Finland is renowned for being a pioneer of BIM, with tools like Solibri Model Checker and Tekla Structures enjoying huge global success. Greg Corke explores seven new technologies looking to make their mark on the international stage
Tridify Convert (game engine visualisation)
Tridify Convert is a new cloud service that helps Unity developers streamline the process of bringing BIM models into the immersive, interactive Unity game engine environment without losing the richness of the BIM data.
The service works with IFC files, exported from Revit and other BIM tools, to deliver UV mapped and optimised models in minutes. During import, models can be automatically split by type and/or storey.
Then, using the Tridify BIM toolset (available from the Unity Asset Store), BIM data can be accessed in Unity. Developers have advanced search functions for effective object-data management. The expanding toolkit for Unity Editor also delivers other automated features such as material mapping, colliders, and lighting generation.
Tridify Convert is currently in beta so users can test out the service for free and download the free Tridify IFC Tools for Unity Editor.
GBuilder (BIM-based customer journeys)
GBuilder is a cloud platform for creating ‘Digital Journeys’ for home buyers. It is designed to be used by all stakeholders – home buyer, project manager and sales – from initial purchase to ongoing maintenance.
Customers log on to the platform, then choose materials for their new home – floors, tiles and kitchen cabinets etc. Materials are connected to a live database and are based on real quantities for accurate pricing. Designs can be visualised in 3D, VR and AR.
GBuilder is not only designed to improve customer experience. By giving the customer control of the process it helps increase efficiency and reduce the risk of costly mistakes. Builders get access to quantity information. Project managers can deliver regular progress reports to the home buyer. Then, after moving in, snags can be documented and resolved, with replacement materials easily ordered, even after the warranty period ends.
Congrid (construction quality / safety management)
Congrid aims to improve the efficiency of construction site management with a cloud-based solution for contractors and asset owners. It is designed to reduce the industry’s reliance on manual, paper-based workflows by digitalising project management and documentation.
Using an iOS or Android tablet or smartphone, workers can use the Congrid mobile application to add photos or notes to document on site issues, carry out safety assessments or perform quality inspections. Importantly everything can be recorded in the context of a site plan, making it easier to communicate the precise location of issues, which can then be resolved and logged once complete.
The Congrid Live Portal gives insight into a project status and can be used to monitor repair work and ensure all faults are fixed. Reports can be created easily and analytics used to improve efficiency.
Novatron (machine control and guidance)
Novatron has a key focus on machine control and guidance technology. The company places a big emphasis on OpenBIM and develops software and hardware solutions to directly support model-based construction.
Novatron’s Xsite PRO system is designed to support BIM workflows with an emphasis on open formats. No conversion is needed; BIM design models, complete with meta data, can be read in directly and delivered on site, to an excavator operator, surveyor or foreman.
Importantly, the system allows firms to respond to design changes very quickly as Petteri Palviainen, BIM Manager, Novatron Oy explains, “If we make changes to the plan, with traditional paper plans it may take 2-4 weeks for the plan to reach the jobsite. When we make a change based on the data model with BIM, we can have those plan changes reach the jobsite the very same day and building can start immediately.”
ModelSpace (project management)
Gravicon is one of the leading BIM consultants in Finland with 20 years of experience in BIM Project Management and 100 projects to its name using open standards. The big challenge for BIM is not technology, says Gravicon CIO Tomi Henttinen, it’s process – and that’s why the company developed its cloud-based project management tool ModelSpace.
ModelSpace focuses on the flow of information across the whole network from planning and construction to BIM maintenance. It has a number of dedicated modules including ‘Space Management’, which covers the technical and functional aspects of a building and gives the ability to handle facility management, quality control and cost control, and ‘Project Management’, which offers specification and guidance on project tasks to help manage the project schedule, scope and cost. ‘FM’ then helps firms make the most of the building information model in the long run by keeping it up-to-date.
ProdLib (product library for designers)
Prodlib, short for product library, is designed to make the lives of architects and structural engineers easier by offering them an easy way to access high quality CAD and BIM objects (and keep them updated). At the same time, it also gives manufacturers access to designers.
The online system is built on the premise that when making decisions as to which products are used during a building project, designers have a typical influence of between 30-50%, making the architects and engineers the most significant single decision makers in the project.
The product library contains thousands of BIM and CAD models for the most popular design software such as ArchiCAD, AutoCAD and Revit.
At the moment ProdLib has 50 manufacturers and 15,000 users, 9,000 of which come from outside of Finland. ProdLib has bold expansion plans for the UK, Germany and Spain.
Infrakit (construction site management)
Infrakit is a cloud platform for construction site management – used by contractors, project owners, design engineers and surveyors. It’s designed to improve communication and streamline the flow of information from initial data collection, through design, construction and all the way through to operations and maintenance. This includes design models feeding work machinery, such as diggers and bulldozers directly.
Teams have real-time access to up-to-date designs and as-built data, in the office and on site. According to Infrakit, this approach results in faster project completion while improving quality – all culminating in vast cost savings.
Infrakit is presented as an ‘open BIM’ platform, where BIM refers to building information management (not modelling) and ‘open’ refers to the way it allows firms to use the best tools for each project phase, connecting to a range of CAD software, surveying equipment and machine control systems.
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