BIMserver is supporting IFC4 almost since the final version was released. We have the option to store data as IFC2x3 or as IFC4 and transform the data between the two versions. So far our users have not found IFC4 very useful because it doesn’t seem to add value to practical usage. Nevertheless IFC4 has some great improvements. The guys from Areo (not in any way affiliated with any of us) have written a great blogpost about this. Although some of the claims they make are not backed by facts (yet) we think it is worthwhile reading and we are happy to share it with you: http://blog.areo.io/ifc4-is-it-ready-yet/
User projects and use-cases of BIMserver and spin-offs.
As many of you in the BIM innovation community noticed, Stijn van Schaijk posted a huge amount of public available BIM data on github. Gigabytes of data including IFC data, BCF, pointclouds, schedules, log files, etc. are open available for R&D and educational purposes.
The bimvie.ws GUI has a new feature to automatically import the whole dataset into your BIMserver for demo and testing purposes.
Recents weeks we’ve been using the dataset to perform some optimisations on the usability of bimvie.ws and BIMserver. We’ve noticed that multiple aspect models didn’t perform as we expected and we updated the API of BIMserver to better facilitate this in the viewers.
Testing of the new setup with IfcOpenShell, bimvie.ws and BIMserver show remarkable performances. Loading the whole dataset with all 49 aspect models over a home internet connection fully loads within less than half a minute.
Testing on localhost shows the complete dataset in around 10 seconds which proves the limitation is in the internet connection.
We are excited about this and are looking even more forward to the new version of BIM Surfer. The BIM Surfer V2 is well on its way with a much leaner and stable API, an MIT license and much more features for improved usability.
We are stoked to see more and more open source tools of such high quality complementing each other. The activity on github, the release of the Schependomlaan and the growing use of BIMserver prove that BIM users are still seeking innovation. We are happy to contribute to that 🙂
While the development of BIMserver 2.0 is taking most of our time, every now and then we have an experimental project on the side. Sometimes for clients that couldn’t find a solution for their challenge, sometimes for clients that are stuck in their development.
Most of the ‘side projects’ are fun for us and every project seems to be crucial for the clients that request them. We try to make the results of these small initiatives available for the public. This is not always possible, but most of the times we manage to find a solution.
Last week Ruben made a transformation from IFC geometry to the Cesium framework. It will be available in the next release of BIMserver, but of course it is already available for developers. When you are familiar with Cesium, feel free to try this code, which generates the Schependomlaan dataset, in your Cesium sandbox.
We have a guest blog today from Stijn van Schaijk who send us a message with his experiences using BIMserver:
During my Msc graduation research into process mining within the construction industry (link). I developed a workflow which enables continuously learning loops within construction companies. I was searching for software solutions which could help me realize this goal. After some research I found out that the workflow I was proposing was not possible with all the existing tools of today. So I had to make some software myself. BIMserver gave me a perfect start, since it is a solid basis of software where one can make his specific tool on top.
During the development two plugins on BIMserver where made. Those plugins could be perfectly used in my workflow and filled the gab commercial software could not do for me. I decided to make the plugins available (this is not required but my own choice) for public so they can be used by anybody to test, adjust and improve. Ultimately this would lead into new stable solutions for the construction industry.
BIMserver was great to use for my research. I did not had to start developing software from scratch. If I had to I was probably not be able to graduate within a year.
Tutorials and explanation about the developed plugins can be found here: Event log service (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOJsHvGq-KE) and Planning consult service (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJTh_0Xmra0)
Stijn van Schaijk
The ELASSTIC concept is about the communication between these three main technology groups:
- Building Information
- Simulation models
- Sensor information
A fourth technology called ‘Multi Criteria Analyses’ (MCA) is providing the end-user the interface to evaluate safety and security of the building design.
The concept is best described with an example. Let’s focus on the case of a fire in a building.
In case of a fire in a building, the sensors from the Building Management System (BMS) pick it up. The BMS probably responds with the classic sprinkler system. A notification of the fire is also send to the evacuation simulation. The location of the fire, smoke and maybe intensity are available data at this moment in the process.
