Cloud-based BIM (Building Information Modeling)


Cloud-based BIM is a cloud computing technology that supports and provides BIM models to many stakeholders in the building industry. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of a building’s physical and functional properties, facilitating real-time communication, data exchange, and visualization and enhancing decision-making. 

 

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Cloud BIM is the next-level BIM technology that extends BIM to the cloud with the help of cloud computing. Here’s how it works:

  • Intelligent Model: Cloud BIM starts with a smart model, a digital copy of a physical facility containing detailed information about its geometry, materials, systems, and components. 
  • Cloud Platform: The model is cloud-based and accessible from any internet connection, eliminating barriers to physical office locations or specific software installations. 
  • Collaboration: Stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, and owners, are actively involved in the collaborative process, allowing them to view, edit, and add models in live mode. 
  • Lifecycle Continuum: The cloud BIM covers the whole life cycle of the asset. The cloud, from designing prototypes to facility management, maintains unbroken access to data.

 building geometry and materials

Image source: researchgate

A cloud BIM is a digital model that provides detailed information about a building’s geometry and materials. It is accessible anywhere with an internet connection, eliminating barriers to physical office locations or software installations. Stakeholders can collaborate on the model in live mode, and it covers the entire asset lifecycle.

Challenges with file-based BIM 

  • Keeping track of issues is hard. 
  • Separate files lead to confusion. 
  • No centrality for problems 
  • Lack of project transparency

Cloud-Based BIM for Design & Construction

Keeping track of issues is hard

Issue management is crucial for tracking communication, remedies, resolution, team sharing, and archived files. As issues grow, correct file management becomes essential for managing hundreds or thousands of frequent problems. 

Separate files lead to confusion

Working with various files might cause confusion. Different team members generate multiple files, duplicates, and versions. This increases the possibility of dealing with out-of-date, incomplete, and contradictory versions, making issue management more difficult.

No centrality for problems

Problems are solved by one or a few team members. The status, outcomes, and overlap between disciplines must all be discussed during vital team meetings. This consumes significant time, which could be better spent elsewhere. 

Lack of project transparency

The broken dependency on individuals to address project components would result in opaqueness. And this could further cause time divergence for unnecessary meetings and coordination, causing a lack of individual ownership of the work.

Advantages of cloud-based BIM 

  • Coordinated efficiency in one place 
  • Project transparency  
  • Accessible from anywhere.  
  • Cost-efficiency in integrating other BIM tools 

Advantages of cloud-based BIM

Coordinated efficiency in one place

BIM Cloud simplifies bug resolution by assigning, monitoring, and approving resolutions in one place. It consolidates activities and communications, classifies concerns, assigns deadlines, filters, and prioritizes issues, enhancing team efficiency. 

Project transparency 

Cloud-based working provides transparency, allowing team members to view issues, status updates, and communications. This transparency would further promote inclusion, problem-solving, and eliminating meetings, ensuring continuous problem management. 

Accessible from anywhere

BIM Cloud streamlines data, communications, and activities, providing a comprehensive issue trail for team feedback, process evaluation, and legal proof-points accessible from any location and device. 

Cloud infrastructure reduces upfront costs associated with on-premises IT infrastructure, with subscription-based pricing allowing businesses to pay only for necessary services. And then it makes it very easy for users to integrate the benefits of multiple BIM programs.

Challenges of cloud-based BIM 

  • Holistic Data Security Strategy 
  • Seamless Integration and Interoperability 
  • Optimized Performance and Minimal Latency 
  • Mitigating vendor lock-in risks 

Holistic Data Security Strategy

Cloud-based BIM data storage raises concerns about data security and privacy. Also, entrusting data to third-party providers raises ownership and control issues. Organizations operating in regions with stringent data sovereignty laws encounter hurdles in storing and processing data.

Seamless Integration and Interoperability 

The integration of cloud-based BIM solutions with existing workflows, software tools, and systems is complex and requires careful planning and implementation to ensure interoperability and data consistency. 

Optimized Performance and Minimal Latency

Emphasize performance optimization and latency reduction in cloud-BIM implementations to ensure smooth and responsive user experiences, enabling stakeholders to access and work with data efficiently without significant delays or disruptions. 

Mitigating vendor lock-in risks

Relying heavily on a single cloud service provider for BIM hosting and collaboration might lead to vendor lock-in. Organizations may have difficulties if they decide to change providers or if the current supplier has downtime or service interruptions.

How to assess cloud-based BIM 

  • Thorough Requirements Definition 
  • Comprehensive solution research 
  • Rigorous Feature Evaluation 
  • A Complete Assessment of Security and Support

Thorough Requirements Definition

Begin by establishing your organization’s particular BIM requirements and objectives. Consider project size, complexity, collaboration requirements, data security, compliance standards, and financial limits. 

Comprehensive solution research

Conduct extensive market research on existing solutions, researching numerous possibilities and providers to determine those that closely match the established criteria and provide the essential features and functionality. 

Rigorous Feature Evaluation

Evaluate the features and capabilities of selected solutions extensively, comparing them to the established requirements to determine their acceptability and efficacy in meeting the organization’s demands. 

A Complete Assessment of Security and Support

Assessment of Security and Support in BIM

Source: Researchgate.net

Assess the security measures and quality of support and training services provided by each BIM solution provider to ensure it meets technical requirements and provides reliable support. The main goal is to determine if the solution is compatible with your requirements. 

How to mitigate cloud-based BIM risks

  • Regulatory Compliance Adherence 
  • Resilient Data Management 
  • Human Factor Mitigation 
  • Audits and reviews 

Regulatory Compliance Adherence

Choose cloud service providers that adhere to industry standards and laws governing BIM data, such as ISO 27001, SOC 2, and GDPR. Ensure that the provider conducts frequent audits and certifications to prove their compliance status.

Resilient Data Management

To safeguard BIM data, employ robust encryption methods and secure key management processes. Regular data backups and disaster recovery plans are critical for company continuity. Implement data loss prevention measures and DLP solutions to monitor usage and prevent data exfiltration.

Human Factor Mitigation

Prioritize staff training and awareness initiatives to promote a security-conscious culture and a BIM-driven design methodology throughout the firm. It increases the efficacy of BIM utilization while decreasing the possibility of human error. 

Audits and reviews

Perform frequent security audits, assessments, and reviews of cloud-based BIM infrastructure. Access restrictions to proactively detect and fix security risks and compliance gaps. There have to be periodic checks on your BIM workforce performance too.

Wrapping up

The benefits of cloud-based BIM are clear. It promotes coordinated efficiency by centralizing problem management, increasing project transparency, and providing access from anywhere.

If properly deployed and maintained, cloud-based BIM provides a proactive approach to risk management. Organizations may also realize the full potential of BIM, which drives innovation and quality in the built environment. 


Further Reading

What Is BIM (Building Information Modeling)
BIM 360 Design Collaboration Explained
Open BIM: Concept And Advantages Explained In Detail
BIM Quality Assurance And Validation Checklist

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