How to choose the right CDE for BIM compliance?

Posted by Marketing on 14 June 2019

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How to choose the right CDE for BIM compliance?

Higher quality builds and more sustainable assets, reduced construction times, lower costs and better collaboration are just a handful of the benefits that BIM compliance can bring to your construction industry projects. They are some of the reasons why, in 2016, the UK government mandated the use of BIM Level 2 on public funded construction projects.

Common data environments (CDEs) are the platform required to implement BIM. This is because cloud-based CDEs facilitiate the principals of BIM Level 2 standards – integrated and shared information that’s easy to manage – to bring the following benefits:

  • The ability for project team members to make decisions quickly and assuredly from a single source of information.
  • The relevant documents and data one system that boosts productivity.
  • The ability to help reduce the costs of your projects long term due to being future-proof.

The problem with common data environments is that there are so many on the market and not all of them meet the high standards required for BIM Level 2 compliance. Many project information managers need guidance on what to look for in a CDE.

Created by information management company BC, this article will serve as your guide. It will explain what BIM Level 2 is, what you should look for in a CDE that complies to BIM Level 2 standards and explain how their BC Projects software might be your perfect solution.

What is BIM Level 2?

BIM stands for Building Information Model and is a broad term that refers to the process of making project or asset information digital. 

BIM is constantly improving, but it currently exists as four different levels:

  • Level 0. Unmanaged computer-aided design (CAD) – essentially a digital drawing board.
  • Level 1. Managed CAD where drawings may be placed in a filing system but are not shared between team members.
  • Level 2. 3D building information with data attached created in separate programs but all stored together in a collaborative environment (this is pas 1192-2 standard, now known as ISO19650).
  • Level 3. A single, online, collaborative program that permits the creation, hosting and sharing of 3D building information and data.

Infographic on the levels of BIM


How to choose the right CDE for BIM Level 2 compliance

BIM Level 2 compliance is the thing you should be looking for in a CDE. Without it, you won’t be able to guarantee use of your CDE on every project. Yet BIM Level 2 compliance can come in a variety of different forms, and further considerations about what kind of benefits you want from your CDE like boosted productivity, quicker decision-making and future-proofing should also factor in.

1. Does the common data environment store the correct data?

The ability to store and organise the correct data is the bedrock of BIM Level 2 ideology. This is because managing data as it’s created is the best way to ensure easy future decision making.

  • Is the CDE able to deal with all file types and sizes?

CDEs need to be able to handle both graphical and non-graphical data created in a BIM environment, as BIM Level 2 requires ‘3D building information with data attached’. Therefore a CDE should be able to handle 3D models large and small to cope with whatever project you’re working on.

  • Does the CDE permit you to associate documents?

A function necessary for BIM Level 2 compliance is the linking of data to 3D models. You need to make sure the CDE can link website content to BIM files, from sources such as the MET Office, for easy info access within the program.

2. Does the environment store your project’s data in the correct way?

A CDE should boost your productivity by having data stored in such a way it delivers the right information to the right people at the right time. 

  • Does it simplify your project’s filing systems?

A CDE should be able to handle industry-standard file-naming conventions and ideally make file searching simple. Look for features such as metadata tags that allow files to be categorised by their content and searched for with common search terms. This sets up your data for easy retrieval in the future.

  • Is cloud-based

Most modern CDEs are cloud-based because it saves you the hassle of reliability. In terms of access, people should be able to log in to the CDE from outside the office to view information. And in terms of backing up, your cloud-based CDE should automatically save and back up any changes.

3. Can you collaborate with others on the CDE’s stored data?

A CDE is all about gathering data for easy future decision making, so it should enable you to make decisions assuredly.

  • Does it permit access for all team members in a shared area?

Executives, project managers, construction managers, contractors and managers of your supply chain alike should be able to add and edit the information they need to.

  • Is the common data environment easy to use?

Everyone from managers using it daily to contractors new to the system should be able to understand your CDE immediately so they can get on with their jobs.

  • Does it offer you access to your project’s data wherever you need it?

Your CDE should be cloud-based to allow up-to-date information to be available to everyone, even when they’re out of the office.

  • Does it provide a single source of truth for your project?

A CDE should ensure that every file is always up to date and should record version history for accountability. This ensures that everyone has a single source of truth they know is the most up to date version of information to base decisions upon.

What common data environment should you choose?

BC Projects is the best program for implementing BIM into your construction project. By providing a single source of truth, it stops communication errors and ensures decisions are made quickly and easily. By offering you the necessary features in one package it can boost productivity, and by brilliant future-proofing, it will save you money and worry long term.

BC are experts in BIM Level 2 implementation. Get in contact with BC to see how their BC Projects program can help you to seamlessly implement BIM into your construction project

BIM Level 2 Infographic by BC