Leveraging the Full Value of BIM’s Interoperability Potential

By Akio
Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Despite the widespread adoption of BIM tools among design professionals, the AEC industry is still in many ways at the surface of the true benefits BIM platforms can offer.

“BIM should not be seen as just a way to do a beautiful 3D image from the project, but as a tool for true collaboration that should be the industry standard,” commented Jonathan Riondet, AEC industry solution technical director for Dassault Systèmes, during a recent presentation at BIM World.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #BIM is not just for beautiful 3D imagery—
it’s a tool for true collaboration @jonathanriondet

Riondet explained that interoperability—across trades and data platforms—is key in realizing the great collaborative power of this data tool.

"The collaborative BIM platform brings new services for all” - JONATHAN RIONDET

“The collaborative BIM platform brings new services for all” – JONATHAN RIONDET, Director of AEC Solutions, Dassault Systèmes

Collaboration Across Silos

Riondet pointed to the power of BIM to break down the silos between AEC parties, and the operations team. Integration of information across all parties from the conception of the project through its completion helps contractors, as well as owners, ensure that what they want is what is built.

Collaboration helps with these functions:


To increase productivity, the construction industry benefits from a platform that allows these various parties to manage different level of detail. For instance, the 3DEXPERIENCE solution can move from a concept model to a fabrication level of detail that can be built by a machine or through 3D printing. It’s a capability that Dassault Systèmes picked up from the manufacturing industry, where design and manufacturing components work more fluidly together than in the AEC industry.


Truly collaborative BIM models also help with project phasing, or 4D planning. BIM delivers its highest value when it can improve scheduling, but this demands real-time insight as to where each component is. Riondet notes that the 3DEXPERIENCE solution can go beyond the 4D construction planning, into the final assembly and delivery. In the end, the manager onsite can use his tablet to track pieces ready for installation.


Riondet pointed out that 70% to 80% of the return on investment from BIM will happen during the operation phase, so it is critical to extend BIM solutions to operation phase today.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Collaboration improves fabrication, construction
& operations @jonathanriondet #3DEXPERIENCE #AEC

Achieving BIM Level 3

To get the greatest collaborative value from BIM, Riondet said, all parties need to be working within a platform where the digital mockup reflects changes as they happen.

At BIM Level 2, everyone has a BIM model, but there is no true coordination. By going to the next level, data on architecture, structural, MEP systems, and more can be consolidated into a single view.

BIM Maturity Model DASSAULT Building Lifecycle Management

Using a platform that presents a single source of truth provides full traceability for all changes and ensures that materials go up quickly, and accurately, in the field.

Of course, it is also valuable to be able to manage access to certain information, so that various subcontractors are able to see design data only within a certain context.

Collaboration Across Data Platforms

Riondet emphasized that the “I” in BIM is very important: Information includes numerous attributes that can be attached to an element within a model.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “The *I* in #BIM is very important”
@jonathanriondet #3DEXPERIENCE

For a door, for example, this might be the geometry, but could also be information about which way it swings open. All this information needs to be verified for accuracy and, in the past, this posed a problem.

Realistically, not every company is on the same platform, so the 3DEXPERIENCE system puts a priority on communication across a variety of tools. It is able to support a range of data platforms, from STEP to IGES. But interoperability must extend beyond exchanging IFC, Riondet said.

It’s important that no matter what form of data is input, a change in one area is reflected throughout the entire model.

Riondet worked with SHoP Architects on a recent project where they were integrating the structural frame of a model, made with CATIA, with an MEP system added to the platform in a STEP format. Despite the differences in programming, the designers could run a clash analysis, and fix conflicts before assembly began.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Leveraging the Full Value
of #BIM’s Interoperability Potential

Related Resources

WHITEPAPER: End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices

Process planning with BIM. Watch how CadMakers simulated a project vs the actual time-lapse video of the project as it was built:

YouTube Preview Image

Perfect Alignment: From 3D Design to the Final Bolt

By Akio
Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Perfect Alignment Dassault Systemes

Imagine the possibilities if you could design buildings that combine the artistry of stunning craftsmanship with the science of building.

