Tata Steel has unveiled a new web-based Building Information Modelling tool - the DNA Profiler - which streamlines the approach to retrieving product information.
Enhancing and supporting the adoption of BIM technology is vital for UK construction, as it offers tangible supply chain benefits; it saves essential time and costs, and can highlight any technical issues within the design stage and beyond – yet for many, the heavy investment cost is prohibitive.
For building product manufacturers, mapping a route through the complicated landscape of BIM objects and data sets is no simple task, particularly given the variety of options and platforms available. It’s a true juggling act and getting it right can be tricky. Yet it’s vital to ensure manufacturers’ customers are able to access the information they need, when they need it, in the formats they use.
"Historically, it’s fair to say that many manufacturers have fallen short of the mark on this, providing either too much or not enough product data," says Alex Small, Tata Steel's BIM and Digital Platforms Manager.
"Indeed, we understand the frustrations shared by architects, specifiers and designers around interoperability and data overload. We also recognise that some users want manufacturers to supply objects with a very high level of detail and rafts of data embedded into them, while others want only the basics – and some don’t want an object at all.
"As such, with this in mind, we have developed our new DNA Profiler – a web-based BIM tool that allows users, at any stage in the construction process, to configure any of our European construction products with the precise level of geometric detail and exact level of information they require. It hosts more than 6,100 of the company’s European construction brand products - including Celsius®, ComFlor®, Kalzip® and Catnic® products - in all relevant CAD software formats required, with the option to download bespoke data sets, 3D objects or both combined, with full parametric functionality.
"The 3D objects are available in a large range of native CAD software formats such as Trimble Sketch up, Navisworks and Inventor. And data can be embedded into objects in Autodesk Revit and ARCHICAD with Tekla, Allplan and IFC to follow soon.
"The DNA Profiler also allows users to find a product by filtering on product data and performance characteristics. Architects and contractors can therefore access the data they need in the correct format and tailor it specifically to meet Employer Information Requirements (EIR). The intention is that this resource will support the exchange of information, ensuring that the right levels of quality, safety and compliance standards are met."
Tata Steel has also made the decision to launch the DNA Profiler for architects, engineers, contractors and end clients, whilst still in BETA testing. This is because, although it is very useful, there is a lot more that it could offer and we are hoping to get constructive feedback, which will help us to shape further developments of the tool.
"While we recognise that the industry must pull together to support a more universal adoption of BIM, not all manufacturers have the means or resources to provide the level of data that is needed," added Alex.
"Therefore, we intend to make the DNA Profiler available to other manufacturers under licence to help them develop their own BIM journey. This will have many benefits, such as easier development of systems and assemblies in CAD tools. It could also make development of follow-on software for the construction sector more standardised, as manufacturers would be offering their data to CAD systems in the same way."