subscribe to ENR magazine subscribe
contact us
careers industry jobs
events events
Dodge Data & Analytics
ENR Logo
Web access will be provided
as part of your subscription.

Making the Case for Automated BIM Review

Text size: A A
[ Page 1 of 3 ]
Image courtesy of Fiatech
Running an access-and-egress code-rule set against the AutoCodes project's model, the Solibri Model Checker flags non-compliant conditions, such as this office with insufficient room for a wheelchair to turn around.
----- Advertising -----

An industry group that hopes to automate code compliance checks for 3D building information models scaled back its proof-of-concept project recently because the process it hoped to measure against—manual 2D plan review—turned out to be wildly erratic.

An AutoCodes project committee member, Bill Gould says the group had hoped to establish a baseline by submitting to code officials a 2D set of 137 plan sheets for a big Target Corp. retail-store prototype in 13 jurisdictions around the country. Review was to be limited to access and egress (A&E) compliance, which is governed by relatively objective criteria.

In the second step, automatic code-compliance software was to run the same review against the original 3D model, from which the 2D plans were derived.

The committee expected a few variations, but members were shocked by the disparity found in the 2D reviews before the 3D- model check was even run.

"In one jurisdiction with the plan set, we got one response [that is, one issue flagged]. From another jurisdiction we got 43," says Gould. "We realized, Wow! We have a real issue here with regard to consistency."

Several planned rounds of rule tweaks were dropped from the first phase of the project as the group assessed the findings.

Indeed, the jurisdiction that raised one issue and the one that raised 43 issues were by no means outliers, Gould said. The numbers of issues flagged by the various jurisdictions differed widely and were scattered all in between. "It definitely underscored the issue that we're trying to address," Gould says.

Committee members from Minneapolis-based Target Corp., which supplied the plans and model, were not permitted to comment for this article by Target's corporate communications department. But in representations to Fiatech, the company has complained that such erratic results during plan reviews have hamstrung efforts to build stores in many jurisdictions or even within the same jurisdiction. The company suggests that the problem causes unpredictable delays, drives up project costs, and affects all designers and builders. It is a significant drag on the economy nationwide, the company claims.

"This is what they've been crying about," says Gould.

The industry technology consortium Fiatech, based in Austin, Texas, is co-sponsoring the AutoCodes project with the International Code Council, Chicago. The groups are circulating the report describing the first-phase results.  


[ Page 1 of 3 ]
----- Advertising -----
  Blogs: ENR Staff   Blogs: Other Voices  
Critical Path: ENR's editors and bloggers deliver their insights, opinions, cool-headed analysis and hot-headed rantings
Project Leads/Pulse

Gives readers a glimpse of who is planning and constructing some of the largest projects throughout the U.S. Much information for pulse is derived from McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge.

For more information on a project in Pulse that has a DR#, or for general information on Dodge products and services, please visit our Website at

Information is provided on construction projects in following stages in each issue of ENR: Planning, Contracts/Bids/Proposals and Bid/Proposal Dates.

View all Project Leads/Pulse »

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.