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For the uninitiated amongst us, lets start with some defining terms. BIM, or Building Information Modelling, is the linking of people, technology, information and processes during planning, construction and management.

BIM is at the forefront of digitalization in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction fields, but there has been drastic evolution of BIM since it was first defined by Charles Eastman in 1975. What we have witnessed is the evolution away from 2D and separated participation in the BIM process and towards multidimensional models of increasing layers of interfacing sets of information.

This has become a vastly more complex process since it’s inception and the challenge we now face is of co-ordination, accessibility and collaboration of all stakeholders involved.


Construction, at it’s core, is the flow of information. Whilst we are concerned with the materiality of the end product, the process is heavily dependent on having the right people produce the right information and contribute that information at the right time, in the right context.

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We’ve all been in situations where the flow of information is strained. The end result is downtime, defects, rework, accidents and project over-runs. Collaboration has become critical in effective project delivery in today’s information and technology driven context.

At the same time we have seen a marked increase in diversity of software offerings to match the increased number of interfacing stakeholders. Each host to different file formats.

The need for a unified file format is clear.

This is where the concept of OpenBIM steps in. OpenBIM is founded on the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) file format, an entirely neutral file format without any alliances or favoritism. A single file format allowing total interoperability – The seamless encoding from one software and decoding into dissimilar software, by anyone, anywhere.

Think PDF.

We can export word in various file formats. But we choose PDF, as it is universally interpretable across different device platforms, operating systems and applications. In fact, if you wanted to, you could convert that PDF file into various file formats based on your personal text editor preferences. Thank goodness for PDF right?

IFC is a single BIM format, totally lossless across disciplines and their preferred applications.

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OpenBIM Word 2023 06 10 10 54 43

We now have a unified BIM model capable of being shared across all project participants and amended accordingly, in their own right. This is typically performed through an intermediary software conducive of this collaboration.

Common Data Environments (CDE) facilitate OpenBIM practices by bringing all your project related information into one space for easy collaboration and interoperability amongst your key role-players. One of the leading brands in OpenBIM standards as a collaborative CDE is Catenda Hub.

But how do we ensure the seamless interfacing of these files and disciplines? In this case, one of the leaders in the field model checking, Quality Assurance and clash detection is Solibri.

Contact for more information on how Agile Business Technology can help you become more open,  collaborative and connected.