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Industry bodies cooperate on BIM product data process

23 Jan 17 Three leading construction industry bodies have teamed up in an attempt to bring some clarity to the process of standardising product information for use in Building Information Modelling (BIM).

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), and the Construction Products Association (CPA) have agreed on the respective roles of the ‘LEXiCON’ and ‘BIMHawk’ tools in developing standardised product data parameters and structures.

They hope to resolve the apparent confusion over whether the two initiatives compete or complement each other.

CIBSE has been leading an industry consortium for development of BIMHawk, a project to collect and structure product information in standardised product data templates (PDTs). The CPA – with the support of the BIM Task Group and UK BIM Alliance – has been developing LEXiCON to create, define and record parameter names in a uniform and standardised way and to make those parameters available to all those creating structured data, initially focussing on product data. 

A PDT allows manufacturers to demonstrate the features and describe the properties of a product using standard parameters in support of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings. LEXiCON is a process for defining and publishing that information using a single source of terms so the organisations have agreed to work together.

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By aligning with the LEXiCON methodology, CIBSE will ensure that PDTs can feed directly into the delivery process. The LEXiCON methodology provides the governance to ensure the properties defined are the correct ones, and these will then be aligned with the BuildingSmart Data Dictionary, which is being developed by BuildingSMART International in association with the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

CIBSE will also become a ‘senior relevant authority’ for LEXiCON to further enhance development of parameters for mechanical, electrical and plumbing product data. BESA, CIBSE and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) are already working together with other interested parties in the building services sector, and this agreement will further extend the level of co-ordination and collaboration across the sector.  

“This is just what the industry has been waiting for,” said BESA’s David Frise. “It is more than six months since the passing of the government’s deadline for BIM to be mandatory on public sector projects and we need to urgently drive forward the process for gathering and transmitting project relevant data. This collaboration is, therefore, just what we need to move the whole process on to the next level.”

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