How is BIM benefitting the rooflight industry?

  • 27 Jul 2017

The requirement for BIM Level 2 compliance was a year old in April and now, Chris Lister, General Manager with rooflight Manufacturer JET Cox, looks at how BIM is benefitting the roof lighting industry.

Recently, the UK Construction industry has moved forward with Building Information Modelling, making it an everyday tool for the efficient specification of building products.

JET Cox has been manufacturing roofing daylight and ventilation systems since 1954, and fully understands the need to embrace change in an ever-developing landscape.

The industry’s capability to create and utilise models to their full potential is still in its infancy. Despite the 2016 deadline, production of BIM objects by the manufacturing industry is still relatively low.

The development of modelling packages such as REVIT, alongside the established CAD and 3D modelling suites continues, however, use of these packages requires a change in mindset and technique from architects, engineers and technicians producing them. Manufacturers need to understand the modeller’s requirements, to best provide the building blocks for their projects.

To assist with this communication, the government coordinated BIM Task Group has been directing input from bodies such as the Construction Products Association and The Chartered Institute of Building Engineers in developing a common language.

This will ultimately take the form of a software package called LexiCon, drawing on all information formats in current use including National Building Specifications and Construction Operations Building Information Exchange formats.

The pace of development typically produces some disharmony with the range of applications, exceeding the frameworks for control and BIM is no exception. Whilst BIM appears to be settling with REVIT as the standard, supplemented with IFC files, the development underway on the language and definition of information contained within the objects is incomplete.

Work by the central bodies to define and regulate universal terms is behind schedule and whilst a common data environment exists, the proposed LexiCon software is still unavailable 12 months after the BIM level 2 compliance data.

Consequently, the appointment of discipline specific bodies from industry being set up to moderate data sets has been delayed. Therefore, this brings into question the ability of the Relevant Authorities to ultimately invigilate over the object data template production process.

The National Association of Rooflight Manufacurers is the relevant authority for rooflights and daylight ventilations systems.

With collaborative work already underway to scope out data templates for new objects, NARM is awaiting the launch of the LexiCon software to complete its work. Therefore, manufacturers will be able to use the standardised framework to produce or further develop their existing objects.

UK manufactured products are already being incorporated into new BIM designs worldwide with the prevalence of UK based architects in the international building design arena. This is due to UK designers using their BIM objects to export UK product design globally.

Rooflight product information needs to be readily available in the most usable formats and specification of products needs to be quick and easy.

BIM is allowing project designs to become more adventurous and risks to be pinpointed in the early stages.

It is vital that the UK building product industry keeps capitalising on new technology to ensure processes are continually improving. The sector will therefore be well-organised with inclusive systems that offer benefits at every stage of the construction process. BIM is a major part of that and we need to support the advantages it brings to individual companies and UK plc as a whole.


Tel: 0121 530 4230

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