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Testing BIM Content Quality


Creating quality BIM content that will be acceptable to BIM Managers requires knowledge in two key areas; standards and technology workflows.

The content designer must be well versed in the current standards for BIM content. If current standards are not followed the BIM content will not seemlessly intergrate with BIM projects.

All BIM platforms have specific workflows that make them more effective; without a decent understanding of the processes of the BIM platforms the content designer will not be able to optimize the use of the content.

The reason we mention these two aspects is because there are a lot of BIM content designers who think getting an accurate model of the product into the desired BIM format is sufficient; this is miles from fact.

What is Poor Content and how can you tell

Though there are different levels of quality there are also very easy ways to determine whether content is good or bad.

ArchiCAD Checklist:

File Size - ArchiCAD GSM files will typically range in size from 20kb to 400kb with a standard basin object being somewhere aroud 40kb. Only more complex highly parametric objects - objects containing many variable configurations - will excede 100kb. Though a high file size is a good indicator of poor content, it doesn't mean a low file size is a good indicator of quality content

 Necessary Parameters - To be considered BIM content it must contain the necessary "Information" (the "I" in BIM). Different products require different meta data but as a base point all BIM content should contain the following feilds.

  • Description
  • Manufacturer
  • Reference - Product Code
  • Type
  • URL Link - Help or Product Data
  • Keywords
  • Warranty
  • Issue Date
  • Version

Native Model Attributes - Archicad content is created through a scripting language known as GDL which not many are proficient at. For this reason ArchiCAD content is often created using a shortcut where by a model from another format is imported into ArchiCAD and saved as an Object. This is a worst case scenario for ArchiCAD content as it results in a model that is highly taxing on the software, causing multiple issues. Users who come across this type of content quickly learn to avoid it like the plague.

How can you tell if this has been done? simple; open the Object in ArchiCAD and check the '3D Script'. If it contains the following you can be certain it is of the poorest quality:

  1. It actually states "Written by ArchiCAD" which means the script was automatically generated by ArchiCAD and not actually written by a human being fluent in GDL.
  2. The script consists purely of shapes known as "Primitives" - The lines of script will start with terms "VERT", "VECT", "TEVE", "PGON" and "EDGE".
  3. There are thousands of lines of script which if written manually would take several hundred hours.

Example of script from an model imported (not native):



If you find your models have been created this way you are best to remove them from public access before you are blacklisted by ArchiCAD users. 

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