Over the last several decades, the Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry has required cost effective project delivery, while customers still demand high quality and advanced systems design. The fragmented processes across designers, architects, engineers and fabricators combined with traditional design tools, have contributed to this by constraining the possibilities for design.

The good news is that many leading companies have found ways to break down those barriers to seamlessly connect design to fabrication. As a result, they can unleash creative potential and standout from their competition, without sacrificing deadlines or budget.

clicktotweetTweet: “Perfect Alignment: From #3D Design to the Final Bolt” @3DSAEC #3DEXPERIENCE https://ctt.ec/MTF6O+

Combine Art and Engineering

A beautiful building stands out. It even creates a sense of awe that draws people to it. It inspires and creates an emotional connection that makes people feel better in the space. It’s the artistry of that building that shapes that emotion.

However, with that artistry often comes complex geometry, which is much harder to visualize in traditional 2D design tools. What’s exciting is that with 3D digital technologies, you can sculpt and craft surfaces, letting your imagination and creativity explore possibilities. With a 3D model, you now have immediate visual feedback on the overall aesthetic appeal so that you can optimize it.

As an example, A. ZAHNER Company, an award winning architectural engineering, manufacturing, and construction firm, has seen just this with the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform from Dassault Systèmes.

“3D digital technologies enable us to design more complex geometries; we are no longer limited by two-dimensional drawings,” says L. William Zahner, president and CEO at ZAHNER.

While artistry makes a building special, it must also be combined with building science. By using a platform that allows you to combine artistry and engineering, aesthetics become a natural part of the building design process.

Further, a platform that enables the seamless connection from design to fabrication provides true insight to support every design decision.

As you explore questions such as what shape should the windows be? Should they be recessed or flush with the exterior? Which trim options will work best? You not only have a perspective on the visual appeal, but as a platform, you can also factor other criteria into decisions such as sustainability, energy efficiency, maintainability, and even security.

As you evaluate different materials, you can understand not only the structural and budget impact, but also how colors and textures impact aesthetic appeal.

Build Better Buildings

A holistic platform must also allow for precision and control. It should provide features that support design innovation and flexibility, yet preserve design intent.

For example, template based design is a powerful feature that will support design and engineering by saving time. With it, engineers can define parameters such as requirements for the structural design.

The software then evaluates numerous scenarios to quickly arrive at an optimized shape that meets engineering criteria. An integrated, end-to-end platform will then preserve that design intent so that what is built, matches what was designed.

Another benefit is that as a collaborative, 3D environment, problems become easier to spot so that quality is better. For example, you can identify interferences between ductwork and plumbing and correct them during design rather than during construction.

As part of the platform, simulation capabilities also support better building and civil design. Simulation can look for potential structural or heating/cooling problems. You can even simulate building and civil construction to identify and correct problems before construction starts, ensuring the design is buildable. Another Dassault Systèmes’ customer, CadMakers, has found the 3DEXPERIENCE platform has helped with this.

“Roughly 30% of the problems or risks we identify in a given project result entirely from the fact that we’re able to view the building and its systems in an integrated, 3D model.” says Javier Glatt, co-founder and CEO, CadMakers.

Increase Velocity and Efficiency of Designs

With a traditional project, design is very iterative. One group completes their work and then passes it on to the next, limiting collaboration. This is much slower so the design work takes much longer to complete.

By connecting everyone on a seamless platform, everyone can work together much more easily. Work can be done concurrently; with visibility into how the work done by others may impact you. Overall, this leads to much greater efficiency.

Building Information Modelling (BIM), which is a 3D digital model of the structure, is one way to support this. It embeds all the required information to fabricate, build, and even support facility management in the model.

Everyone involved in the different design functions, such as architectural design, structural engineering, MEP, and civil engineering can collaborate on the single model.

Many companies find that it helps to improve efficiencies and reduce errors. For example, ZAHNER has seen a lot of value with BIM and the way the 3DEXPERIENCE platform supports it.

“Our company has been using BIM and digital definition to improve transparency that reduces errors through a leaner, more streamlined construction process,” says William Zahner.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) also helps. The American Institute of Architects defines IPD as a project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures, and practices into a process to collaboratively harness the talents and insights of all participants.

This optimizes project results, increases value to the owner, reduces waste, and maximizes efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction. IPD supports lean construction.

