Collaborating in the New AEC World

In this Viewpoint article, Al Douglas, President of a private consulting firm in Kanata, Ontario Canada, discusses the dramatic technological and methodological changes underway in the AEC industry, and the main vehicles of delivering this change: BIM, IPD and a developing open standard called COBie. He then zeroes in on an important component that is required to make all of these effective—content management and the collaborative role it plays in the lifecycle of a building.


One thought on “Collaborating in the New AEC World

  1. Interesting and whilst I agree with the underlying principles of your article I do not necessarily agree with your comments on ODBC.

    ODBC connectivity within CAD systems has been an integral component for many years and is used extensively for the purposes that you mention. I cannot fathom, why you think that this is something that modeling software companies should provide when in fact they already do?

    Also you stated in the previous paragraph issues related to the “working copy” of a cad model file. Most of the main CAD model management systems including products like Meridian, Documentum, PLM Enterprise etc all have “check out” and “check in” control elements to negate any possibility of multi user modifications.

    Bespoke custom systems based on SAP and Lotus database use the same protocols for managing ownership and access to model files.

    I understand the issues that you stated with regards to collaboration and accessing the model files over the internet, but in the cases where a model is already in ‘use’ the recipient of the shared model will only have “read” access to the current model on the server management system.

    In fact a lot more development has been undertaken in the last few years to address the many issues relating to BIM and ECDM, which includes direct linking with ERP systems, therefore providing the capability of including more relevant data within the Cad modelling environment.

    In many respects the points you have discussed in your article are in many ways being attentioned with the current system technologies. The major issue I personally have with the current systems is that they are all different and in some cases can be counter productive.

    For ECM systems to work efficiently they must address the imbalance of the various different technologies in order to achieve a more uniform standard format for data share, both internally and externally. I suspect that this will be the most important consideration for Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie and COBie2), in which case I would agree with your conclusions.

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