The Autocodes project continues to generate momentum as it moves deeper into Phase II

Following the practice that we established in the first two issues of the Solibri Magazine, we want to use this space to keep you up to date with this multi-year, but most strategic project that is underway in the United States. In our last issue (2/2012) we outlined five (5) goals and planned deliverables for Phase II of the AutoCodes Project. In addition to providing you with a progress report on those goals, we will also inform you of new activities and initiatives that have become part of this effort.  

Goal 1 – Developing Protocols for Model Authoring – Focus on Retail and Healthcare – This has evolved into the development of Model Guidelines for the Automated Code Checking Use Case. A five month research project was just completed (August 2013), resulting in a report entitled ‘An Overview of Existing BIM Standards and Guidelines’. This research was a necessity, if just to avoid duplication of effort and potentially the creation of confusion in the market, with regard to required model content. This report, along with Building Codes, Standards Developing Organizations (SDO) and Subject Matter Experts (SME) will serve as the foundation for the creation of a Baseline Modeling Matrix and eventually a Model Guideline. This guideline is critical because it is focused entirely on what content is required in a BIM to support the automated code checking process.

Goal 2 and 3 – Developing a Process Transformation Protocol to assist plan review organizations in their evolution from paper-based processes to 2D/BIM digital processes. Current Status – This is still underway and is currently intertwined with our 3rd Goal, the development of a three (3) hour course for the International Code Council (ICC). This course has been developed, and now delivered four (4) times, at major ICC events and is scheduled for several more dates in the coming months. The course consists of both a visual presentation and a participant’s manual (which can be used to meet Goal 2 as a separate offering) and has been approved by the ICC for Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) in forty-two (42) states, to date.

Goal 4 – Continued Testing and Development of rulesets for Accessibility and Egress – The major developments here are two-fold. Firstly, where the group was initially going to focus on the major ‘pain points’ in these two areas (Chapters 10 & 11 of the International Building Code (IBC)), it was determined that it would be better to address the entire chapters. This also requires that related chapters must be addressed, whenever they are mentioned (i.e. Chapters 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 & 12 to date). This is most commonly due to differences in building types, occupancy requirements and the omnipresent exceptions. Secondly, the ICC has provided excellent personnel with extensive experience to guide the Solibri team as we review and analyze code statements and whether the Solibri Model Checker rulesets both execute the checks properly and meet the ‘intent’ of the code itself. This is a tedious and time consuming process, but it adds tremendous credibility to the use of SMC, for this purpose.

Goal 5 – Begin the testing and development of rulesets for Fire & Life Safety – We have made progress in this area, driven from three (3) directions. Firstly, any references to this topic that occur in Chapters 10 & 11 of the IBC. Secondly, we have been exploring our capabilities to include content from Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Parts 1910 and 1926, which specifically address Construction Site Safety. Finally, we are also in discussions with the National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA), as they are interested in our progress and how we might be able to engage.

The AutoCodes Project has held two (2) Workshops in 2013, most recently hosted by Target Corporation at their Headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These workshops allow our task groups (currently 5) to make significant strides toward meeting the above-stated goals. Phase II was anticipated to last 18-24 months, and that remains the expectation. Having said that, it just means that Phase III will follow, as this use case for BIM is a significant undertaking. But, it is a project that Solibri is uniquely qualified to lead.

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