With advances in building management systems the number of people and their location might also be available as data. The evacuation simulation calculates the most effective evacuation route for the people in the building. To do this, it needs to calculate the spread of the fire so it also triggers the fire simulation. For these simulations information about the building is needed. This data comes from the (static) BIM. In case, parts of the building are destroyed, even this new information is available in BIM and have to be read by the BMS. When the BIM data shows installations with high risk of explosions, the ‘explosion simulation’ can be triggered. The structural integrity of the building might also be evaluated due to the effects of the fire and/or explosions.
The most effective evacuation route, due to the recent state of the building, is send to the building management system. By using signs the people in the building can be evacuated via the safest route in the most effective and efficient way. When people don’t use the suggested route, sensors (like cameras) can pick up this deviation and start a new simulation. Resulting in a recalculated optimum evacuation route that is send to the building management system.
Other information from sensors can also influence the process flow. For example when walls break down due to fire; the BIM data set gets updated and this new dataset is used as the base for evacuation simulation. In this case new evacuation routes may come available. Or when parts of the building won’t provide structural safety anymore (found by a combination of sensors in load bearing columns and beams) this part might be prioritized in the evacuation (and the BIM data updated).
To get this theoretical idea into practice, the ELASSTIC project was started. During this project we tried to implement the concept with open source and closed tools, simulation models and open data standards. The research methodology was that of applied research.
During the project the concept of ‘BIM Bots‘ was tested with the following setup:
The workflow between BIMserver and the simulation models is ‘event driven’. Every simulation model can subscribe to events on the used BIMserver in which they have interest. When this event occurs the BIMserver sends a notification of the event to the subscribed simulation service(s). The simulation services most probably run on a separate (remote) server. This server can then perform actions on (using a token as login) and send the results back to the BIMserver, or to any other service. This way a chain of event driven services can be triggered on an event (like ‘new revision’).
The ELASSTIC BIM concept proved to have great potential to the industry. Due to the automation of simulation models (with or without supporting services) the designer is provided with direct feedback of the performance of the building during the (early) design phase.
To optimize the usability of this concept additional features are introduced like model-checking, pre-processing of data (called ‘supporting services’ in this report), post processing of data (in this project to facilitate the MCA tool), advanced query/filter functions, etc. Some results of Elasstic are already published in previous BIMserver releases. Others will be in the upcoming 2.0 release that has a new API and interface to support the ‘BIM Bots’ concept that was tested in Elasstic.
The final “REPORT ON IMPROVED USAGE OF BIM TECHNOLOGY” is written by projectpartners TNO, ARCADIS, SIEMENS, and SCHUESSLER-PLAN. Since the status of the report is ‘public’ we are proud te be able to offer it on our website.
The EU supported researchproject Elasstic has been using BIMserver to create a new BIM concept in the security domain. During the project BIMserver was used to store IFC data and trigger remote services (now called ‘BIM Bots’). We will go into detail later about the Elasstic BIM concept (that also involved Multi Criteria Analyses for evaluation of simulations based on BIM data). This blogpost is about the metrics of the model and the used BIMserver and GUI plugins.
The BIM in Elasstic was split into 5 different sections. The 5 sections together formed the whole building. They are named ‘ Ribbon 0’ to ‘Ribbon 4’. Within the 5 sections discipline models where created for the disciplines Architecture, Construction and MEP. There was no need for fusion/merging of the models so these plugins where not used.
In the revision that was checked in the latest, the total number of BIM objects that were created was almost 20 million (19.188.069). To give a small indication of the type of objects:
- 1151 beams were modelled;
- 1222 columns;
- 2041 doors;
- 764 slabs;
- 1170 spaces;
- 332 stairs;
- 2526 windows;
This resulted in:
- 3.285.133 cartisian points;
- 5.019.418 ifc faces;
- The most used IFC object was IfcPolyLoop with 5.019.433 occurrences.
The IfcClassification object was only used 15 times.
The geometry of this latest revision is quite detailed. The metrics about the geometric triangles:
These numbers are after the boolean operations performed by IfcOpenShell.
In total 35 revisions are checked in by 7 different users.
The process of BIMserver use was evaluated by using process mining technology on the event log of BIMserver. This resulted in the following diagram (credits to Stijn van Schaijk):
The setup runs on a dedicated server with 56Gb RAM memory, 4 CPUs and quite a slow disk.
All objects were able to show in bimvie.ws. On some operations (selecting) the performance was not user friendly, but the most common usage has acceptable performance.
We had multiple suggestions for optimization of BIMserver which will be evaluated in the 1.4 development.
