Construction Document Templates

Construction Specifications and BIM

This information applies to any Australian architectural, building, interiors, landscape project, no matter the project size, classification, or type, be it housing, multi-residential, industrial, or commercial.

BIM (building information modelling) is a fantastic tool for designers. The modelling and drawing features and representations are amazing and help designers a lot.

However, the other side to the graphics of BIM is the set-up and presentation of written information, which generally is written notes and written detailed Specifications.

Designers want things made easier with better results using BIM with their drawings and seeing how everything fits together. They also want this with Specifications in the BIM system. While just pressing a button to create the Spec may seem fantastic, it is not realistic.

BIM has drawbacks in presenting Specifications. When a building item or component is presented in a BIM model, it often presents with basic Spec detail, mainly what the item is and its basic features. This is important detail, but it is what would be in a schedule only, which is not full Specification detail.

In a traditional construction Specification, as well as this specific detail for one item being called up, this detail is accompanied by a lot of other broader detail which is specified in places other than where the specific item is specified.

This broader detail is mostly common Specification detail which can apply to everything, but some of it applies to other items in the same category as the item in question. For example, if the original item being looked at was a concrete item, there would be a lot of other detail in the Concrete Section to look at also, such as concrete mix, formwork, sealants and more.

Then there is overall project common detail applicable to all items in the project, including that first item in question. This detail is usually contained in the common Sections (or chapters) of the Specification, primarily the Preliminaries Section.

The big question is, how is all this common detail to be presented by the BIM system?

Another consideration regarding BIM generated Specs is that the ability is removed for the designer to do a materials audit, that is checking on all the small, often easily missed items, making sure they are accounted for. This audit process occurs naturally when a designer writes a Specification using a traditional hard copy master Spec.

Finally, how does the designer know what Specification detail will be presented, unless they are very familiar with the content from using the BIM system over a long time. There is no Master Spec that the designer can refer to or check the quality of the Spec detail beforehand. The designer has no control over the Specifications the BIM system generates and is at the mercy of it.

As BIM systems incorporate their own Specification, there will be other unknowns relating to Specification that the designer will learn about only when they start using the BIM system, hopefully without being inconvenienced or compromised by it.

ArchiAssist Specifications…

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  • Download the FREE Sample Specification from the website.

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