A DECLARATION OF A NEW LEVEL OF MATURITY FOR AECO SECTOR, AND IT IS NOT BIM
Author: Fernando Morales
In 2011 the Government Construction Strategy of the United Kingdom mandated the use of Level 2 Building Information Modeling (BIM) on all public sector projects by 2016. This bold decision led to the government and the construction industry working together to develop the industry’s skills, standards and tools to dramatically reduce the cost of social infrastructure. In 2019, a graphic created by Jacek Katzer talking about BIM levels has been publicated, and soon a new version will be adopted globally to represent BIM maturity Levels, including a futuristic Level 3.
We today want to propose a new graphic version, redefining Level 3 in where we are inmersed, and creating a new Level 4 to come in the future, but being shaped fast by main technological companies, Metaverse will impact in AECO for sure, and it is Level 4 of maturity.
BIM Maturity Levels - Today
The UK Code for BIM defined the maturity levels as shown in image above. It can be concluded that the levels start from no collaborative environment (level 0) to an open collaboration level. It reflected the future improvement in collaborative tools, which would be affected by the construction sector. Moreover, new levels of BIM maturity were expected to continue updating in the future. (we are proposing the Level 4)
- Level 0: This is the primary level which includes 2D CAD (Computer Aided Design tools) for drafting and its output is simply distributed along the parties via paper or electronic prints. In this stage, there is no combination of any BIM enabling software.
- Level 1: This is a combination of 3D CAD models and 2D drafting documents with information about the product. This represents the current level for most organizations that are involved in the construction The collaboration is increased within the internal departments of the organization itself and 3D CAD models are more common. The attachment of data representing different sides of the project with lower model and 2D drawings are mostly used for documentation of work and production of shop drawings.
- Level 2: This is a level which operated by collaborative practices. Each participant in this level is working on his own 3D model. It comprises the sharing of data through common file formats like Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie). Therefore, each party is entitled to use any type of BIM software on the condition that it is interoperable with the formats agreed upon for information exchange purpose.
- Level 3: This level uses a full collaborative process with a single shared model. It represents the future of collaboration among different construction stakeholders and throughout all the construction processes and This allows all parties to access the project. Paperless project based on the ‘cloud-based’ data will be extended to the execution of the project where rugged tabs replace the conventional shop drawings. This allows the risks to be reduced by reducing the conflict of information.
More than BIM for our sector, crossing with others
But for us, Level 3 is much more than a cloud based collaboration in a fully integrated environment, it is about a new paradigm appearing called DIGITALTWIN (see our conceptualization of this technology in this POST)
So for us Level 3 is not only BIM in a better maturity level, it is related to BIM integrated to other ICT technologies based in Data, Cloud Computing, Simulations, Advanced Analytics, all intented to improve Asset Management in a Lifecycle approach for first time.
IoT technology is getting mature and real time data is helping to obtain better results than MEP or Structural Calculations, so Simulations can be calibrated, improved in order to obtain more accurated results and being able to anticipate to the problems if we create comparison between real time data and expected results.
Digital models, BIM models but also 3D or GIS are helping us today to contextualize the data and to be able to provide and added value to ICT technologies that are growing fasts and being incorporated by more and more companies and organizations.
So we need to create new ecosystems in AECO that take the best of Level 2 to interact to Data Science, a Cyberphysical environment in where sensors, machines, systems and software are linked, thanks to edge and cloud computing, and this much more than a CDE, so CDE was not intented to support BigData, in that case a part of the information is managed in DataLakes or Data Warehouses and CDE is structuring the General Asset Information to be able to create new relationships with non BIM data sources.
The more important is the usability of DigitalTwins, this technology is really intended to improve Asset indicators, like Energy, Sustainability, Cost Management and others.
Note that Level 3 is a big opportunity to obtain return of investment for BIM projects, using digitalmodels more than to deliver projects for construction, we are evolving to find new business models for new opportunities to grow in the sector and crossing with others, and this is just the beginning…
But a More Big one is coming, Level 4 is Metaverse, in the upcoming years we will see how the web is going to change to a new way to understand human relationships for all sectors, fast and in a very impressive way.
AECO sector (and others) will be overtaken by a technological wave and current roles will be impacted, negatively if not ready to completely change the way we implement technologies in our profession. Artificial Intelligence is here and Architects and other designers will need to use tools that will provide 2D / 3D / Technical documents in some minutes for complex projects and project creativity will not remain in a individual author or architect, all, from the beginning, including final users if need will take part.
We have a hope for Level 4, to achieve Net Zero Energy Buildings, to implement massively new renewable energy sources and find the control for Climate Change. Also, Sustainable Development Goals will be incorporated for all sectors and will have a great impact if we find the way to socialize and get involved to all society.
Buildings like time ago with automotive and industrial sector, will be constructed by robots and prefabrication will grow to facilitate millions of persons the access to better living spaces, more efficient and sustainable.
Level 4 should be in AECO the level of no file format needed, no dimensions, just goals and ways to get them, interacting constantly with digitaltwins and their simulations, calculating future scenarios and taking the best possible decisions. We will get fun and work in a very different way, so working with technologies will be much easy and inclusive, and funny ! work will be similar to games today, with missions to achieve in a healthy competition with others, all registered and secured thanks to blockchain, being paid on time so all tasks will be registered and approved automatically.
Architects and Engineers will work to citizens, each person will have an avatar full of real time data, private and public, clinical data will be sent to health system in something seems to be wrong in the future.
Level 4 is not about BIM only, too much things will appear and professional sectors will not be separated, like a new quattrocento.
We are being very positive, maybe too much, for this new conceptualization of what a new Level 4 could be, but it is completely in our hands to arrive to such scenario.