Why we need the data validation process

by Sarah Marshall | December 11, 2020 | 4 min read

Why we need the data validation process
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The complex requirements of projects and the increasing number of project participants means we amass an enormous amount of information. When this information is imported into and exported from BIM authoring tools, there is a requirement for sharing and consistent maintenance of data throughout the project.

The effective management of an as built asset relies heavily on the accuracy of the data collated and how it is validated throughout each stage of the project. In today’s modern methods of construction, digital asset management is essential to not only soft landings but the continuous management of the asset through its entire lifecycle.

But this can only happen if the hard work is put in at the beginning and the project owner commits to digital information management from the very start. From then on, we can integrate the technologically advanced process of digitising the way we design, build and operate to ultimately meet the operational needs of the assets’ end-user.

The construction industry has made significant technological advancements in asset management in recent years with the introduction of smart tech and dedicated validation software, but why do we need this you may ask, the answer is simple, to operate in an interoperable environment we must afford collaboration the opportunity to thrive.

At BIM Academy, collaborative working is at our core and as we are so often engaged to the role of BIM manager on large complex projects, the necessity to meticulously check all geographical and non-geographical data is present daily.

It is often evident that the validation process is not fully appreciated or recognised as an integral part of the BIM process to achieve absolute accuracy. Therefore, it is essential we communicate how we do this to all those involved in the project.

The process of validation

The graphical and non-graphical data in project models is essential to producing accurate information, both at construction and operational stages, allowing asset owners and occupiers ease of access to information and better management of spaces, materials and energy systems.

This data needs to undergo continuous validation and verification to update information before the initial handover process, it must also reflect any changes during the build phase from the original design.

We always begin by checking the deliverables against the project requirements set out in the Organisational Information Requirements (OIR), Project Information Requirements (PIR), Exchange Information Requirements (EIR) and Asset Information Requirements (AIR) and subsequently the BIM Execution Plan (BEP).

Information Accuracy

We need to check project and file names from the very beginning, this is the most basic of steps, which many within the teams seem to stumble on due to lack of collaboration.

Checking deliverables throughout the project, not just at handover saves not only time and cost on correcting inaccuracies but saves time and cost on rework of providing incorrect deliverables.

The validation process is often mistaken for simply being clash detection however this is only one aspect of the process.

At BIM Academy we have developed an asset checker tool which starts with project requirements and uses these to continually assess project accuracy at every stage. Just because we know what we need, doesn’t mean what we have is always correct.

Checking native discipline models for modelled content and methods of development is not only best practice but allows us to check non-graphical model data against the AIR as well as federated model geometry such as clash detection – even down to the basics such as the naming of files in the common data environment (CDE) itself.

A comparison between the Level of Development (LOD) is required by contractual documents in a specific stage of the project and the type of information within the model represents an important verification for the development of the project.

There are four key areas to cover in the validation process: checking modelling attributes and procedures, clash detection, code checking and verifying compliance with the correspondent regulation.

Our checker tool has a constantly evolving checklist which we use when checking project models. It has been created based on our experience on many differing and varied projects. We are constantly improving our validation process to ensure reliability of the project information upon completion and at handover stage.

The whole process of validation means we provide an accurate exchange of data to allow ease of management of the built asset, the way we do this is key to the successful completion of any project.

The validation process not only evaluates the accuracy of the translation process between the native data to IFC formats, but also helps ensure the integrity of the data and boosts interoperability.

To learn more about the BIM Academy approach to validation contact Sarah Marshall at [email protected].