Why work with Activeplan?
Although we are technology company, our approach is always to understand the underlying problem and then use our expertise and software tools to provide practical solutions. This invariably means collaboration with other experts and software vendors who contribute different parts of the jigsaw.
We created the BIM4Housing community to help us understand the detail (where the devil always lies 😊) of what the many different stakeholders in the design, construction and operation of residential developments need.
Experts from Clients have participated in these sessions.
BIM4Housing Round Tables
We established six Working Groups, each of which includes experts who are interested in Development, Design, Construction, Manufacturing, Operations and Advisory activities.
The Working Groups identify what information they need to improve processes and form collective Workstreams of experts who are focused on delivering what the Working Groups say is needed e.g. Data Standardization, MMC, Sustainability and Fire Safety.
The Fire Safety workstream took the 18 asset types that HADG had identified and, through consolidation and a couple of additions, arrived at twelve key asset types for initial attention.
|AOV/Smoke Vents||Fire Alarm and Fire detector system||Drylining and Fire Wall|
|Cavity Barriers||Fire Doors||Fire Safety Signs|
|Dry-Wet Riser||Smoke Dampers||Penetration Seals|
|Emergency Lighting||Fire Dampers||Sprinkler System|
For each of these asset types, we asked the experts to answer these questions:
- What risks does the asset mitigate?
- To what risks is the asset, itself, susceptible?
- What information is needed about an asset, to ensure it performs as required?
- What tasks/method statements/procedures are required to ensure the asset is installed, commissioned, inspected, and maintained properly?
- What level of competency/training needs to be in place?
- How should product changes be recorded?
From September 2020, the Working Groups and Workstreams:
- Met 134 times
- Including 311 experts and responsible people
- From 180 different companies
This has resulted in tremendous industry engagement and knowledge sharing.
The outcomes from each these workshops were documented, recorded and published https://bim4housing-blackbox.com/publications/
We have 19 more sessions planned for the rest of 2022.
This information is freely available to anyone but Activeplan is applying what we have learned to create structured, reusable data libraries that drive standardisation.
Activeplan is using these to create an auditable Golden Thread that will provide Owners, Contractors and their supply chain members with a Digital Record of what has gone into each building, how it was installed and how it is being maintained into the future.
Digital Records: PFI contracts require detailed evidence that maintenance work has been undertaken. If the contractor cannot provide that evidence, it is considered not to have been done at all and the contractor is penalized – often very severely.
Despite this, many FM firms have struggled with the challenge of interpreting O&Ms, drawings, schedules, asset lists and recording what they have actually done in a joined-up manner.
As a result, many have been heavily penalized (£1m+) for poor records. As a result, Activeplan is now used by Equans, Interserve/Mitie, Skanska and Sodexo to provide the Digital Records they need to satisfy those regulating and auditing their works.
The lesson we have learned is that they cannot rely on pdf records that are referenced and managed manually. The important information needs to be digital, machine readable, data so it can be automatically validated and any changes in one data set be reflected in another related set.
In any Client, there will be many different stakeholders, both internal and external, who need information from the Golden Thread and produce information that enhances that Thread.
They each will use different software solutions for their specific needs – planning, specification, design, procurement, construction, installation, commissioning, inspection, handover and operations.
- A good understanding of asset management, construction and design processes.
- A good track record in transforming records of existing buildings into Asset Information Models.
- A good track of creating fully coordinated Asset Information Models on new BIM projects.
- Developed database libraries that explicitly define required information.
- Developed applications that apply those libraries and provide supply chains with simple means to contribute information on what was installed.
- Developed tools that automatically validate and verify the information each trade contactor will provide.
- Interoperates with other software applications, through trusted relationships.
- Developed a methodology to enable people with knowledge to share it with colleagues.
Activeplan also conforms with data standards such as ISO 27001, ISO 19650, BS1192-4, BS 8644-1 and HACT (Housing Association Charitable Trust), which means that, at any time, asset data captured and managed in Activeplan can be transferred to any other platform of a Client’s choosing.
