Australia is set to get a centralised library for research and resources relating to Building Information Modelling (BIM) though which anyone associated with architecture or construction will be able to get information about the growing practice.

Following a summit conducted by the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) and the Australian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) last year, the two organisations have teamed up to develop an electronic knowledge hub of benefits and resources associated with BIM.

The centrepoint of this hub will revolve around an online register for BIM-related research and development projects which will feature baseline benchmarking, case studies, local and international research, a bibliography and an updated conspectus of BIM initiatives.

Stressing that the initiative was not about replicating the work of others, ACIF executive director Peter Barda says the idea behind the new project is to facilitate collaboration and avoid duplication of effort. He says the hub will enable individuals and organisations interested in adopting BIM to access knowledge and be directed to the work they might be interested in or organisations they might be interested in talking to.

“There are a lot of people and organisations in Australia and elsewhere who are working on BIM for the construction industry,” Barda said.

“And we aren’t necessarily talking to each other. There are bits here and bits there.  So the purpose of this is basically to provide a central repository of information on anyone who is working on certain aspects of BIM and giving everyone who’s out there and interested in working together a chance to come together from time to time and also to make sure we [the construction industry] are on top of who is doing what and we are not duplicating work or wasting resources.”

Barda says the ultimate aim revolves around fostering greater collaboration not just with regard to BIM but across the broader construction process. He says the full extent of the benefits BIM offers are realised only when everyone involved in design, planning, construction and even post-construction asset maintenance are able to contribute toward the design and how it delivers on the client’s brief.

He says this is especially the case with those he refers to as ‘bespoke’ trade contractors in fields such as engineering services, air-conditioning, hydraulics, and construction trades such as steel fixing, whom he says have significant expertise to aid in the design process.

Barda says this kind of collaboration can lead to designs which better meet client requirements, avoidance of potential clashes of coordination and design, reduced errors and the ability to be able to build BIM models in 4D which take into account the sequence in which everything goes together – an ability he says enables early stage thinking about aspects of the construction process such as the most efficient way to locate cranes and materials and the best ways to reduce learning cycle times on site.

“What we are really focusing on is making sure people think not just about BIM but about what they have got to do about bringing teams together, briefing them and unlocking all the skills that they have got,” he said.

Information to populate the hub is being collected by NATSPEC, a not-for-profit organisation which runs the national specification system for building and construction.

The new library is expected to go live in April.