Intersec Forum: Top theme BIM and building contract law

The Intersec Forum brings along the innovations for planners of security technology and technical building equipment, for installers and operators of modern building security: Under the title "New requirements for planners and installers: BIM and building contract law", the Intersec Forum dedicates the conference session on Wednesday afternoon (13 March) to the challenges of organisational, technical and legal nature of digital planning models (Building Information Modeling - BIM).

Gebäudesicherheit (Quelle: Sergey Nivens /
Gebäudesicherheit (Quelle: Sergey Nivens /

Experts from the Facility Management Department of the Mittelhessen University, the Fraunhofer building innovation alliance, Groben Engineers and Siemens Building Technologies Deutschland as well as from Kapellmann & Partner Attorneys will discuss the aspects of the cooperative working methodology BIM.

Günther Mertz, CEO of the German Association of the Building Services and Technical Installation Industry (Bundesverband Technische Gebäudeausstattung e.V. – BTGA) emphasises: “The focus of Intersec Forum is on connecting security and building-services technology. Accordingly, it is a must for suppliers and planners in the field of building services and technical installations.”

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Further reading

Building security and digital planning models (BIM)

Günther Mertz, CEO of the German Association of the Building Services and Technical Installation Industry (Bundesverband Technische Gebäudeausstattung e.V. – BTGA)

Digital planning methods in building technology: cleverly used, they help designers, builders and operators of buildings and integrated security technology from the planning stage onwards and can keep them on an efficient path across their entire lifecycle. At the Intersec Forum on 12 and 13 March 2019 experts will be discussing how these methods can be usefully incorporated. 

We asked Günther Mertz, CEO of the German Association of the Building Services and Technical Installation Industry (Bundesverband Technische Gebäudeausstattung e.V. – BTGA) about BIM-based methods in practice.

1. Mr. Mertz, how fully does the building services and technical-installations industry already use BIM-based methods?

G. Mertz: The BTGA is an organisation of industrially based firms building plant and equipment. They are able, both technically and commercially, to install and maintain technical building systems, even for major construction projects, and to operate them if necessary. The focus of these companies is on non-residential buildings in Germany and other European countries. These companies have their own engineering staff and facilities, and some of them also provide planning services. Given this background, we turned our attention very early to the subject of building information modelling (BIM). Digitisation took a prominent place in internal order management long ago. The mutually compatible planning tools used in these companies form the basis for this. Moreover any processing of the documentation supplied by the client is unthinkable without digital support. Digital planning methods are also used in work preparation and prefabrication. Through digital data handling the processes are being slimmed down, changes can be communicated more simply to the workshop, and the quality of the prefabricated products rises. Should the developer so wish, and should it be part of the commission, our companies are able to work with BIM on their own account or to provide the requisite digital data for use in BIM data models. 

2. What does a digital planning method such as BIM bring to security technology or security-technology networking?

G. Mertz: By using the BIM method the data relating to components used in buildings is stored on a joint data platform. The IFC data-exchange protocol is used for communication between the individual specialist models and the building-data model. This data protocol has already been established as standard in Germany since 2017 as DIN EN ISO 16739. This joint language makes it possible to exchange information digitally between individual sectors of industry. Individual security-relevant elements, such a windows, external doors, or areas needing particular protection, such as computer rooms, can be registered rapidly and completely. Naturally the security-technology sectors benefit from this. Their planning is significantly simplified and potential gaps in the surveillance technology can already be clearly identified by visualising them in the building model at the planning stage. Add to this that management of buildings using the BIM model is possible in a significantly simpler and more effective way. Servicing, maintenance and defect removal become more transparent and simpler.     

3. Which method is the really promising one? Does everything depend on IT-interface establishment or rather on the quality of joint standards and rules of play?

