Using BIM in technical inspections

From the digital model of the ENS Cachan project through eveBim, connected to Gaïa

The digital transition in the construction industry is a revolution involving the entire chain of stakeholders at each step of a project, so that the advantages of BIM for productivity and quality can be as beneficial as possible. In a project, compliance with the rules of the trade is verified by a certified control office, beginning with the design phase of the structures and continuing until the work is completed. This process is evolving to integrate BIM and to contribute to improving the safety and performance of projects. Thanks to its expertise in multi-scale BIM, the CSTB guides the specialists of technical inspection with their digital approach. Close-up of two collaborations launched in 2016 with Qualiconsult and Socotec.

Mission of the CSTB with Qualiconsult

At the end of 2015, Qualiconsult and the CSTB signed an agreement to integrate BIM and digital modeling into the practices of technical inspection and to optimize this business process for the benefit of projects. This means connecting the tools of technical inspection to digital modeling. The mission of the CSTB is to experiment with BIM methodology and develop the necessary interfaces.

What makes this procedure unique is its experimental nature, as it has been applied since 2016 to a real situation. Qualiconsult and the CSTB joined forces on an emblematic project using BIM: the construction of the new ENS de Cachan building in Saclay (Ile-de-France). Designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, this project, which received a BIM Gold trophy in September 2015, will be completed in 2019.

It is fertile ground for experimentation on all of the phases of a construction project, combining:

  • the characteristics of the project, recorded in the BIM digital model;
  • and GAIA, the industry software by Qualiconsult, which integrates their technical reference documents for verifying compliance with the regulations and with risk prevention requirements.

For this purpose, the CSTB is currently completing the development of a module designed to meet the specific needs of technical inspectors. Integrated into the eveBIM viewer developed by the CSTB, it will optimize data management with the digital model.

This research could result in the verification of certain rules becoming either fully or partially automated. The teams of Qualiconsult not only save time and increase their efficiency; they also truly enhance their skills in BIM. This is why the CSTB is setting up a training program in 2017, to raise awareness and guide the teams of Qualiconsult as they learn these new practices.

Mission of the CSTB with Socotec

Securing construction projects using BIM: a key area of Socotec's development strategy for innovation. In early 2016, Socotec associated with the CSTB with the aim of optimizing performance and risk mitigation in projects.

This collaboration materialized in 2016 with the creation of the 1st BIM protocol for technical inspectors, published in the form of a White Book. Initially shared within COPREC, this protocol has now been made available to the entire sector. It establishes the rules for intervention and collaboration by the various stakeholders of a construction project using BIM, integrating the role of the technical inspection. Adaptable to each project, it secures the objectives of the project owner, of the design and most importantly, of the end use.

Furthermore, with the CSTB, Socotec is upgrading the equipment used by its employees with tools compatible with BIM: digital tables, viewers for reading digital models, tablets, etc. In particular, Socotec uses eveBIM, the viewer developed by the CSTB. It has also set up a training program with the help of the CSTB, offering a range of BIM training modules or various trades. Three sessions were offered in 2016, and two others are already scheduled in 2017.

These actions point to a key challenge: integrating the language of BIM into the practices of construction. This means opting to use the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) format, in order to ensure that the tools being used are interoperable with the digital model. Socotec uses this standard format to meet the requirements of its various projects.

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