The concept of sharing in BIM
The importance of a Common Data Environment (CDE)
BIM is often exclusively thought of as an innovative digital technology, but in fact, its main value lies in its ability to facilitate data sharing. It integrates different areas of expertise and knits them together in a fluid, logical and dynamic process. By fostering an exchange of skills and data in a real-time context, everyone benefits.
As projects become larger, more complex and data-intensive, the construction sector is becoming more and more aware of the importance of collaboration and teamwork and we see it put into practice, with extended work groups being formed on projects. Inevitably, in such cases, the improved organisation and efficiency delivers better results and happier clients.
This is where BIM methodology, which is inherently based on collaboration, really comes into its own. It has the potential to completely revolutionise the construction industry which has traditionally tended to segment the various phases of the production process, operating almost in a silo-like context.
Crucial to coordinating the collaborative process is a reliable, coordinated data flow. Seamless coordination can, of course, only happen if all players involved in a project have continuous, consistent access to the same data. With BIM, that comes in the form of a Common Data Environment (CDE), a collaborative platform which makes information available through shared, regulated conditions in real time. It is the single source of information used to collect, manage and disseminate data for the whole project team.
The CDE contains various types of information that have been collated from different sources and can include registers, contract details, reports and other documents, along with the models used in design and testing.
In order to create a CDE for a project all parties first need to agree on the collaboration platform and set of standards that will be used. They will also need to choose the form it will take, for example it can operate as a simple file-based retrieval system, be stored at single server, or it can also be cloud-based. What is important is that everyone working on the project can access it.
It should also conform to all partners’ data security policies, and on this note, regulations have been introduced to govern how CDEs are used, with all platforms falling under ISO 19650 standards.
Image by Lionheart Capital
Project design by Lissoni Associati