The digital transformation of the AEC sector is facing several criticalities which have to be solved in order to effectively exploit its different potentialities. For instance, the lack of a proper information management along the entire lifecycle of constructed works is still a big issue: the exchange of information can be improved by using different management tools and by practicing collaboration between all actors. Consequently, companies need to improve the exchange of information, by using better or more specific software of data management, as well as, by updating existing models as soon as possible to avoid change during or after the construction phase.
In case of renovation interventions, the information management can become very complex from the point of view of data collection and information exchange. However, there are technologies and teamwork collaboration methods already applied in new building projects that would improve the process and increase the quality of the deliverable, if applied also to renovation projects.
In this context, the EU-funded BIM4EEB project is developing an attractive and powerful BIM-based toolkit: a BIM management system that is integrated with specific tools for fast mapping of buildings, for HVAC design, operation and management, for fast tracking renovation operations. This toolkit will speed the survey, the energy modelling, construction site management and it will able to support designers in the design and planning phase, construction companies to efficiently carry out the work and service companies to provide attractive solutions for building retrofitting.
Some of the advantages are for instance a more efficient flow of information, improvement of building performance, quality and comfort for inhabitants, and decrease of the renovation time. This toolkit is the main instrument for increasing semantic interoperability between software and stakeholders involved along the overall renovation process including design, planning, construction, performance assessment and management. The BIM4EEB tools will rapidly shape 3D digital models of existing buildings and they will integrate semantic data in order to perform advanced evaluations of design options for renovations.
Main results of the project include guidelines for BIM implementation, and an easy, practical and operational platform as a central repository of information, namely a Common Data Environment (CDE). Three Best Practice Examples are going to be used for the validation of the developed tools and proposed methodology: these demonstration buildings, have been selected in three different European countries and climate zones (Poland, Italy and Finland). The whole project relies on a user-centric approach, considering different involved users: stakeholders, such as architects, designers, construction companies and service companies will derive advantages of the implementation of BIM-based processes as inhabitants.
The first step of ‘Definition of requirements for an efficient renovation process’ has just been concluded after 6 months. This work has analysed the workflow processes in order to understand how to optimise information workflows between different actors and along different stages through the use of ICT and implementation of BIM. Particular attention was given to individualise the differences between the public and private works in order to deliver methods and apply the BIM4EEB toolkit to renovation process in both cases.
When approaching a residential renovation process, there is the need to:
- define in detail every activity that is required in each stage of the building process in case of renovation interventions;
- point out the involved stakeholders (as designers, architects, construction companies, service companies, owners and inhabitants) in each single stage and to focus on their needs and requirements to be satisfied (taking into consideration a possible change of these needs according to innovative methods and tools that rely on ICT and BIM);
In particular, when a renovation is carried out, two types of scenario can be distinguished:
- when the owner is a private person, a group of people, a private company or a group of private companies;
- when the owner is a public administration.
Therefore, the project has individualised needs and requirements to be satisfied during the renovation process: this analysis is very important because it allows to ensure the best adaptation of the methodological and technological features of BIM4EEB toolkit to the specific needs.
Consequently, in order to develop a BIM management system, needs and requirements for designers, construction companies, service companies and owners and inhabitants are been taken into account.
Starting from the first step of the building process, it’s relevant that the renovation interventions demand the need for the performance-based building design during the early phases of the design, where the most important decisions are made according to costs and performance, in order to guarantee owners and users satisfaction and the quality of design. In particular, if the energy performance aspect is considered, generally a dynamic simulation joined with BIM and detailed information about technical building systems are used.
A BIM-assisted scenario simulator will be integrated to support energy-related decision-making in the refurbishment process, when the enriched BIM models are available. The BIM Assisted Scenario Simulator will face the complexity of the energy and indoor climate design by speeding up the decision making, enhancing the collaboration between the design domains and enabling the cross domain transparency of the technical details in the design team, that results in better indoor climate and energy selections in the renovation.
Concerning services companies (mostly facility managers and energy service companies) in case of a residential renovation, the information collected within BIM4EEB project should be used for providing services as: energy analysis and audits, energy management, project design and implementation, maintenance and operation, monitoring and evaluation of savings, property/facility management, energy and/or equipment supply, provision of service.
The development of a digital logbook, which is seen as an archive of building information from different sources (drawings, on-site visits, automated data from smart meters/monitoring devices and warrantee manuals) to be inserted and then continuously updated to describe what and how the building is with its interventions, wants to avoid lack of information or an incomplete knowledge about building information that generally represents barriers during the renovation process. The logbook will be stored within a platform and it won’t be an electronic file. It could be accessed by each participant of renovation process: from owners and clients to facility managers, public authorities, designers and installers. Within this project, stakeholders will have access to information collected during the building lifecycle through the BIM management system. In fact, the logbook could be used by:
- facility managers in defining activities to be proposed for renovation;
- energy service companies in defining impacts of different solutions on energy demand;
- users and owners for having a complete idea about the condition of the buildings they are occupying/own.
Eventually also the requirements and needs of owners and end-users have been analysed. Their role is considered extremely relevant because they are necessary inputs to individualise the functional components of the BIM4EEB platform, though sometimes they communicate their needs in an incomplete or inaccurate way. Consequently, in designing an ICT tool there could be difficulties related to the end users’ expectations about how the software will be or about what activities the user will be capable to perform. For this reason, the requirements have been obtained thanks to questionnaires distributed in the three pilot sites (Italy, Poland and Finland) where the project and so the renovation takes place.
Eventually, this information requirements will be useful for defining the technical specifications to design the BIM management system and the informative requirements associated to Linked Data and Ontologies ensuring semantic interoperability.