IBIMI – buildingSMART Italia
Anna Moreno, graduated in Chemical Engineering, has worked on several themes during her career, including materials, energy, and interoperability for digital engineering systems. Since 2015 she has been dealing with the interoperability in the building sector and founded IBIMI (IBIMI – Istituto per il BIM in Italia, n.d.). IBIMI is a no-profit association for the promotion and knowledge spread about this technology and, as Italian chapter of buildingSMART (buildingSMART Italia – la casa del BIM, n.d.), is active in the development of the Open BIM. Anna Moreno is also the coordinator of the European project Net-UBIEP (Network for Using BIM to Increase the Energy Buildings Performance (Net-UBIEP – Network for Using BIM to Increase the Energy Buildings Performance, n.d.)). Its aim is the promotion of the use of BIM for the improvement of the energy performance of buildings throughout their life cycle, involving all actors in the construction industry.
Italian BIM decrees set deadlines for the mandatory use of BIM in public works, what are the actions that can boost its use also in the private sector?
In the private sector it is necessary a growing awareness of the benefits of using the BIM methodology throughout the life cycle of the asset. Any legal obligation will not be necessary if the private entities become aware that BIM allows to reduce time and costs, to limit the risk of design mistakes and consequently construction issues, and to have a digital twin of the asset that allows to reduce management and maintenance costs throughout the useful building life.
Open BIM aims to guarantee interoperability among the actors of the construction process, how can BIM be promoted at all stages and among all the stakeholders?
The use of open standards, i.e. independent of the software that generated the virtual models, and the use of a centralized digital platform, the so-called Common Data Environment (CDE), ensure the sharing or transfer of information among all the players of the construction process. Even the owner will be able to access to any model thanks to the CDE and fee model readers.
What are the main benefits and challenges of using BIM in renovation and efficiency projects? What are the most important steps?
The fundamental step of a renovation project is the accurate representation of the existing building. Often, no reliable documentation such as plans and elevations is available for existing buildings, especially for historical ones, so a key element is deriving an accurate model from a point cloud. Then, the obtained model can be provided to architects, structural engineers, and energy engineers, that will study and discuss the best solution to submit to the owner. Therefore, the renovation project will be simpler because it can propose different options, but certainly the structure of the model remains identical. Eventually, the renovation project can be finalized with the connection to all systems to optimize management and maintenance. Therefore, a higher initial investment corresponds to great advantages in the construction and management phases.
Among the activities carried out by IBIMI, did you support any renovation project particularly innovative for the challenge posed and the BIM solution implemented?
IBIMI involved the Universities of Padua, Brescia, Venice, Florence, Sapienza and the National Research Council (CNR) to review the case studies where BIM was used for renovation projects and produced a guideline that can be downloaded free of charge from our website (https://www.buildingsmartitalia.org/utenti/pubblicazioni/efficienza-energetica-per-gli-edifici-storici/). The document is under public consultation until 15/9/2022, and then the final version will be published, also translated into English.
Building stock is more and more digitalized, what do you think would be the main gain of having a digital model prior to the renovation?
The digital model of an existing building enables to make “informed decisions”. Currently, it often happens that during the renovation works unexpected issues rise, and they could have been avoided with an accurate virtual model of the existing building. I can list some examples of what unfortunately happens causing delays, cost increases and even legal cases:
- the actual dimensions are different from those provided, because the drawings are not updated,
- walls, assumed to be non-load bearing partitions, were instead load bearing elements and the structural stability of the building was compromise,
- clash between designed systems and the historical architecture,
- air conditioning systems cannot be placed where planned due to fire safety regulations
- the site is not accessible because it is located in the historic center.