims to have the largest number of IFC-certified BIM software solutions in the world.
ACCA’s main architectural design authoring tool is a BIM application called Edificius. Unlike some well-known industry solutions, this is available on a convenient Pay-As-You-Go monthly plan for €59pcm, or on an annual license subscription plan for €599/year. There are also variants of Edificius for landscape and MEP design use. Like its fellow European design authoring software vendor and BuildingSMART member, Bricsys (posts), ACCA has also been developing a cloud-based collaboration solution.
Complementing Edificius and other locally installed products will be usBIM, a cloud-based BIM management platform. Currently undergoing final auditing and testing ahead of a 2019 launch, usBIM will provide a CDE (Common Data Environment) and enable direct online interaction with model-related objects, data and documents.
In keeping with ACCA’s open standards/BuildingSMART ethos, usBIM allows users to build and manage entire models using open formats (IFC, PDF, XML, etc) rather than proprietary ones. usBIM users can interact with the platform anywhere, anytime and from any device without having to use any proprietary software.
The core platform functionality is supported by a browser tool (usBIM.browser) and by a project management application called PriMus (through which users can can “share and exchange documents in open formats such as XML, PDF, JPG, etc. and able to guarantee full authenticity, security and source of the data…”). The core cloud solution stack comprises:
- usBIM.viewer+ – a plug-in that simplifies communication between the different collaborators on the platform, enabling them to view IFC files of 3D virtual models from BIM software such as Edificius®, Revit®, ArchiCAD®, Allplan®, Tekla®, VectorWorks® and others … without the need for the native BIM software. Multiple IFC files can be combined in a single view, to simultaneously view all the design aspects in an integrated way.
- usBIM.gantt – a plug-in for project management, scheduling and 4D time simulation of the whole construction process. Project managers can assign a time-line related property to each component of the BIM model in IFC format to see the entire construction process.
- usBIM.clash – a BIM clash detection plug-in that can be integrated with the usBIM.platform and with other ACCA software BIM authoring software and tools, and which allows users to check and manage conflicts between federated IFC BIM models.
- usBIM.code – a BIM code checking plug-in that allows control and validation of the IFC model with regard to standards and procedures outlining the scope of the project requirements.
ACCA’s Tony de Palma says usBIM is hosted in Europe: “The service is hosted using two servers in the EU territory, with data storage and processing all undertaken exclusively within EU territories. The service infrastructure follows the CISPE (Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe) code of conduct, and incorporates data protection systems in line with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).”
The usBIM.Platform CDE has been tested by various Italian local authorities including the Provveditorato ai Lavori Pubblici di Lombardia & Emilia Romagna. De Palma says subscription fees for the service have yet to be finalised but are, at least initially, likely to be based upon a single administration fee, with no limit on number of users or number of projects.