An impression of the latest revisions of the models:
At any AEC Hackathon BIMserver (and other open source BIM tools) are used to improve the built environment. The AEC Hack event in the Netherlands took place in Eindhoven last weekend. Since this is the birth place of BIMserver, many participants seemed very enthusiastic to use it.
The 45 participants from over ten different countries built their solutions to the challenges using multiple different open source BIM tools. All the results from évery team have also been publicly published again. A great example on how you can make the world a better place when you put your mind to it.
Today we’ve put a demo/test server online available for the public. You can find it on https://thisisanexperimentalserver.com/ Please note that the URL is chosen for a reason: this is a server we use to test and evaluate the software. It might run the latest version from github, it might run an older release. Every once in a while we flush it to start fresh again.
Feel free to use the server. There is a ‘register’ link on the opening page. Beware that you are putting your IFC files on a public server. We provide admin access to users who request it, so other will be able to see your model.
The server is running on a dedicated 128Gb RAM server. Anyone who thinks BIMserver can’t handle large files is welcome to use this server to test it (again: we might be running an experimental build, so please check first with us if you really want to test it). The most used plugins are also available on this machine (COBie, IFC2RDF, bimvie.ws GUI, etc) and it used IfcOpenShell as the default render engine.
We’ve been getting some questions about the model checking feature of BIMserver. In this post we’ll try to explain some of the capabilities.
Many ask us what standard we use for the model checks. The answer is clear: none. Just like with the query language we couldn’t find a standard that is stable enough to be used in practice. We know there is mvdXML, and you can even argue BimQL is a model checking language. There are many others as well with great intentions. However, after carefully listening to our user’s needs, none of these standards are capable of handling basic model checking requirements our users have. Because we don’t believe in standardization because of standardization we went for a different solution.
The current implementation is a JavaModelChecker. With this capability you can write java code against the BIMserver core and do modelchecking. Results can be ‘pass’, ‘fail’, and ‘list’ (which gives a list of fails). There are examples available on https://github.com/opensourceBIM…javamodelchecker Specifically look at the ‘Window With Checker’ on https://github.com/ope….owWidthChecker.java
Modelcheckers can be used before data is stored in the database as a new revision, or before a trigger is send to a service. In both cases the bimviews GUI can help you with setting up modelchecks.
The implementation has the option to create other modelcheck plugins. This is what Chi Zhang (Eindhoven University of technology) did for mvdXML. His mvdXML plugin is a derivative of the JavaModelChecker. By using this plugin you can use mvdXML files to check the model against.
We’re following the developments of mvdXML, but also the modelcheck capabilities the new ifcOWL (combined with reasoners) can bring to BIM. When stable enough, the development will be tuned.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Military Health System and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), combined, manage in excess of 210 million square feet of healthcare facilities and just completed a series of projects through the National Institute of Building Sciences centered on planning, design and operations of facilities. The team developed strategic plans, road maps and proofs of concept using BIM, geographic information systems (GIS) and facility management (FM). It delivered a strategic vision for FED iFM (Federal integrated facility management). FED iFM is an initiative to create shared and common practices for integrated facility management in federal agencies and the private sector. The vision is a technology hub of software and applications that can be used for rapid and agile development of tools or innovative practices for moving data from early planning through design, construction and into operations and facility sustainment. Open source as well as proprietary technologies will be evaluated within an integrated platform of cloud and server-based environments.
Onuma Systems and the Netherlands organization for applied scientific research TNO have joined forces to evaluate the BIMserver.org platform for use in the FED iFM ecosystem. Join this webinar on February 18th to learn more about the concept [update: watch a webinar about the concept here]. Important part of the strategic vision of FED iFM is to ‘get the data flowing’ between applications. This was the theme of a workshop that was organized last month in Washington D.C. The goals of the workshop were to share a vision on FED iFM; share the results of current federal agency initiatives that are striving for the FED iFM vision; engage with private sector owners, architects and professional organizations to build a bridge of collaboration and shared interests in achieving the FED iFM vision; and enlist technology service providers to build platforms, applications (apps) and app marketplaces to access agency data repositories and to foster and enable the realization and success of the FED iFM vision. During this workshop TNO gave a presentation about BIMserver and their vision on how to ‘get data flowing between applications’. The presentation was recorded and is available here.