1 April 2010

Cold Spring Granite’s BIM Families Benefit the Project Cycle

Realizing the industry is quickly moving away from CAD and toward building information modeling (BIM) as the preferred design tool, Cold Spring Granite began efforts years ago that today have resulted in a vast online library of BIM object families. Improved coordination, more accurate information, reduced waste and quick turnaround are just some of many benefits that will help ensure successful projects for the design and construction team.

BIM, the process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle, typically involves the use of 3D real-time software, such as the industry-leading Autodesk Revit. With more product information becoming readily available in BIM format and more collaboration of designers, constructors, suppliers and manufacturers earlier in the design and construction process, the trend is heading toward making specific product selections sooner rather than later. Cold Spring Granite’s models will help meet this need for information faster. 



All in the Families

"As we built our BIM families, we made sure we included comprehensive details and parameters, enabling us to use the information in the production process, further enhancing our efficiency as a supplier," said Tim Feldhege, Drafting Manager. "However, we’ve been careful to keep our family files to a manageable enough size for practical use by architects and general contractors."

While acknowledging the importance of universal accessibility to a basic family and type catalog, Cold Spring Granite also recognizes the appeal of utilizing this information from a design perspective. Enhanced files, featuring the addition of images of color and finish combinations for rendering, are also available on the Cold Spring Granite website. The ability to add color and texture during the early stages of the design process has been met with favorable feedback from the market.

Elements Cold Spring Granite established in the models include piece sizes, length, height, slope, etc. Information can be taken directly from the project and incorporated into the production tickets during the manufacturing process. Additional information, such as panel sizes, weight and test data can be found on the Cold Spring Granite website. Currently, Cold Spring Granite has 20 families, with approximately 50 more building product models to be completed within the next six months. "We’re evolving to give more options," said Jeanne Ver Dugt, Drafting Supervisor.

Cold Spring Granite’s BIM object families are available in Revit 2010 format on the company’s website and currently include family details such as stone wall facings, anchors, thresholds, floors, coping, and sills. Architects will find both 3D versions for their models and 2D for their drawings. As such, the families offer ease of use for the design process.

"In our family files, we included essential product information, such as CSI MasterFormat Section number, the OmniClass Construction Classification (a system used for applications ranging from organizing library materials, product literature, and project information to providing a classification structure for electronic databases), and contact information," said Ver Dugt. "As architects use our families, they can identify data on available colors and recommended thicknesses and will find links back to the Cold Spring Granite website for more information."  



Exceeding Expectations

In creating its BIM families, Cold Spring Granite worked closely with Autodesk and their system’s requirements. In the past, models often were not built to any standard specifications, which created numerous problems in the industry. Consequently, Autodesk established standard specifications based on market feedback from architects and general contractors. Cold Spring Granite obtains Autodesk certification for all BIM objects published on their website.

"By completing requirements for Autodesk certification, Cold Spring Granite will offer customers distinct advantages in the marketplace," said Ver Dugt.

 These benefits include:
•Complete, consistent and reliable information
•Compatibility for use with Revit design software
•Easier to discover and select building product information through Autodesk Seek
•BIM families that are developed to standard conventions in the AEC industry



With the ability to access Autodesk certified BIM objects, architects will possess reliable information they can use with confidence. In addition, architects can expect complete and open interoperability from Cold Spring Granite models.

"Architects will be able to use our BIM families to specify piece sizes or make adjustments," said Feldhege. "If their requirements go beyond the parameters we’ve established, we can work together to make changes and adjustments specific to the project."

By offering BIM capabilities, Cold Spring Granite is not only staying on the cutting edge of industry technology but also providing even greater customer service. This technology is bringing Cold Spring Granite into the design and construction process earlier rather than later and such collaboration throughout, allows Cold Spring Granite to provide input and extract data from the BIM object rather than recreate it separately for each project. By doing so, the project benefits from improved overall quality, easier constructability, the reduction of waste, better timeliness in fabrication schedules and a more streamlined fabrication process – benefits all members of the project team can enjoy.