BIM, Fire Safety Design and the start of necessary standardization - Briab

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BIM, Fire Safety Design and the start of necessary standardization

The January 31 seminar about Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Fire Safety at Briab’s Malmö office can most likely be regarded as the starting point for Swedish standardization in the area. The seminar was arranged by Briab and the Technical Committee on Fire Safety (TK 181) within the Swedish Standardization Institute.

BIM och brandskydd

The venue was fully booked long in advance giving a clear sign of the great interest for this area of development and change. Besides a large number of Swedish participants, the seminar also had attendees and speakers from our neighboring countries, Denmark and Norway.

Michael Strömgren, chairman of TK 181 and public affairs manager at Briab explains.

–  BIM is becoming more important in the building process and to ensure sound fire safety. We need an intact information flow to guarantee fire safety in buildings. While BIM has been a buzzword for many years, the construction sector is now getting ready for action.

Michael explaines about the background of Briabs commitment to BIM and the experiences made along the way forward.

– A few years back we realized at Briab that digitalization was picking up speed and that fire safety was not part of BIM. We therefore developed a new work flow that enhanced collaboration with all disciplines in the design team.  Today our engineers work within the BIM environment and we definitely see the upsides. But to reach full potential we need to get the whole construction sector on board. We need joint sector agreements. A good place to start is to set a standard for information exchange of fire safety performance of products.

A corporate possibility

BIM & Brandskydd Seminarium

Torbjörn Persson, Saint Gobain Ecophon points out the potential with BIM and fire safety for manufacturers. Left to right: Michael Strömgren, Frida Bengtsson and Torbjörn Persson.

Torbjörn Persson is Patent & Standardization Manager at Saint Gobain Ecophon who produces acoustic ceilings and sound absorbents for walls. He has been active within Swedish fire safety standardization for 27 years.

– It’s clear that fire safety classification of products is well structured through the European classification system. There’re standards for all aspects, classifications, products, test methods and details relevant for end-use-applications. The latter is important as products like ceiling tiles and coverings may have different fire safety characteristics depending on the underlying material. BIM may be the enabler to improve quality assurance of these aspects that are easily missed in traditional design environments.

Norway,  digitally up front

BIM & Brandskydd, Briab

”BIM is largely global and international standards hold great importance. Øvind Rooth, DIBK, leads the European BIM standardization and stresses the need for common terminology in machine readable format.”

Norway’s standardization and regulatory bodies are far ahead in digitalization of construction. The Norwegians hold European and international secretariats for BIM standardization. Øivind Rooth, specialist director at the Directorate of Building Quality in Norway, leads the European committee TC 442 that manages BIM standardization.

– It is clear that properties and classes need to be machine-readable and interpretable. For example, I recently had a question from Statsbygg (the governmentally owned building developer in Norway) saying “Couldn’t we just agree on how to name fire classes in a machine-readable form?”.

Øivind continues and expands,

– As I understand it you already have a set of defined European standard for fire classes. Start working on making them machine-readable in liaison with the CEN BIM committee. Nordic collaboration may be possible in this area.”

Michael agrees with Øivind and Torbjörn and notes that there’s work to be done.

–  Within TK 181 we have now initiated a BIM fire safety work group that will suggest new projects that paves the way for a successful BIM implementation. Through collaboration between national authorities, fire safety designers, manufacturers and other we will identify the common ground. We may then see leaner processes, more efficient collaboration and quality improvements.

Let’s get to work – together

In summing up the January 31 seminar we conclude that the understanding of both the need for as well as the possibilities with BIM based fire safety design is at last clearly established. The challenge now is getting a common understanding in the construction sector. We need to move out from our comfort zone and invest in a long term sustainable future for not only the fire safety design industry, but for the construction industry as a whole.

Please check back for more from Briab on BIM, as we are focused and devoted to being a driving force within the development of increased quality, productivity and sustainability within our field of expertise .

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