The BIM Collaboration Format (BCF)

By Mark Baldwin 3 years ago
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The BIM Collaboration Format, or BCF, is one of the most simple and useful standards in the buildingSMART toolkit.
BCF exists to track issues as they are identified, reported on and resolved in the course of the BIM process.

We spoke in a previous video about the two realms of BIM. On the one side there is a native modelling environment and on the other there is the collaborative environment. Most major issues are identified in BIM coordination meetings, that is in collaborative environment. However, as we are working with IFC model copies, we can’t make any changes here.

In the past we would just take screenshoots of the clash or model issue and create a PDF report to send to everyone. This was not a very intelligent way of working. It was also a massive, often uncoordinated, task to track all the issues and check that everyone had delivered on their tasks.

Enter BCF. BCF is like the WhatsApp of BIM. It allows you to send model mark-ups, clash reports, and general comments between all project members.
Each BCF issue is registered with a unique ID, making it easier to track how many issues are open, who is responsible for what issues, and to see when the issues are resolved.

You can also get analytics on how many issues are generated each week and how long they are taking to be resolved.
What is particularly cool about BCF is the communication between IFC tools and native modeling software. The BCF will identify exactly which objects are involved in an issue and will even record the screen view.

So, when someone opens up a BCF issue in their modelling software they are directed to the exact same view in their model.
No need to navigate around the model looking for that one missing electrical socket.

When the issue is solved in the modelling software, the BCF is update and this is communicated back to the project manager.
So easy. Why didn’t we think of it sooner!

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 Mark Baldwin

  (12 articles)

Australian architect and BIM-specialist. I am drawn to the simple, the pragmatic and the innovative. BIM - the digitalisation of our construction industry - must be all of these things.