The UK BIM Alliance study shows a fresh way forward for construction product manufacturer’s needing to provide a digital representation of their products

UK BIM Study

The CADENAS BIM solution complies fully with the UK BIM Alliance recommendations

Digital Construction Week 2018 in London saw the anticipated release of the UK BIM Alliance “A fresh way forward for Product Data” document. This report’s aim is to identify some of the key challenges to the digitalization of product data, explain why the process is far from ready to use, and identify what the barriers to progress are and how they might be overcome. In order to help building component manufacturers master these challenges, the software manufacturer CADENAS provides a comprehensive BIM solution.

Six key challenges of the digitalization of product data

The UK BIM Alliance is an umbrella body of interest groups, communities and individuals across the whole built environment who have an interest in the digitisation of its industry. Its report is a guide for construction product manufacturers who face the challenge of providing digital representations of their products and the need to implement a structured data solution. It identifies six of the key challenges to the digitalisation of product data, providing recommendations where improvements need to be made:

  1. Structured Data
  2. Product Data Standards
  3. The Data journey
  4. Product Data naming and Product Identification
  5. Product Data Hosting
  6. Product Data Security

With the focus on structured data, you may wonder where 3D objects fit into the scenario?

Whilst the report is openly critical of the current BIM library file sharing solution, it recognises that for certain product types, there is still a need for 3D objects. The recommendation is that 3D objects need to ideally be created with an “on-the-fly 3D object creation tool” with Data being sourced from the manufacturer’s database. This is excellent news for any current or future CADENAS clients. Following the principles CADENAS implemented in the engineering sector, we have developed exactly this solution for our BIM clients, like TATA Steel and Wienerberger.

Wienerberger’s product data platform: CADENAS (3D BIM models) & coBuilder (attributes).
Joint project: CADENAS (3D BIM models) & coBuilder (attributes)

Many of the file sharing platforms require the manufacturer to create their products in Revit or a very limited set of CAD formats at considerable cost, when in reality a manufacturer’s products are required in a multitude of different CAD formats in order to support the entire lifecycle of a building from design, build, and maintain etc.

The UK BIM Alliance study recommends component manufacturers have a strategy for product data hosting. See how the CADENAS solution helps to meets those requirements:


BIM Study: “Manufacturers must be able to easily update their product information no matter where it is stored.”

With CADENAS, product data can be linked via API directly to either data provider experts like coBuilder or database API systems/PIM providers. The CADENAS BIM solution fully supports the principal that the manufacturer is easily able to update their information.

BIM Study: “Information needs to be split from objects and held separately. Manufacturers should have their own product databases, or PIMS, where they can hold, and be responsible for managing, their own information.”

This is exactly what the solution from CADENAS and coBuilder offers today. Manufacturers’ product content is owned by the manufacturer because they are and should be the single source of the truth being the owner of the product. CADENAS is able to create the 3D objects on the fly in over 100+ different CAD formats as requested by planers and architects for download.

available as native 3D CAD models of common CAD systems

BIM Study: Those databases should be linked (i.e. by API) to any company that hosts that manufacturer’s information at property level. This enables manufacturers to manage one database with all other information automatically linked – i.e. a “single source of the truth”.

At CADENAS this is exactly the encouraged principal. With its inhouse software developers, CADENAS is able to link database to geometry. This isn’t stored information, this is live “on the fly” data and geometry.

BIM Study: “Object hosting companies should use available 3D object creation tools to enable the information to be added/linked to an object “on the fly” (at the point of download). Care should be taken to ensure that parametric object performance is not affected where relevant”.

Together with coBuilder, CADENAS has developed a collaborative solution, which allows manufacturers to control and manage their product data and objects in real-time and automatically link a single-source of data to other systems. The solution provides manufacturers with a straightforward marketing channel to share their data and 3D BIM CAD models. Moreover, the integration allows the users to take advantage of custom parametric objects with embedded data to answer the specific customers’ needs in a much more structured way. Leading construction products manufacturers such as Wienerberger, a leading international supplier of building materials and infrastructure solutions, and KSB Group - the global leading supplier of pumps, valves and related services, have already adopted the combined solution offered by CADENAS and coBuilder.

Cooperation of CADENAS and coBuilder

BIM Study: “Most hosting companies have existing version control processes to alert users when objects/information in their models have been updated. These may need to be amended so that they trigger automatically when amended, and follow a change control management process”.

CADENAS provides a version control ability to always be calling back to the manufacturer data source. Specifiers and architects are able to work with the latest product Information.

Revit FRA family technology with Plugin

If you would like to learn more about the CADENAS BIM solution and our partnership with coBuilder, please get in touch or click here for further Information.

The UK BIM Alliance study “A fresh way forward for Product Data” is available to download here.

Interested? Contact us!

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