G. Mertz: The basis for any information exchange is a joint language. The basis for communication with the BIM data model is IFC, an open standard for the digital description of building models. IFC is set as international standard ISO 16739 and has now been adopted in many countries into their own standard regulations. Language, however, is only one factor in communication. For a common understanding it is also necessary to have rules of the game. This being so, a joint standard for data transmission is just as important as a common understanding of the contents so transmitted.

4. The call for digital planning tools has reached the operators. The latest recommendation of the German Taxpayers' Association (Bund der Steuerzahler (BdS)) in its Black Book for 2018-19, considering the significant cost increases in public-sector buildings, is urging that it is high time for digital planning methods to be used there. Will this development be accelerated if building operators become both operators and drivers of digital building-planning applications?

G. Mertz: Markets are determined by supply and demand. If there is no demand on the clients' part for the use of the BIM method, this will not be a part of the contract and consequently will not be used across the board. Only if a client realises what he can expect from a digital building model, and both sets and commissions this as a client-information requirement, will it be possible to use the BIM method for the benefit of all parties involved. With regard to the construction of public buildings, the wish and the reality are worlds apart: true, there is, at the political level, a substantial commitment to the inevitable BIM future, but if we look at the current disaster around the government district in Berlin, reality catches up with us quickly.

5. Where do you think digital building planning and management will ideally and shortly become compulsory?

G. Mertz: The biggest benefit to be derived from digital building planning will come in the planning, construction and operation of large non-residential buildings. It is precisely in the coordination of work by different sectors of trade and industry, and in the clarification of complex interfaces, that the BIM method shows its strengths. Of course the digital building model brings also a high benefit in the operation of buildings. This, for instance, is something which the public sector has recognised, and it intends in future to require the BIM method when issuing tenders for construction work. In the North Rhine-Westphalia party-coalition agreement of 2017, for example, BIM has been made a compulsory requirement from 2020 in all contracts awarded by the NRW Building and Real Estate Management Authority and Road Construction Authority. The use of the BIM method is always understood as a service to be commissioned. The type and scope of the BIM data model depend on the client's requirements and are therefore not set in a general way.    

6. Can and will the building-services and technical-installation industry, become a model for the construction industry in the field of BIM?

Read the entire interview with Günther Mertz

Digital planning methods require standardized data exchange. This is defined in the standard DIN EN ISO 16739 IFC.

Here is a brief overview on basic terms:

The DIN EN ISO 16739 Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) for data exchange in the construction industry and plant management (ISO16739:2013) defines the exchange of building models between software applications. This standard corresponds to the IFC4 standard developed by buildingSMART, which has been introduced since 2013 as ISO 16739, since 2016 as EN ISO 16739 and since 2017 as DIN EN ISO 16739.

With IFC, building information models (BIM) can be exchanged across software. IFC allows the representation of project and room structures (project - property - building - floor - area - room - room zones - components) as well as the aggregation of individual model elements to systems. Logical relationships between model elements can also be mapped. This enables various evaluations of the models. In addition, rooms and components can be described both geometrically in 3D and alphanumerically, defined via IFC-standardized property sets.

As a standardized basis for component properties, the application of the BIM classification according to the Standard Performance Book Construction (STLB-Bau; DIN SPEC 91400) is recommended.

The combination of the IFC building model and the GAEB specifications (regulations of the Joint Committee Electronics in Civil Engineering) is defined in DIN SPEC 91350.

The data exchange takes place via (GAEB-) interfaces, to which essentially all manufacturers of tender and calculation programs should adhere.

buildingSMART International (bSI) – is an association of leading international planning, execution and construction software companies. The main task of the association is the further development and standardization of open exchange standards for the software-independent exchange of information in BIM projects and the definition and standardization of work processes.

Bundesindustrieverband planen-bauen 4.0 - Gesellschaft zur Digitalisierung des Planens, Bauens und Betreibens mbH – is a German initiative of all relevant associations and chamber organisations in the value chain of planning, building and operating in Germany to introduce digital business processes that map the entire life cycle of buildings and real estate projects:

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