The 21st Century challenge for Property and Construction.
Reducing carbon emissions is very complex
Ensuring buildings are safe is very complex
Reducing waste and unnecessary cost is complex
However, everyone wants simple answers to these complex challenges
Making Complex, Simple
We are now conditioned to expect a simple answer to any question; just “google it” – but how often do we go beyond page 1 of a Google Search? ©activeplan consulting ltd 2022
Google does the complex work in the background, so it can deliver the simple answer. Google, and the rest of the information ecosystem, deals with the detail, using standardisation and protocols to allow machines to engage with humans, respond to variables and deliver a simple answer – on Page 1!!
To achieve, this Google replaced 20th Century data management processes. They started by cataloguing existing documents and data sets to make them easier to find and then helped create an ecosystem in which any newly created information would be machine-readable.
As consumers, we didn’t need to know any of that. Just rely on the fact it was done.
Other search providers, even Microsoft, tried to do the same, but they don’t seem to have been able to deal with the complexity. So, we found that the simple answers delivered by Bing were often wrong.
In Property and Construction, traditionally slow to adopt technology, we are still using outdated methods and processes, that are heavily dependent on people doing the right thing at the right time.
Very complex, decisions made by experts applying knowledge and experience, but impossible to automate - unless we introduce a data-driven ecosystem.
Anyone who has been asked to compare the carbon footprint of a building will confirm that this is very complex. The embodied carbon of every product that it includes – manufacture, shipping, installation, operations – and how to support those making decisions at key stages, is required to choose lower emission solutions.
There are so many variables, it is virtually impossible for people to consider them all – plus ESG reporting will increasingly require a digital record of those selections.
Fire safety is equally complex, with many different products, from different suppliers, being assembled to mitigate risks.
Many variables that require different decisions based on different circumstances. Complex inter-relationships of data, driven by context and dynamic connections.
Reducing Waste and Cost are significant drivers for construction. However, designers and constructors often waste enormous amounts of time and effort in handling and managing duplicated information which often has poor quality or superfluous information.
A data- driven ecosystem can provide the solution by providing the requirement, specification and manufacturers information in their respective parts, reducing waste in data handling, supporting change management and enabling supply chain members to focus on the deliverables required.
This will also facilitate the specification, delivery and installation of the correct products, enabling timely delivery and reducing cost.
20th Century software solutions
Although there are some great software solutions for design, construction planning/management, procurement, inspection and asset management, they all share a common weakness. The data they use is created uniquely by each customer.
There is a lot of guidance and standards that customers are expected to follow, but our practical experience is that many don’t – and the problem is that you only need one person to add the wrong character to a field for the information thread to break and require manual intervention.
Amazon’s amazing delivery model would fail without standardised data.
Activeplan’s 21st Century software solutions
The same software can be used, with one change.
All of the non-geometric data about “things” - assets, products, spaces, buildings – comes from a common master database library via dynamic connectors (API).
The master database environment includes a data dictionary so alternative terms, that make more sense to individual stakeholders, can be presented.
The “things” still exists in the individual applications, and where they need the data to be held in the “object” that is simply synced with the master data model.
Requirements, specification and manufacturers information is all handled through their respective silos, ensuring information is still authored by experienced people, with the appropriate levels of robustness and quality control.
This common shared database removes the need to translate the non-geometric data using schemas like IFC and thereby removes the risk of data being changed and consequential actions.`
There is enormous, and growing, demand for this asset information.
Yet, currently, there seems no way of satisfying that demand – but wait, what about Activeplan?
The ActivePlan Platform
Activeplan is a leader in the industry-wide drive to improve asset information and is aligning with what is known as the Golden Thread, to which Activeplan has added the Golden (data) Key.
For new developments, the Golden Key can use a unique asset type code from the earliest stages of the project; to connect information requirements through design, specification, procurement, construction, commissioning and handover into operations.
