02-Apr-2007 07:00:00

The whole project online

Posted by Emily Hodges on 02-Apr-2007 07:00:00
Emily Hodges

Gadgets, glorious gadgets

Building Magazine Issue 13

Seven years ago online project collaboration seemed like radical stuff but has since become mainstream. E-business solutions provider Asite is about to shake up the world of online collaboration again with the launch of an online single building model.

Users will be able to collaborate on the design of the building, tender it, order components, then collaborate on its construction all in one environment. This should eliminate design errors and clashes - an audit trail tracks changes, and a tool ensures they are authorised.

But the really clever bit is the way the model interfaces with other Asite tools, and external users' software. For example, users can select the doors for a project, then go to the Asite procurement tool, view prices and purchase them.

Intelligent objects that meet the internationally recognised IFC standard allow a range of software tools to use this data. For example, designers can work with their in-house software but can update the building information model (BIM) because of the IFC standard.

Users can also check the BIM using Asite's viewer. The design can then be tendered on Asite - all the components being identified makes this much easier. Once it reaches the construction stage, components can be easily ordered and the team can continue to collaborate using the tool.

Doesn't this look a bit radical for an industry that was sceptical about project collaboration back in 2000? "We're realistic about it. We're not going to change the world overnight," says Tony Ryan, Asite's chief executive officer. "There is a gradual change from 2D to 3D, then to a BIM. It will be a gradual adoption."

Asite will launch its BIM in April. "We would like to have our first projects using this by the third or fourth quarter of this year," says Ryan.

Tom Broughton, Deputy Editor, Building magazine.

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