Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Helping Shape the National BIM Standard

One of my 'little' side projects has been getting involved in some efforts at the buildingSMART alliance. Last year I began by participating in a group project to standardize cost estimating through the use of BIM. As you can imagine, that's an extremely difficult problem to solve and our efforts continue. More recently, I was asked to become involved with the National BIM Standard project committee for the United States. Given my prior experience with corporate standards at SOM, I agreed to join.

Since joining, I have been named the Chair of the Design Work Group for NBIMS-US version 2. Yes...in case you didn't already know, version 1 was completed a few years ago and can be downloaded for free from the buildingSMART alliance website. While the first version consisted of almost 200 pages dedicated to introducing the work of the NBIMS committee and the scope of BIM, it did start to address some key concepts towards the standardization of this oft misunderstood paradigm.

Definition of BIM - Let's all agree on what "building information modeling" really means, shall we? NBIMS v1 describes it as "a product...a process...and a result."

Importance of Data Models - Quite a worthwhile chapter for the technologists among us, but this sets the stage for adopting the IFC data model. Notice I said 'data model' and not 'file format.' this will start to open the discussions concerning model servers instead of interoperability of proprietary file formats.

Capability Maturity Model (CMM) - This is one of my favorite parts of NBIMS; however, it is my opinion that the CMM needs some refinement. Our industry needs a leveling system for all stakeholders to gauge the completeness of a deliverable or a firm's ability to deliver expected services. Well, exactly what services are we talking about?...Standardized BIM use definitions have been submitted for consideration in NBIMS v2, but that's worthy of a dedicated discussion. There are many parts evolving from this concept that should help bring an 'apples to apples' approach to BIM delivery.

These are but a few of the items we are reviewing in the work of the four NBIMS work groups (Design, Assemble, Procure, Operate) along with the Implementation and Technical Sub-Committees. I'll be posting more about our progress and I encourage you to provide feedback.

You can also get involved in the NBIMS effort. While the official ballot phase for V2 has closed, you can submit a Blue Sky ballot. Any good idea can be submitted via a simple form - and you don't even have to be a buildingSMART alliance member! Please visit the balloting page for NBIMS to get involved and view the active ballots.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. IFC... and that is why this standard will fail to be adopted. The govt is still waisting time with IFC, I understand its free, but its been in development for 2 decades and is still very empty in alot of major sections.

  2. Great overview information of the NBIMS-US version 2 project. I would like to request permission to repost this article with full credits to you and your site at BIMpro.net.

    Your name, website, and direct link url will be included in the credits. Just thought the information would be beneficial to our users.