Earlier this week it was announced that the NBS BIM Object Standard was going to be established in both Australia and New Zealand.
It is fantastic to see this initiative take off in the way that it has. All manufacturer content on NBS National BIM Library is now certified to this standard. Revising such a huge amount of content (tens of thousands of objects from 180+ manufacturers) to standardise it all is what makes the NBS library unique. With the library expected to rise to over 200 manufacturers by the Autumn this is great news for the industry who are benefiting from this free content.
NATSPEC in Australia and MasterSpec in New Zealand have recognised the benefits that a standardised method of creating content brings.
However, it may be worth taking a few moments to reflect, why is standardised content important?
It may be worth reading Director of National BIM Library Ian Chapman's article in the latest NBS BIM Report, but here are some views from me...
Firstly, it is worth looking outside of the construction industry. If you buy a car you know that the nozzle from each petrol station will fit due to having standardised fittings. If a property from an estate agent is to appear on RightMove the data must be in a standard format.
The huge benefits here for end users are (a) an assurance that what they are receiving has a set level of quality and (b) the information will be consistent every time they interact with the service.
If the automobile industry didn't have standards for fuel nozzles then it would grind to a halt (literally). If RightMove didn't have a standard structure for their data then they would not have the success they have had as users wouldn't be able to consistently query the information. This base level of standardisation allows car manufacturers or estate agents to compete purely on the value of their product.
Equally, a trusted BIM library needs a standard for its content. Arguably, if it is simply the geometry that is important, then maybe a standard is less important. But if it is the 'I' (information) in BIM that is important then consistency across this information is vital.
Two examples below...
Two doorsets below, from different manufacturers author, are both to the NBS BIM Object Standard. Referencing Section 2 Information Requirements of the standard it can be seen that they have consistent Property Groupings. The international standard IFC property grouping Pset_DoorCommon has been expanded and it can be seen that it is immediately clear whether the door can be used as a fire exit, what it's fire rating is and also what the acoustic rating is.
2. Heating products
In the example below, the NBS_Data property grouping has been expanded to show the consistency in terminology between two different heating products. Both the Radiator and the Fan Convector have some properties in common and some that are different. However, those that they have in common are consistent. These properties that go further than the IFC or the COBie property groupings and are written for the UK can be found and used by the industry at the BIM Toolkit website which contains over 5,700 of these definitions.
NBS BIM Object Standard is getting such international recognition and commitment. Users of the library now know that whichever object they download will contain consistent information. Considering that there are over 150 manufacturers now on the library, I think that is an achievement to be proud of.
The standard has been written specifically for the NBS National BIM Library but it is of course available to be used freely by any other organisation (contractors, clients, architects, engineers, manufacturers) who creates BIM objects and would like consistency of content with the NBS library.