For existing buildings, a similar methodology is applied but using the best-available information, which can be as-built O&M records, local site knowledge and surveys. The same structured and rigorous methods that are being developed for the Golden Thread are used to specify what information is required and audit that it is being provided – and then maintained.
Once that baseline has been achieved, Activeplan provides the means to integrate the data produced, by the different software applications a Client uses, to create a “single version of the truth”.
These applications are described below in Appendix B, but the focus of this proposal is the applications and libraries that help mobilisation and management of planned maintenance information.
Activeplan’s Project Information Model (ActivePIM)
ActivePIM federates the data that is authored and managed in many different applications.
It is built on the Microsoft platform and supports APIs into any other supporting applications to exchange data. This can also be achieved by file transfer, using agreed data templates.
ActivePIM coordinates models, photos and asset data, making verification and validation easier.
It records evidence of what was installed and photos of each stage for each asset.
Integrating the Fire Strategy and Plan with the Model
Asset Information Requirements and Product Library
Overview: Data is often managed in spreadsheets with little or no governance and in BIM models by adding metadata to objects – again with little or no governance.
Activeplan provides a set of industry standard data templates and dictionaries for managing project and asset data, that can be customised to reflect client-specific requirements.
Why: The Client is able to provide their supply chain with an explicit set of information requirements. It is much easier for appointed parties to assign Data Templates by work package, because the tools and processes are, also, supplied to author and validate the their own delivered information.
ActiveAIR standardises and validates asset information into a coherent format that enables reusable and consistent output.
Rigorous testing improves data quality and completeness.
Compliance is much more easily achieved because ActiveAIR will generate a fully coordinated set of auditable Asset Information Requirements for specific projects, in a format that can be used within designer’s and contractor’s existing software applications.
ActiveAIR also manages versions of the Client’s AIR, providing a record of updates, including which version of the AIR was applied to which project.
In BIM terms, it provides the solid foundations upon which the OIR, AIR and PIR aspects of ISO 19560 are built.
How: AP provides a data dictionary tool to create cloud-based Data Templates for sites, buildings, spaces, asset types and systems. This has been adopted by industry groups who are creating standard libraries for use by manufacturers, for example, to standardise the way they issue product data.
ActiveAIR uses these Data Templates to create standardised Asset Information Requirements that can be tailored to suit the specific needs of a sector.
The Requirements are passed into the PIM (Project Information Model) and used as the baseline to automatically test any submission and inform the author of any missing information.
Product Library Network
This is developed as a network of data libraries that form a shared resource of non-confidential information. It is designed so that commercially sensitive information about a product (perhaps cost or location) are controlled within a Client’s local copy of the Product Library.
Similarly, other HAs can create and share their content without revealing confidential data – as can manufacturers, designers and contractors.
Overview: Product Data from different Manufacturers is never provided in a consistent format; making it difficult to find information and impossible to check if essential information has been provided.
Activeplan provides a data management system for construction product data from manufacturers. It also records their use on projects; providing traceability in Asset Information Models.
Why: Provides access to standardised product data for use in specification, cost modelling, procurement, commissioning and operations, including cross-project queries where tracing which buildings contain a product is important.
This standardised product data makes the creation and management of Digital O&Ms much easier, saving time for the contractors and improving quality.
It also provides a more rigorous, and auditable, change management process that helps capture when an alternative product is selected for installation.
How: Activeplan has worked with BRE/CIH to develop a free data dictionary and template application that is currently being used to enable manufacturers to provide their information in a standardised format (part of the Lexicon initiative).
Activeplan has used this to create the Product Library Network that transforms different manufacturer's data into standard, reusable libraries.
APIs (data connectors) link the PL Network with data libraries, managed by Manufacturers and Merchants like Travis Perkins and commercial libraries like Luckins, BIMStore and BIMObject.
Fixed and Variable Data
Where possible, we should create data once, and use it many times. This reduces waste and complexity.
