A study of BIM collaboration requirements and avaliable feature in existing model collaboration systems
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SUMMARY: Established collaboration practices in the construction industry are document centric and arechallenged by the introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Document management collaborationsystems (e.g. Extranets) have significantly improved the document collaboration in recent years; however theircapabilities for model collaboration are limited and do not support the complex requirements of BIMcollaboration. The construction industry is responding to this situation by adopting emerging modelcollaboration systems (MCS), such as model servers, with the ability to exploit and reuse information directlyfrom the models to extend the current intra-disciplinary collaboration towards integrated multi-disciplinarycollaboration on models. The functions of existing MCSs have evolved from the manufacturing industry andthere is no concrete study on how these functions correspond to the requirements of the construction industry,especially with BIM requirements. This research has conducted focus group sessions with major industrydisciplines to explore the user requirements for BIM collaboration. The research results have been used tocategorise and express the features of existing MCS which are then analysed in selected MCS from a user’sperspective. The potential of MCS and the match or gap in user requirements and available model collaborationfeatures is discussed. This study concludes that model collaborative solutions for construction industry users areavailable in different capacities; however a comprehensive custom built solution is yet to be realized. Theresearch results are useful for construction industry professionals, software developers and researchers involvedin exploring collaborative solutions for the construction industry.
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