BIM – the digital revolution in construction

Building Information Modeling – Canzler uses model-based digital planning

By Birgit Kaiser, Dipl.-Ing. FH, Canzler GmbH


Model-based, digital and interdisciplinary – these are just some of the buzzwords that describe the way Building Information Modeling (BIM) works. BIM is the sector's future and is ever more strongly defining the everyday working life of everyone in the construction world. Thanks to BIM, a building can from the very beginning of the planning process be displayed as a parameterized model that integrates all the specialist disciplines. As the process unfolds, the 3D planning is combined with additional data relating to component properties, costs, and deadlines. A virtual model of the building thus arises, showing the planned status of the structure, thereby dispalying reality in simulated form.

At Canzler the focus has long since been on using Building Information Modeling when planning buildings, the technical plant and equipment, and in facility management. Our work has for years now already hinged on the use of 3D models, one of the cornerstones of BIM, in the planning process. Alongside investing in staff training and the relevant soft and hardware, we also had to adapt the work processes in planning in order to implement BIM. Canzler is also a member of top-level bodies working towards integrating BIM as a planning tool.

Terminal 3 at Frankfurt Airport - Canzler is using BIM as a planning tool

The construction of Terminal 3 for Fraport AG is currently one of the largest projects Canzler is working on using BIM. For the project, Canzler is handling the planning of the sanitary and HVAC systems for the main building in the new terminal, as well as planning the building automation for the entire new terminal. Alongside its planning tasks, Canzler is also responsible for the coordinated, collision-free 3D planning between structural engineering and ducting-based trades (sanitation, HVAC technology/electrical engineering) in the main building.

The choice of BIM as the preferred methodology offers advantages in particular through the swift replacement of plans and comments, and automatic collision detection. Large data packages, e.g., airflow rates, system IDs etc., can be integrated by list into the respective diagrams. The main database ensures that multiple entries are avoided, data updating is simplified, and new and deleted items can be retrieved more quickly.

Data can also be evaluated in the selected planning setting more quickly and bills of quantity automatically generated. In the course of a project, data can be continually collected and evaluated, and then used for forecasting future construction and life-cycle costs. This enables accurate costing of later operations.

The building industry is nowadays inconceivable without BIM as a method of working. However, the effective use of BIM presupposes ongoing interaction between all planners and further standardization of interfaces and communication processes, as the project also reveals current problems in using BIM in planning. These relate to the enormous reliance on software interfaces, where there is further potential for development and standardization. It also bears noting when using calculation programs that for the most part they do not work with the live model. This means updating several models, and then afterwards it may not be possible to input the updated results into the live model under certain circumstances.

This is why Canzler is a member of the DIN working group NA 005-01-39-03 AK "Information management with BIM", where it plays an active role in shaping future communication processes. DIN EN ISO 19650-1 and -2, which address the management of information, including exchange, recording, version identification and organization, are already available as trial versions.

Canzler is an active member of Real FM e.V.'s BIM working group. This addresses the topic of BIM from the viewpoint of both the provider and the users; it offers practical support in the form of the provision of important basic knowledge and recommendations for action, for future FM that suports the planning and construction process. The guideline "BIM Methodoolgy from the Viewpoint of Provider and User 2018" came out in December 2018 and can hier be ordered here.