Connecting everyone on a single platform, in a virtual environment, enables IPD.

In addition to engineering design, a complete end-to-end platform should also support key functions, such as engineering document management, construction document management, construction project management, and cost management.

Together, this will support seamless and efficient processes from design to fabrication.

Learn More

By using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, ZAHNER has been able to achieve truly remarkable work.

“The types of projects we’re doing today were not possible 20 years ago,” says Shannon Cole, senior project engineer at ZAHNER. “With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, they now are.”

Find out how you too can do this and bring the craftsmanship back to design. Learn how ZAHNER designs their projects, and how they are constructed. Discover the advantages of seamlessly connecting your design to fabrication process to realize greater efficiency with fewer errors. Hear how companies like ZAHNER are using Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform to manage their projects with great success.

Visit 3ds.com to learn more.

clicktotweetTweet: “Perfect Alignment: From #3D Design to the Final Bolt” @3DSAEC #3DEXPERIENCE https://ctt.ec/MTF6O+

Leading Japanese Architect Foresees Computers Unleashing an Era of Design Freedom

By Akio
Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Computers are unleashing an era
of #design freedom in #architecture -@KengoKuma

Kengo Kuma’s architectural designs range from the whimsical (Asakusa Cultural and Tourism Center, a wildly stacked pillar of houses) to the dramatic (the steamship-shaped Victoria and Albert Museum rising in Dundee, Scotland), to the deceptively simple (Great (Bamboo) Wall, a house in China).

Through them he has discovered his calling – celebrating natural materials and creating human connections – and learned that a computer can be an architect’s best friend.

China Academy of Art’s Folk Art Museum (Image © Eiichi Kano)

In the years after World War II, Japanese architects grappled with building homes and businesses to replace what the conflict had destroyed and accommodate booming post-war growth. Japan needed fast recovery as its top priority, and its “first generation” architects delivered.

Kengo Kuma, founder of Kengo Kuma & Associates (KKAA) and one of today’s most celebrated Japanese architects, reveres that generation.

“The first-generation architects basically had to reconstruct Japan, and that sense of responsibility had a big bearing on everything they did,” he said.

Kenzo Tange, who designed the Yoyogi National Gymnasium built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, the building that inspired Kuma to become an architect, is a particular first-generation hero.

Thanks to Tange and those who came after – Arata Isozaki and Fumihiko Maki of the second generation, and Tadao Ando and Toyo Ito of the third generation – Kuma said he feels empowered to pursue a design freedom his predecessors never had.

“Japan’s a wealthy country now, rivaling the United States and Europe,” Kuma said in a wide-ranging interview. “For our generation, I’d say the main thematic question is what kind of architecture we can create in that context of comfort. I think this generation is trying to redefine architecture as a medium for people to connect with each other.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “#Architecture is a medium for
people to connect with each other” -@KengoKuma


Soaring buildings with swooping curves and awe-inducing metal façades – the type of architecture that has dominated for nearly two decades – create a sense of wonder, but don’t promote human intimacy or comfort. Instead, Kuma believes that natural materials create the peace that humans instinctively crave.

His most iconic designs – beginning with his award-winning guest house in China known as “Great (Bamboo) Wall” – prominently feature wood and bamboo.

Even the stadium he designed for the 2020 Olympics in Japan – the first Olympic stadium built in his country since Tange’s 1964 project – is defined by its wooden details.

Ironically, however, Kuma’s transition from the concrete, steel and glass of the Industrial Age to the traditional, natural materials that define KKAA’s newest and most iconic projects has been enabled by the leading symbol of the modern age: the computer.

Celebrated Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (Image © K.K. Human Centrix)

“It’s really difficult to use natural materials, to be honest,” Kuma said. “There is so much variability. No two pieces are the same, first of all, and you always have to deal with each material’s size restrictions. The challenge is figuring out how to get all those pieces to fit together and create a functional structure, and that’s where computers are so helpful. It seems to me that you need computer technology to bring natural materials to architectural fruition. Otherwise, they are just too diverse and complicated to orchestrate.”


By managing many of the critical but routine and time-consuming tasks – from verifying structural integrity to compiling precise lists of materials to managing budgets – advanced computer technology, especially Building Information Management (BIM), actually frees architects to focus on creativity, Kuma said.

