Safelab Supports Digital Building Initiative

04th April 2017

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is already making the delivery of new construction projects more efficient. By creating digital models of the building, all project stakeholders - architects, consulting engineers, main contractors and facilities managers, can each access and use the same information throughout the project lifecycle.

However there is still some way to go.  A major obstacle is that the information provided by manufacturers of the component parts of the building, from windows and doors, to more specialist items like fume cupboards, is often in the form of product brochures or technical data sheets.  Getting this product data into digital models in a consistent format for each product category across all manufacturers is no easy task, and often entails a time-consuming search for the correct information and conversion of units of measurement. The Chartered Institute of Building Engineers' (CIBSE) ambitious Product Data Template project aims to change this.  A Product Data Template (PDT) is a document in a specific format containing the parameters required to describe a product for the purposes of BIM.  The PDT needs to cover everything from the key product dimensions needed by architects, to performance data required for consulting engineers' calculations and the maintenance schedules needed by facilities managers following project handover.

In conjunction with CIBSE, Safelab is developing the PDT for fume cupboards.  Once through the formal CIBSE approval process of peer review, public consultation and sign-off by a Chartered Engineer, the PDT in its final form will allow product data to be conveniently and consistently attached to digital models in BIM software such as Revit.  The freely available BIMHawk plug-in, developed by Paul Marsland of consulting engineers NG Bailey, makes this process very straightforward.

We frequently share BIM models of our fume cupboards with architects, engineers and main contractors, and are delighted to be working on this project. BIM is an exciting field whose potential is just beginning to be realised, and we look forward to our PDT progressing through to approval under CIBSE's expert guidance.


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