Digital Transformation and BIM 2 for AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction)

By Arthur Leach

Storage Technical Sales Consultant

Bim 2 for AECWe are now in a digital economy and the Architectural Engineering and Construction (AEC) firms that take advantage of this will take the lead in years to come. They’ll do this by embracing the power of digital processes, data, connectivity. They’ll use cloud infrastructure to solve critical business challenges such as increasing the win rate for bids, running projects efficiently and collaboratively and, analysing the masses of available data and reporting on their activities.

Implementation of Level 2 Building Information Modelling (BIM 2) and future BIM standards is causing  AEC firms to rethink how they manage data. BIM 2 is distinguished by collaborative working and requires greater levels of collaboration and co-ordination in the use of digital data than ever before. Throughout a project’s lifetime a contractor will need to store, manage and exchange complex information through the use of a Common Data Environment (CDE).

AEC design programmes such as Autodesk Revit are generating larger files than ever before as well as ever more detailed walkthroughs. In addition there are large amounts of data coming from new sources such as Lidar based drones which are a relatively new way of surveying land with high precision lasers which are highly accurate. The question is how can you manage, share and keep the data that’s produced secure and in accordance with BIM 2 standards?

Traditional storage architecture may not easily deliver the requirements for BIM 2 and beyond if at all. In addition, Traditional IT methods of purchase may not be the best solution  either (where one group is in charge of the storage budget, another buys networking products while another group specifies compute products). A better approach could be to look at the infrastructure holistically – repurpose what you can but adopt a cloud type strategy under your complete control. With this style of architecture you can allow data to be shared safely with users all the way through a project’s life-cycle, with mobile users as well as those onsite in temporary offices.

HCP (HITACHI CONTENT PLATFORM) WHY USE TAPE?

At the core of any good cloud solution is an object store which is the case for Hitachi’s Content Platform (HCP). It’s  capable of storing billions of objects on a WORM filesystem, multiple versions of files and setting user defined compulsory retention times for files. HCP is backup free, meaning that there’s no need for tape. Files are instantly available for the length of the project and beyond if required. The HCP supports multi-tenancy allowing for separation of projects within the object store. Using AD rights can be set for internal users and third parties such as clients and sub-contractors. Where networking bandwidth is poor offsite, files can be ingested to the HCP to be stored and shared via a local node called an HDI that acts as a NAS to local users in the office, and all the while copies the data back to the data centre in the background. You never have to increase the capacity of the HDI since once it hits a pre-defined watermark it will “stub” the oldest least used files. Finally HCPAnywhere enables you to access files on mobile devices including phones, laptops and BYOD. HCP family is available as an appliance or a virtual version.

 

DO CAD FILES EVER NEED TO LEAVE THE DATA CENTRE?

Advances in graphics technology such as NVidia K2 graphics card means that we are able to virtualize and run demanding graphics applications including Autodesk Revit, 3D Studio Max over VDI. Design files can remain safely in the datacentre and resources can be parcelled out to designers, power users and those who just need to browse and comment as required without the files ever being copied or moved outside of your datacentre. If the files are required on site because of poor comms for example, the option still remains open to work on the files locally using HDI.

AND HOW DO I MANAGE ALL THIS EXTRA DATA?

BIM 2 compliance generates more and more files – not just larger CAD files but documentation including spreadsheets, word documents and pdfs. All this needs to be managed and to comply with the relevant regulation in whatever jurisdiction they reside.  There are already document management systems that are BIM 2 ready such as Star Storage’s SEAL. SEAL is a “Pre built” and customizable solution aimed at the architectural, engineering & construction industry. SEAL for AEC allows contractors to accurately manage their design, construction and operations engineering documentation and communication processes in a controlled way according with BIM Level 2 Standard.

SEAL offers a CDE (Common Data Environment) – a digitally shared workspace where everyone involved in the project will store, manage and exchange information as well as provide controlled access to the required information during the construction phase and safeguards of the operational documentation availability during the operations phase.

SEAL for AEC is accessible to customer and external partners via a web portal, mobile using IOS and Android apps. It can also implement an approval/review workflow for relevant technical and procurement documents to all key persons to control documentation. Project data and documents can be safely shared according to BSI PAS 1192-5 by offering controls in place to ensure information is shared in a secure way.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Teneo can provide a complete solution for AEC companies including Storage, workflow, and management of information in accordance with BIM Level 2 requirements. In addition Teneo’s knowledge and expertise in WAN and security technologies Teneo can provide complete integrated solutions for the AEC industry for now and in the future.

 

 

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