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April 26, 2010

Canada BIM Council, U.S. buildingSMART alliance team up to create BIM standard

Groundbreaking MOU signed

The Canada BIM Council and the buildingSMART alliance of the United States are poised to work collaboratively on development of a North American BIM standard in the wake of the signing of a historic memorandum of understanding.

CanBIM will provide adaptations “addressing Canada’s unique needs,” said council chair Paul Loreto of London.

He said the intent is to focus on such issues as interoperability between BIM platforms, establishment of specific standards governing model development and creation of an interactive website allowing the architecture, engineering and construction communities to discuss BIM and air any concerns they might have.

“As each common concern is documented and a resolution has been reached, CanBIM will share this knowledge with key Canadian associations that have entered into memorandums of agreement with us so they can leverage our findings to provide direction to their membership,” Loreto said.

“Such collaboration will provide a unified approach to resolving issues concerning BIM and will best reflect the joint concerns of members of the Canadian AEC industry.”

In Canada, the council is in preliminary discussions with the Canadian Construction Association, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada and Construction Specifications Canada.

“We are also in the planning stages of initiating future discussions with other important national associations such as Engineers Canada and BOMA Canada and individual provincial professional associations.”

Loreto, president of the full-service BIM architecture company, paul f. loreto architect inc., said the signing of the MOU with the BSa is a “mutually important” endeavour.

The buildingSMART alliance is an arm of the National Institute of Building Sciences.

“This creates a very strong alliance in which the concerns of the BIM community can be heard and addressed, not only in Canada and the United States but in North America as a whole.”

Beyond North America, the MOU will allow the council to become aligned with buildingSMART International, a collaboration between more than 50 countries. BIM has been deployed in construction for close to a decade in some foreign countries.

“The reality is that both the software and construction industries are become much more of a multinational endeavour,” Loreto said. “In order to ensure that open BIM standards are implemented, we need to collaborate with other like-minded organizations worldwide.

“We can learn much from the experience of others, which will help leverage our resources so that we can provide more accurate BIM-based matrix for Canada.”

Over the longer term, Loreto said, the MOU will enable the two organizations to leverage future efforts and initiatives “that are yet to be developed.”

A non-profit corporation, CanBIM was officially launched in March of last year. Loreto said the council is intent in part on forging close working relationships with key associations in the AEC industry.

“In doing so, we hope to remove the silos that are popping up in Canada and bringing everybody together in the true spirit of BIM.”

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