Mr. Gonçal Costa’s Thesis Lecture
Integration of building product data with BIM modelling: a semantic-based product catalogue and rule checking system
Author: Costa Jutglar, Gonçal
Director: PhD. Madrazo Agudín, Leandro
Codirector: PhD. Pauwels, Pieter
Date: 20th of October of 2017
Hour: 10.30 AM
Tribunal: PhD. Jakob Beetz, PhD. Joaquim Narcís Moya Sala, PhD. Raúl García Castro
Abstract: In the AEC industry (Architecture, Engineering, Construction), it is increasingly necessary to automate the exchange of information in processes involving BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology.
The experts involved in these processes (architects, engineers, builders, etc.) use different types of applications to carry out specific tasks according to their scope of knowledge and their responsibility. Although each of these applications separately fulfils its function, interoperability between them remains a problem to be solved. In these processes it is also necessary to access data from different sources and different formats to integrate them and make them accessible to BIM applications.
This research investigates the difficulties that underlie these two problems – interoperability between applications and the integration of information in the context of processes based on BIM technologies – and propose solutions to overcome them. In the first place, the inefficiencies that currently exist in the exchange of information between systems and applications used in AEC projects using BIM technology have been examined. Once identified, our objective has been to overcome them through the application of Semantic Web technologies.
To do this, the ability of these technologies to integrate heterogeneous data from different sources and domains using ontologies is analysed.
Finally, we considered their application in the development of AEC projects. From this previous study, it has been concluded that developed solutions to improve interoperability between BIM and other applications using semantic technologies are still far from providing a definitive solution to the problem of interoperability. In order to propose solutions based on the Semantic Web for the integration of data in processes involving BIM technologies, the research has been limited to a case study: the creation of a catalogue of precast concrete components with semantic technologies which are compatible with BIM technology. In the context of this case study, we have developed methods and tools to (1) integrate data on components and constructive products in a catalogue with semantic content compatible with BIM technology, and (2) apply the rules of semantic inference to examine the components used on a BIM model and provide compatible products extracted from the catalogue.
The feasibility of the methods and tools has been demonstrated in an application case: pre-dimensioned structural elements that comply with structural safety regulations and the automated search of alternative components in the catalogue.
Despite demonstrating the potential of Semantic Web technologies to improve BIM processes by integrating external data, there are still some challenges to overcome, including the shortage of data in RDF format and the difficulty in the maintenance of the links between the data when they change.
The results obtained in this research could continue to be developed in two directions
(1) expanding the catalogue to new products and integrating new data sources related to them
(2) creating tools that facilitate the creation and maintenance of inference rules.