“Technological progress had had a big impact. We use CAD to design things in 3D now, for example. With computers, we can dream up virtually any architectural space and convert those ideas into actual drawings. As technology continues to liberate our imaginations, it’s cool how the digital advances in the architectural world have gone step-in-step with a renewed awareness of ‘the real thing.’”

Modern architects tend to spend most of their time finding solutions to engineering, scheduling and budget problems, not creating great designs, Kuma said.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #Architects are spending time engineering/scheduling/
budgeting, not on creating great designs @KengoKuma @3DSAEC #BIM

“When you call on what BIM can do, it becomes possible to balance out engineering- type solutions with creativity. For example, people used to balance the budget at the end of the project to see whether the costs fell in line with the projections. Those days are now gone. Now you must have your budget in mind right out of the gates and work under those preconditions the whole time, gathering feedback and adjustments as you go. That’s why it’s almost impossible to manage your budget without BIM.

“Achieving a balance of solutions and creativity is one of the biggest issues in the architecture industry. If we can find a way to put these two things together, then I feel we can massively transform the architecture industry.”


While computers give architects more freedom, however, they also create an environment in which they will face more challenges to their authority, Kuma said.

“Computers democratize architecture,” he said.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Computers democratize
#architecture” -@KengoKuma @3DSAEC

“For example, someone who is a complete newcomer to architecture will be able to design their own house. Architects who have enjoyed privilege up to now may be opposed to this, but ultimately I think that architecture will belong to everyone. When that happens, I think we will be in for a very interesting future.”

In this new era, Kuma envisions architects being valued less for their engineering prowess and their ability to bring projects in on time and budget and more for their creativity and ability to create harmony, both in the buildings they design and in the working environments they create.

“If you try to make architecture more complicated, there is no end to how complicated it can get,” Kuma said.

“For that reason, I make sure to keep a model right in front of me. Everyone gathers around the model and talks. I feel that’s the key to not getting complicated. Everyone is actually very interested in architecture. So I think that if we keep things simple, a number of different people can take part in it.”

Sunny Hills Japan (Image © Daici Ano)


Part of keeping the working environment open involves avoiding hierarchical structures so that everyone’s ideas can be heard, Kuma said, even as KKAA expands beyond Japan with offices in China and Paris.

“I try to maintain a flat organizational structure,” Kuma said. “We want people to understand that they must take on a certain amount of risk when they assume responsibility for something, so we try to stay away from building too much of a hierarchy. That structure lulls you into thinking that someone else higher up on the ladder will always be there, ready to take responsibility for whatever you do. We want everyone to feel responsible for themselves and know that they are creators.”

In addition to encouraging a sense of responsibility, he encourages cultural diversity in KKAA’s staff.

“This diversity doesn’t dilute the character of KKAA; it strengthens it,” he said. “Our organization should be structured so that all of these people can really participate. That is what makes the identity of the organization stronger.”

Kuma’s philosophy is consistent with his definition of leadership.

“I think how qualified you are as a leader really depends on how easy of an environment you can create for everyone to speak up,” he said. “If you create an environment where everyone can easily speak their mind, different opinions will come forth and from those opinions you can find a balance. If nobody expresses their opinions, there’s really nothing you can do.”


In a world that is rediscovering the beauty of natural materials and human connections, of sustainability and long-term value, Kuma believes that architects are well positioned to lead.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #Architects can lead us into an era of human connections,
#sustainability & long-term value -@KengoKuma @3DSAEC

“The advantage the architecture industry has is that it can think over longer timespans, as much as 10 years from the start to the finish of project,” he said.

“We are entering an age that is going to be all about taking longer periods of time to think about what will make people happy, rather than shooting for short-term increases in profit.

“Architects are accustomed to listening to people about things. They are accustomed to thinking about things over long periods of time. Architects are people with universally applicable skills.”

Originally published in COMPASS: The 3DEXPERIENCE Magazine


Façade Design for Fabrication Industry Process Experience

WHITEPAPER Technological Changes Brought by BIM to Façade Design

Kengo Kuma & Associates Adopts Design for Fabrication

Page 1 of 1312345...10...Last »