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Today, the construction industry requires the input of many different companies, each fulfilling a specific, but critical role in completing the project
For example, to construct a single building, you need material suppliers (e.g., cement, steel and glass), architectural design firms, engineering firms and HVAC companies.
However, with so many different actors in play, the risk of errors occurring midway during the construction phase is real. These errors can cause delays, cost overruns and quality issues.
To mitigate these risks, architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms are increasingly reliant on Building Information Modeling (BIM). By using BIM, AEC firms are able to leverage 3D visualization, simulation and analysis and other capabilities.
But because there are different BIM software suites on the market -- and, as a result, different file formats in use by AEC firms -- improving interoperability is a challenge. Furthermore, some stakeholders may not have access to BIM at all -- licensing such software is expensive.
By bridging interoperability gaps and equipping smaller AEC stakeholders with BIM software, independent software vendors (ISVs) have an opportunity to capture AEC market-share.
To best position yourself for the AEC market, you must ensure that your BIM software solves the following problems for your prospective customers.
To be competitive, your BIM software should mitigate risks that threaten to delay or complicate construction projects, such as quality problems, late material supply shipments, implementation issues or a slow redesign process.
Well, start by ensuring that your software properly imports the project design’s geometry and meta-data. To do this, your software must be able to support each of the major file formats in use for BIM, such as Revit, IFC, DXF/DWG, DGN and CAD.
Your software must also enable end-users to perform key geometric operations, such as clash detection, and enable for visualization and analysis (e.g., fluid analysis).
You should also enable your end-users to document the materials they need for the project and schedule deliveries in line with their timelines and resource requirements.
While each of these capabilities factors in at different stages of the process (e.g., fluid analysis is typically done at the design stage, while documentation is necessary for maintenance), they are each critical in ensuring that the project is delivered on time and within budget.
You can help AEC companies save on costs and time by a significant margin through structural analysis software solutions. In other words, your BIM software should offer 3D visualization and analysis tools so that your AEC end-users can identify design problems or flaws.
Key analysis tools to include are strength analysis, fluid analysis and environmental simulation capabilities. Your end-users rely on these tools to see how the building design fares against a range of environmental conditions and how it manages air flow and energy usage.
Identifying and correcting flaws (or finding opportunities) in those areas would help AEC firms to control costs, maintain timelines and achieve intended quality outcomes.
Study What Lubansoft is Doing to Create BIM Software with the Ability to View, Track and Document 3D Assets for BIM
By providing your end-users with analysis tools -- such as fluid analysis and others -- you will enable them to fix design flaws digitally, i.e., before any construction work.
This will save time and financial resources as it prevents mid-course corrections that will involve fresh supplies, labor and/or other costly inputs.
You can also support the collaborative process, especially between different input providers that are not in the exact same sub-industry of AEC (e.g., the architect and the material supplier).
For example, you can configure your BIM software to save and display design changes; should a designer make a change, every downstream stakeholder will have access to the latest build or version of the design, thus enabling them to adapt more seamlessly (and avoid old versions).
In other words, your BIM software would ensure that every stakeholder -- especially those that are providing inputs such as materials or HVAC -- are on the same page throughout the project.
To provide each of these capabilities, your BIM software must be able to read and write different file formats, support 3D visualization and integrate 3D modelers.
This is not easy. For example, interoperability and supporting multiple file formats means that you must support different data libraries. However, this task is time and resource-intensive -- it could put you at risk of not putting enough resources into differentiating your product.
Moreover, because supporting different data libraries (which come different vendors) is difficult, your software could be at increased risk of technical issues.
You can bypass these issues by relying on a proven software development kit (SDK) to provide each of the above capabilities. In fact, some SDK providers will also handle the tedious task of supporting your data libraries and will guarantee timely updates. You can just focus on making your software stand-out from the competition.
Spatial brings over 30 years of experience in integrating CATIA, SolidWorks and other software used in BIM into full-featured SDKs. Contact us today to get started.