As the virtual world is taking up our physical realities to a next level, several advancements are readily made in the AEC industries in contrast to that. BIM (Building
Information Modeling) has taken the AEC market by a storm. Working on large drawing sheets and 2D CAD drafting seems to be the things of past now.
Several technologies like AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are linking up with BIM to try new possibilities of innovation. Another essential process that fascinates the researchers and professionals is the automation in design, and the introduction of the code compliance in BIM is one of the keys to its completion.
We live in a built environment designed around rules to ensure our safety and well-being. A building is subject to multiple regulatory compliance assessments throughout its entire life. As part of the design process, building designers ensure that every aspect of their design adheres to various regulatory requirements. The design is then subject to formal audit by the consent processing authority as part of the approval process.
What is Code Compliance?
Code compliance or code checking is a tedious task of checking the local building codes to a building for finding possible errors in the design replacing them with corrections needed. This leads to a plenty of manual work resulting in ambiguity and delay in project completion.
However, such problems can be solved if code checking system is made automated with the BIM models. This can be made possible by building up a rule-based engine that can store the desired local building code’s clauses and compile them with the BIM model for eradicating the errors.
For successfully implementing a code-compliance system, it is important to interpret the rules properly, making them controllable and easy to adjust into a system.
Until now, the application for automatic code-checking process is not yet widely used in India. However, a decent research works have been done but with no practical implementation. On the other side of the globe, leading countries like USA, UK, Australia and Singapore have developed tools in this field that have been tested successfully in practice.
Singapore was the first country to contribute something in this direction in 1995. They started by code-compliance on 2D drawings and later in 1998, they began using the CORENET system working with IFC building models. CORENET was one of the first initiatives in automated code-checking, and was funded by the Singapore Ministry of National Development and carried out by the Construction and Real Estate Network.
Norwegian developers (Statsbygg) experimented their entire code-compliance research heavily based on IFC standards driven by the Norwegian Building and Construction industry and supported by Standards Norway and Norwegian buildingSMART. The resulting systems have been piloted on real projects, with data being exchanged through a wide selection of software to suit the various stages/tasks of the project lifecycle.
Australia focused on both Solibri Model Checker and Express Data Manager as their possible platforms for automated code compliance. The project was undertaken by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the University of Sydney and was funded by Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation. They are using Design Check as a trial to implement object-based rules, encoded using EDM.
Similar work on code-checking began in the United States around 2000, with the initial emphasis on health, safety and welfare. General Services Administration (GSA) issued BIM guidelines in late 2006 and in 2007 proposed that all planners seeking funding for their spatial planning projects would need to produce BIM models for validation as an open standard.
What more is required?
All the four countries discussed above have done appreciating works but something remarkable needs to be done. The least touched and noticed area for research of automating code compliance is the structural design. No step has been taken in this direction. Manual structural code compliance of buildings is the most tedious and time-consuming task considered in the AEC industry. Designers phase plenty of errors during this process. Researchers see BIM in their vision, as the only solution to the above problem. There are very few geeks working in this field in India.
Although, there are many Indian design codes with plenty of their clauses. No doubt, this would require an immense of dedicated work to setup a rule-based engine and an IFC model parser, but somehow if only a little portion of it is done, then it would definitely open doors to many researchers and AEC experts to contribute their knowledge to the project.
Hence, this would create a wide network of people working together in India and who knows if India becomes the first nation to lead the structural code compliance using BIM.