If we have an object, perhaps a door, we create a single database object of that door, connect to it all of the different properties or documents required for different purposes, and filter the selected information that is required by each different stakeholder.
Some of this information will be “fixed” and some “variable”.
Fixed data – doesn’t change project by project – e.g. manufacturers product information. Adding fixed data into BIM models is unnecessary, introduces complexity and risk of data loss.
Variable data – project-specific – can be added into models, depending on workflow
Where is the variable data created?
Designers – specification and design analysis applications – and BIM
Installers - database applications and spreadsheets (seldom BIM)
Most installers will author their variable data in databases or Excel e.g. record which actual model and serial number of a pump was installed, along with a photo. The commissioning engineer, the settings based on the performance curve of that pump in that system. The values will be impacted by other elements, for example the electric motor powering the pump. This detailed information may be required by the maintenance team, to ensure the system will continue to perform as designed and commissioned.
Activeplan data Ecosystem - Activeplan adds structure to things that others are already authoring, making it simple to retrieve and update. We create a data Ecosystem that allows information to be created and maintained in different databases, by different people, using different applications.
The Ecosystem includes objects that are “things” – buildings, spaces, systems, asset types, assets, products and tasks – and “things” about “things” – fire rating, carbon, warranties, certificates, data sheets, installation records and photos. From a technical perspective, the Ecosystem is application agnostic, focusing on the data, not the application that are creating/using it.
For “fixed” data, in most cases, having the right data sheet, for the right product, is adequate – and long as it is properly referenced, using categories and meta data, it can be automatically connected. The meta data can be defined in AP Templates, so the classification, and the key searchable data/properties that are agreed by experts and defined in AP Templates, can be added to the document.
The metadata can include “tags” that automatically connect the documents to “variable” data – perhaps elements in the models and also related data – such as task lists and photos.
This is a quick win because the BIM model is automatically connected to the documents in the O&M/H&S file, where it has been compiled as a separate commission.
Who does what? - Some asset data is created and added from the BIM author/modeller (perhaps 20%). This will include the x,y,z location, geometry, a unique ID and any data that is naturally added by the BIM author.
The rest (perhaps 80%) is provided by manufacturers and installers.
The determination of what data is provided by whom can be set in the Templates and allocated by the project team. ActivePIM provides that functionality and enables it to be issued through the CDE (ASITE, Aconex, Viewpoint etc) and the delivery tracked.
Each party has ownership and traceability that needs to be retained. If they hand that onto a 3rd party to add to the BIM model, that “chain of custody” is broken – plus it is unnecessary work/waste.
Fixed data - The standard product data will be “fixed” and therefore doesn’t need to be added to the BIM objects, as long as there is a dynamic connection to the manufacturers data for that specific product. In today’s connected world, it is unnecessary for each firm, and each project, to collect and retain copies of a manufacturers product datasheet. This is both wasteful and unmanageable.
Ideally, the manufacturer should generate data sheets from databases, using standardised data templates, that make them machine-readable. Initiatives (like LEXiCON) have started but that is a long journey.
To remove what has proven to be a barrier to progress, Activeplan can start the journey with a pdf datasheet of each specific product, perhaps with some key properties attached to that file in an machine-readable form, allowing it to be searched and connectable.
Manufacturers may say that their data sheets can be downloaded from their websites but they are sometimes difficult to find and downloading is a manual process. Manufacturers may discontinue products, making the data sheets difficult to find, so a permanent library of manufacturers products in a pdf format should be created.
Activeplan’s Product Library can be used as a platform to store these data sheets. We might also ask them to add other documents, like DoPs (Declaration of Performance) and EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations).
The AP Templates can include standard task lists for installation, inspection or maintenance. These can be applied to asset types, using the AP Templates and to the Product Library.
Collecting manufacturers data sheets – we could start with the 250 asset types in the AP Housing master library and ask project teams to start loading up the products they have used on recent projects. This can be seen as a collaborative initiative to build the records they will need to draw on at a later stage to evidence what they have installed – a Digital Record.
