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Article Date: 3rd November 2017

Glazing Vision - What Makes a Rooflight BIM Object?

Rooflight BIM Object - BIM Objects - Industry Foundation Classes

Glazing Vision - Rooflight

A BIM object, while providing an important visual representation of products and materials for use in design and construction drawings, must offer a lot more than that. Boiled down to the essentials, a BIM object is actually better equated to a spreadsheet in the way that it details the properties of the product in question.

As an overview, our rooflight BIM objects typically contain the following:

  • Product names and codes
  • A picture file illustrating the actual product
  • A link to download the corresponding technical datasheet
  • Details of any product approvals (for example, BBA and LPCB certification, or Secured by Design approval)
  • Geometric information (the physical dimensions of the rooflight)
  • The U-value achieved
  • The precise glazing specification

One of the biggest challenges faced by the construction industry in adopting BIM is sharing information in a common format between different software - especially since the information requirements for different types of products varies so widely.

By far the most widely used software package is Autodesk Revit, so it’s no surprise that all of our products are available in that format. It isn’t the only software available, but such is the dominance of Revit that major BIM object libraries now typically only commit to maintaining and updating Revit files. That’s less of a problem than it might sound, since plug-ins are available allowing other software platforms to utilise Revit files.

Adapting proprietary file formats to fit other software does not answer the need to standardise data sharing though. If most people are using one particular software type than a certain degree of standardisation will happen – but with an obligation to continue using that software, at the mercy of any changes the developers might make.

Which is where IFC-format files come in. ‘Industry Foundation Classes’ is a neutral, global standard used for describing, exchanging and sharing construction information. It is a not a software package, but a format that can be read by building modelling programmes around the world. Essentially, it ensures that when information is shared between parties using different software, the data is transferred from one to the other without a loss of meaning.

By having our products available in these two formats, we give our specifiers the freedom to use whichever solution works best for them – a proprietary or open format. Working with a trusted BIM object author like NBS ensures our objects always meet the latest standards, so construction industry professionals know they are getting the information they need to contribute to the successful use of BIM in delivering the project.

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