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Throughout the BIM (Building Information Modeling) project lifecycle, data never stops accumulating from any sources. The problem with that data accumulation is integration is difficult, and sharing intelligent models and associated data becomes far too complex for anyone but BIM experts to understand—leaving many stakeholders out of the decision-making process. BIM6D, a Barcelona-based creator of 3D modeling software, used the Forge platform to build POWERBIM, a digital-twin software system that links models with databases to manage asset lifecycle. The goal of POWERBIM is to visualize data along with building designs, giving architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals and other stakeholders views of many models and their associated data in a single web application.
BIM6D focuses on helping AEC businesses use digitization tools easily. The company’s software developers were keen to solve a specific problem: As AEC professions move through various phases of digital model creation, the need for data modeling grows exponentially. AEC teams often need to create many digital models for everything from energy systems to IoT deployments. BIM6D saw value in moving these numerous data storehouses to the cloud, since local data storage was neither secure nor readily accessible by stakeholders.
BIM6D’s brainstorm was to create a software system that automatically generates databases and accompanying reports as soon as digital models are loaded into BIM 360 construction management software. From those reports, BIM6D hoped to create visualizations that integrated and captured asset performance data. Creating software with these capabilities in-house would have taken a good deal of time, especially to build in the data management tools.
To shortcut the development process for POWERBIM, BIM6D chose Forge. Using Forge’s Data Management API and the BIM 360 API, POWERBIM can integrate with BIM 360 and extract from digital models, creating unified ways for accessing data. The Model Derivative API is used in POWERBIM to share digital models in different formats, improving access to designs and data, while the Webhook API keeps stakeholders up to date with event notifications about changes in designs and data.
The Design Automation API helps POWERBIM do the heavy lifting of automating repetitive tasks that relate to running scripts on design files; BIM6D also uses the Reality Capture API to process point clouds.
For POWERBIM users—including major retailers, commercial office space developers, and multiunit housing projects—data is more easily managed at all project stages. With access to data and related reports in the POWERBIM digital twin, AEC professionals can make rapid, better-informed decisions on clash detection, energy simulations, and asset lifecycle management.
Forge highlights include the following:
“We counted on Forge to help us bring POWERBIM to market, but it’s not just the Forge platform that drove our project forward. It was also the people behind Forge—their knowledge and expertise helped us get the most out of the Forge APIs at every step of the development process.” —Fernando Morales Tosar, Architect/BIM Manager, BIM6D