BIM-MEPAUS Forum Debrief

On 27 July 2011, the AMCA hosted its BIM-MEPAUS forum, there were approximately 250 individuals represented throughout the entire supply chain of the building and construction industry. The BIM-MEPAUS forum program was essentially split into four key sessions:

  • an opening keynote and website presentation introducing the role of the BIM-MEPAUScommunity in the interaction with participants in the entire supply chain;
  • BIM-MEPAUS demonstrations highlighting how models and workflows bolster an integrated project delivery (IPD) environment and energise the entire supply chain using case studies as an exemplar;
  • BIM model management indicating the solutions available and currently under development to help advise how BIM files and models can be circulated in a full collaborative environment and providing advice into the requirements for BIM project information technology guidelines; and
  • keynote afternoon address from Mr Michael Cannistraro, providing an assessment into the seven year experience from a lonely BIM to full collaborative BIM environment from an experts perspective.

The AMCA submits that the presenters who participated at the BIM-MEPAUS were arguably the best available and leaders within the building and construction industry. Access to video footage and key presentations will be uploaded on the website shortly including advice on joining the BIM-MEPAUS Community, regular updates to workgroups, steering committee meetings and Project Board decisions.
The forum was organised given the high level of interest and supply chain engagement strategy which advised the need to progress actions within nine months. The AMCA and industry wide participants strongly believe that the BIM-MEPAUS will be an industry agreed BIM best practice standard and protocol with respect to building services. Significant progress was reported on a number of fronts through the activities of AMCA’s Collaborative Steering Committee, various workgroups, software developments and the support of the broader AMCA membership.
During the forum it was strongly re-affirmed that the BIM-MEPAUS is an industry wide initiative which seeks to effectively address the issues currently impeding the transition to BIM based IPD. The goal is to achieve significant increases in productivity and a commercial framework for implementation of BIM through industry adopted software platforms, standards and services.
Three key principles underpin the development of the initiative:

  • vendor independent, but support vendor specific workflows;
  • inclusive / collaborative; and
  • BIM customized to Australian industry standards and workflows.

Whilst BIM-MEPAUS is vendor independent, the specific workflow that is being supported is the Revit- TSI MAP based workflow for modelling and fabrication. The basis of this support is the widespread adoption of Autodesk Revit by the building services design firms and adoption of MAP shop drawing and fabrication software by many of the mechanical services contractors and ductwork manufacturers.
An overview of the BIM-MEPAUS system explains the key concepts and workflows on which this proposal is based and the framework for assessing the potential implications and opportunities presented by industry adoption of BIM-MEPAUS.
Whilst three defined workflows are supported, there is a strong focus on the BIM All The Way Design /Construction /Commissioned As-Built (CAB) workflow as the ultimate BIM based project delivery strategy. This is due to the inherent benefits it delivers, particularly when integrated with the FAB-MEPAUS capability to enable conversion of BIM models to fabrication and manufacturing models.
The BIM All The Way workflow enables a building to be designed and coordinated in a virtual environment before being built on site whilst also allowing best of breed fabrication software to be used for the manufacture of ducting and piping.
A number of hybrid BIM-MEPAUS workflows are available which allow the use of traditional 3D CAD software on current projects and also future non-BIM based projects.

The following diagram explains the BIM All The Way workflow:

The workflow is fundamentally dependent on the use of managed content to deliver standard models which are certified to assure compliance with the technical schedules and functionality with the BIM-MEPAUS Revit and TSI MAP software where this is needed for manufacturing purposes.

The diagram also identifies a range of opportunities for suppliers to develop a range of business to business opportunities (including linking project components required in assembly).
Post forum the initiative has gained widespread industry support including in-principle adoption by many of Australia’s largest developers and builders and it is expected to become the industry standard for BIM based project delivery and supply chain integration within the building services sector.

AMCA will continue progressively engaging with key peak industry bodies such as (and not limited to) the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association of Australia, Fan Manufacturers Association of Australia and NZ, National Fire Industry Association, National Electrical and Communication Association to set a framework to establish workgroups progressing activities required to developing standards and protocols as an industry reality.
Short-term goals include:

  • Progressing model builders for industry suppliers establishing minimum standards, libraries and requirements for equipment models to enable supply chain workflows (and finalise).
  • Promoting workflow solutions, raise awareness and develop whole-of-industry training courses.
  • On 1 October 2011, the AMCA BIM-MEPAUS Project Board will present a strategic business plan to the National Council. The recommendations will present a series of options that will set the direction and help communicate the future business model to industry.
  • Formalising service level agreements with software vendors, memorandum of understanding to various industry groups such electrical, fire, hydraulics and equipment manufacturers.
  • Appointing equipment model development workgroup committees in light of the National Council’s direction.
  • Training and education program will also be fast tracked.
  • Developing spatial coordination best practice guidelines for industry covering all aspects of the lifecycle and BIM-MEPAUS execution plans from 1 November 2011.
  • Consulting with Industry for input and solutions provided via the website under the communities section drawing from a Wikipedia concept.