Industry groups harmonize concrete plan for National BIM Standard adoption

Source: American Concrete Institute Foundation/Strategic Development Council (SDC), Farmington Hills, Mich.

Three national concrete groups, two ACI committees and representatives of major concrete engineering and construction firms have prepared SDC’s Building Information Modeling (BIM) Strategic Plan to inform the National Institute of Building Sciences’ (NIBS) National BIM Standard.

It outlines five goals and their supporters: Concrete Materials, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; Geometry, ACI Committee 131–Building Information Modeling of Concrete Structures; Reinforcement, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute BIM Task Force and Post-Tensioning Institute; Project Management, American Society of Concrete Contractors; and, Formwork, ACI 347 Committee–Formwork for Concrete and ACI Committee 131.

The ACI Foundation proposed the Strategic Plan after identifying inconsistent treatment of structural concrete components in BIM software on track for broad adoption. Many specialized software platforms are needed to complete a project, plan authors explain, while time and money currently spent duplicating design and documentation work could be saved if files are transferred automatically between professionals—once the software platforms can be made to effectively communicate.

The Plan stands to influence development of NIBS-recognized software platform tools, dubbed Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs), applicable to cast-in-place structural concrete components. Widely accepted for communicating between software platforms. IFCs are neutral, non-proprietary exchange files, holding all types of building information data in a standardized format that software developers can treat uniformly. The development of better IFC representation of various aspects of structural concrete construction is the key to improving the way concrete construction professionals work with BIM technology, Strategic Plan authors contend.

SDC began working on the Strategic Plan in late 2009 under Charles Pankow Foundation and RMC Research & Education Foundation grants. Integral to the document are SDC Accelerated Implementation Team members, including NRMCA Senior V.P. Colin Lobo; William Shebetka of Baker Concrete Construction; Peter Carrato of Bechtel Corp.; Daniel Cuoco and Brad Malsten of Thornton Tomasetti; and, Phillip Williams, Webcor Builders. The document can be downloaded from