Once manufacturers become aware that there is a free “information warehouse” that their competitors’ products are being added to, they should be willing to add their own data sheets.
Manufacturers will see this as a free resource that they can use to be considered for specification, and we could provide them with the option to tag the data sheets with additional metadata from AP Templates, making their products more easily “found”.
We can also add GS1 and/or BSI Identify references, if that is useful.
In summary, we have different types of asset data that need collecting:
- Fixed data
- Variable but common data (e.g. reusable libraries for installation/inspection procedures)
- Variable but unique data (serial numbers, commissioning settings - and documents, commissioning certificates, photos)
- Geometric files – need federating and perhaps translating via ifc.
- Documents – certificates, data sheets, photos.
- The “fixed data” will be held in a common data library that is free to the manufacturers, designers and contractors, constantly used by different people, working on different projects, and therefore quality assured and kept current.
This provides “evergreen” asset data – constantly refreshed.
How Activeplan enhances BIM
The Activeplan team has been developing, what are now called BIM solutions, since the late ‘80s and partnered with the developers who created Sonata, Reflex and Revit in the 90’s.
Along this journey, we realised that adding data onto objects in the 3D models is problematic. It is typically held as “metadata” - usually textual properties that are uniquely created by each user/firm. Although people may follow standardised naming and data conventions, we are reliant on:
- The BIM authors having the competence, diligence and capacity to fully comply with the Standards.
- Those adding the metadata to have access to the 3D models that contain the objects for which they are responsible, and the expertise to add the data.
Some BIM specialists address this by using spreadsheets and scripts to semi-automate the process of adding metadata to BIM objects, but this requires additional expertise, introduces risks and breaks the auditability of the data.
Activeplan’s solution to this is simple.
Any data that isn’t created, or actioned, in the 3D model is best managed in databases, albeit with dynamic API connections to the objects in the geometric models.
The geometric models determine where things are, and what they are connected to, but Activeplan manages all the non-geometric data in proper databases i.e. environments that are specifically designed to manage data. Quality management, version control, access control, security and relationships with other databases, are much simpler than trying to achieve this with simple metadata.
More importantly, when the community agrees how parameters/properties/attributes should be described, they are set up in a master, shared, database environment to which BIM applications can connect and use as if the data were in the geometric model.
In the door example below, even if the project has standardised on Revit, a door might be in several different parties’ BIM models, each of which may use a standard Revit door family, but add differently named parameters – for example, some may use the term “Fire Rating”, others, FireRating, Fire Rating (Minutes) or something similar such as Fire Integrity or Resistance to Fire.
Although humans can read and interpret these, it makes interoperation very difficult, breaking the Golden Thread.
Activeplan provides a common, shared database environment, that any application can connect to directly, so the non-geometric data never needs to be transferred, or translated, between these different software applications, including procurement, commissioning and operations.
Ecosystem of related databases
IFC is a great innovation that supports interoperability, but it isn’t a silver bullet.
There are many IFC “model view definitions”, that are created for different purposes and have been implemented by different applications, in different ways. The quality and content of the files that are generated is highly dependent on the expertise of the person who generates them.
Although the files include associated metadata, IFC was primarily designed to translate geometric models into a neutral format that other geometric modelling applications can import and convert to their native format.
Any conversion carries the risk of data loss and IFC is no exception. Activeplan’s process mitigates that.
By not requiring the asset-related data to be held in the geometric model, which must then be converted into the neutral format and then converted back for the other application, Activeplan’s solution eliminates that risk for the asset-related data.
In the Activeplan Ecosystem, the asset/product data that everyone uses on the project, comes from the common project database – so it doesn’t need to be converted at all.
This common database is connected to other shared databases, managed by subject matter experts – in the example above, Fire. If/when some new requirement for additional parameters comes along (perhaps BS 8644-1), it is simply added to the common library and available to every user.
