IN THE last few years, Building Information Modelling (BIM) has grown from relative infancy to become a critical element in many construction projects. Security Matters hears from Marc Ameryckx (BIM manager for ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions in the EMEIA) about the benefits of a process which is much easier than many would imagine.
Security Matters: For those professionals who may be totally new to the BIM process – whether they’re an architect, specifier or building contractor – could you explain precisely what it is?
Marc Ameryckx: Every building project needs co-ordination of vast amounts of information to move it from the original idea to bricks and mortar. Fundamentally, BIM is focused on the digitisation of this process.
One important thing to understand is that it’s not just software, and not just the visual model, but rather the process/workflow itself. The 3D renderings so often associated with BIM are not solely about aesthetics. The data behind the images is also very important.
All of the products and materials used within a construction process should be included, with as much high-quality data as possible assigned to them. All stakeholders then have access to this centralised source – ie ‘the model’ – which ultimately helps to minimise design and engineering errors. When one stakeholder makes changes, the update propagates through the entire system. In this way, everyone is always up-to-date.
Importantly, effective BIM helps to eliminate mistakes before they happen or otherwise allows their identification as early as possible. The earlier that any problems are solved, the less they cost.
Security Matters: For an architect or building planner, what are the key benefits of involving security specialists in their BIM process?
Marc Ameryckx: There is a major education benefit for architects and engineers who are often not aware of the complexity of doors and security solutions.
As security solutions have developed and become more sophisticated, so too has their impact on the overall building environment. If doors, entrances and access control solutions don’t have the features required by the building manager from the outset, it can become a real challenge to implement this at a later stage.
Security systems are now crucial components within buildings. They should be factored-in as early as possible. Partnering with a security solutions manufacturer who has demonstrable BIM expertise is the best way to do this.
Security Matters: Beyond the design and construction stages, can an effective BIM process deliver benefits further down the line?
Marc Ameryckx: BIM has benefits through a building’s full life cycle. If good quality data is put in at the start of the process, there are obvious long-term benefits to be realised for those maintaining and controlling the building once occupation begins. For example, the more data that’s to hand on the security products and solutions in place, the easier it is to maintain the building and act when needed.
Security managers should be pushing BIM workflows and data quality so that they can use the ‘as built’ model in their assessments and understand systems that have been selected. If specifiers are thinking about security devices early on in the process, this data is available for future use by maintenance or in consultation if something goes wrong.
Rather than having lots of documents stored in different places, many of which are inevitably lost or otherwise misplaced, a centralised and easily accessible BIM ecosystem will harbour all of the available data that’s required.
Security Matters: It all sounds slightly futuristic. Is BIM something stakeholders should be looking at now or planning for in the longer term?
Marc Ameryckx: BIM is quickly moving to centre stage, especially so when it comes to complex and/or public building projects. Its benefits are too great to ignore whether you’re discussing cost reduction, on-time delivery, future-proofing buildings or creating a trustworthy data store for facilities management down the line.
For anyone who wants to make the most out of their building over its full life cycle, BIM is becoming a ‘must’.
Security Matters: Looking further forward, what does the future hold for BIM in your view?
Marc Ameryckx: In times ahead there will be better data and more sophisticated applications of that data. For example, we’re beginning to see the development of ‘digital twins’. Users can create a digital twin of a building to simulate different situations in advance in order to find out what may happen if systems are changed.
For instance, security managers could assess the impact of implementing an upgraded access control solution. In turn, this would reduce the risk of unforeseen complications. This ultimately relies on high quality, accessible data.
The BIM process can sound daunting, as can the specification of security devices and solutions. This is precisely why we’ve established regional ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions BIM and Specification teams across the EMEIA region. Digitisation of the entire building design and construction process has already begun.