Importantly, the answers to the questions i.e., values to the parameters, can be completed once, perhaps by product manufacturers, and applied to every project, which has that model of door. This is covered in more detail below, in “Standardised Data Libraries” and “AP Smart Data”.
Because they are properties in the database, each parameter, or group of parameters, can be allocated to a role, so those not responsible for managing Fire related information, need not see those parameters. This reduces the risk of “information overload”, without omitting or losing valuable data.
Similarly, other required information – for example the increasing demand for carbon-related information, can be added to each database object, but only presented to those who need it. These Activeplan database objects carry machine-readable properties that determine how they interact, connect and present, which is why we call them, “Smart”.
In summary, Activeplan allows the asset data to be created, updated and managed in the MS SQLServer Cloud, connected to the BIM model, and other applications used by commercial teams, for example, via APIs.
So, the non-geometric data can be created once and used many (many) times by different people, using different applications, for different purposes – design, procurement, construction, commissioning, asset management.
Standardised data libraries
Activeplan’s foundation is built upon re-useable, quality-assured data libraries, that are Smart i.e., they are database objects with machine-readable properties that can connect with other objects and be used in machine-actionable transactions in different applications.
Activeplan’s mantra: Produce something once, test, validate and refine it, and then use it many times.
Although every project is different, many of the space types, systems, asset types and procedures can be identical, so Activeplan has spent several years, working with subject matter experts in these different areas, developing standardised libraries for project teams to use, and modify for local requirements.
Aside from saving time/cost on each project, this standardisation enables cross-project reporting to be much easier, making auditing, creation of the Digital Record and delivering the Golden Thread simpler.
These libraries are constantly evolving as the Activeplan/BIM4Housing community identifies the need for more information to satisfy the increasing number of drivers – safety, operations, energy and carbon.
Some of these may be driven by legislation; others by contractual requirements; others by owners and contractors, anticipating what will be required in the future – perhaps for insurers or investors.
By partnering with Activeplan, a Client will have access to the Ecosystem of shared data libraries, from which each project can select just what it requires. The different Activeplan applications then allow the project team to define who should provide which data sets, and when.
Although I understand that the principal goal is to deliver the COBie information that is defined in the contract, as I have explained, a Client can choose to collect from its supply chain, any additional information it expects might be useful. For example, this could include the asset types that have been identified as impacting on fire safety and the fire-related properties that are included in the new BS 8644-1:2022.
We will create a “corporate” ActiveAIR that will contain the Housing Master Asset Type library (currently 250 types) that are pre-populated with IFC properties and Uniclass. Individual project teams can select which of these they want to include in the procurement of information from their suppliers.
This can inform the production of the Information Delivery Plans, improving direct accountability, reducing duplication and supporting the creation of a digital record.
Because each individual supply chain member can be issued with a tailored set of required information, their workload is reduced, there is much less chance of misunderstanding, their submissions can be automatically checked and corrected, and the information can be delivered progressively, as each work stage is completed by each party.
Connecting the BIM, asset data and O&M
Activeplan allows the asset data to be created, updated and managed in the MS SQLServer Cloud, connected to the BIM model via APIs.
This means that non-Revit/BIM users can add and manage their own data directly, simplifying the data collection and validation process.
Validation and reporting
In this case, the instance of the “Door” in Revit is connected, via the GUID (Global Unique Identifier), to the AIR/PIR, the Product Library and the Project Information Model.
The validation can identify, highlighting in red, that several key fire-related attributes that were “Required” are missing, and the simple plan in the PIM, can identify which specific door needs updating. The connection to the Product Library allows that information to be added by the manufacturer, or the trade contractor.
Similarly, if a data sheet or commissioning information that was “Required” is missing, that is similarly automatically identified.
Data exchange is a critical part of the Golden Thread.
As we know, data about assets in the project is created by different people, at different times, using different applications and added to by other suppliers/project team members. Some of those will use 3D modelling applications like Revit or ArchiCAD but many will use Field View, Excel or other database applications to record what was installed.
Normally, data is added directly into the individual applications, which allow users to structure the data in any way they consider suitable. This means that the same property (perhaps fire-related) about the same type of asset (say a door) that is used on a project is described differently by each party. An architect placing a door in Revit will use a “family” that has different non-geometric parameters to an interior designer or a façade specialist also place a door in Revit.
Even where that is solved with shared parameter files, there is still the issue that other applications, perhaps procurement, commissioning or asset management, that require these non-geometric properties, and therefore might name them differently.
Activeplan’s Smart libraries address this challenge.
Activeplan’s databases integrate with the geometric models, but allow the data models to be managed outside of the geometric models.
APIs are already available for any Revit user, so different firms with different door “families” can connect them to the AP door library, managing the non-geometric data in MS SQLServer Cloud.
This means the properties required to describe a door will be common; the values of those properties can be entered once, by the best authorised person, and used in any other applications. If the values for the type, or the instance, of a door change, they are changed in the database, where it is much easier to track and report.
Ideally, the data created by each party – designer, manufacturer, installer, commissioner - should be delivered directly by that author, tested on submission and rejected if imperfect and resubmitted when correct. If data needs to be converted/interpreted by anyone other than the original author, risk and waste increases.
For example, the information about the asset types, their expected performance and the proposed locations of the individual assets should come from the designers, along with information about selected manufactured products that could satisfy the required specification.
Ideally, data about the actual products, both data sheets and some key machine readable data, should be provided directly by manufacturers or merchants, and related to the types and instances of assets in the Project Information Model. This makes the task for the installation contractor much easier i.e. they simply add the serial number, a photo and any required certificate of the item they have installed.
The installer can use a mobile phone or tablet to enter asset details and photos directly into the Activeplan spatial model, or we can provide them with data templates/APIs for other applications they already use – or spreadsheet forms.
Compliance and Progressive Assurance
In some (other) Regulated industries, this is known as “progressive assurance”, an incremental build-up of asset information that is tested and validated at each work stage. This was defined in BS1192-4 but these “COBie drops” are often now replaced with a single exchange at the end of the project.
This delay adds a lot of risk to the project because the specialists who were involved at earlier stages in the project, may have moved on. Collecting, validating and federating the project information in stages, is a safer way of ensuring all parties understand and deliver what is expected of them.
Activeplan is designed to enable that incremental build-up of validated data, generated by original authors, from their chosen applications – either as an Excel, JSON, RVT, DWG or IFC file.
Collaboration and coordination
A Client’s supply chain will use several different applications, for different purposes, to create different outputs. It is clearly important that these are aligned and complementary, so Activeplan will work with a Client, its supply chain and other software/service providers to agree how the workflow can operate most effectively.
Activeplan is built on the Microsoft platform and supports APIs into any other supporting applications to exchange data.
This includes a Client’s established (perhaps legacy) applications like Northgate and Keystone, as well as the new, emerging applications, that may be part of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem. Activeplan can contribute to the Dynamics solutions, either via the Smart Data libraries, API-based applications or file transfer using agreed data templates.
ActivePIM coordinates models, photos and asset data, making verification and validation easier.
In this example below, the model can be compared with a 360° photo and the asset schedule, delivered via COBie. Activeplan allows these assets to be “tagged” in the 360° photo, for purposes of easy identification.
Items the user can see in the photo that are missing from the model or the asset schedule, can be tagged in the photo and added into the asset schedule for that space.
As explained above, it makes sense for each party to add their data directly, from the applications they use, or via Activeplan data templates, either in Excel or online forms, which can be automatically validated, and corrected, if necessary. This maintains accountability for the data.
Whichever route they prefer, their submissions will be validated COBie files that are federated with the COBie files from the Revit.
Change control plan
The new regulatory regime requires a robust and auditable process of change management.
Contractors typically do this with documents, sometimes managed by special workflows in CDEs. Activeplan is developing new functionality to manage that more effectively, in a way that can satisfy the Golden Thread, but can be incorporated into existing CDE-managed processes.