Using the BIM collaboration format in a server based workflow


van Berlo, L.A.H.M. & Krijnen, T.F. (2014). Using the BIM collaboration format in a server based workflow. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 22, 325-332.

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12th International Conference on Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture and Urban Planning, DDSS 2014

This paper describes the research and development of a server based BCF workflow and open source BCF server software. BCF is short for "BIM Collaboration Format" and is an open standard to communicate about the ‘issues’ of a BIM model during its design cycle. Essentially, a BCF issue holds a description of the issue, a status, links to a BIM model and objects, a picture of the issue and a camera orientation. The BCF standard is based on file exchange. BCF issues are packed into a ZIP file (.bcfzip) and sent to project partners. This paper, however, describes the use of the same BCF in a centralized online setting. An open source BCF server was developed, and integrated with an online 3D viewer and BIMserver. Through the BCF server it has been shown that project partners have been able to create issues, manage them online and evaluate them in context of the actual BIM model. Research questions investigated within this project included whether the BCF format is capable of describing the status of building objects in addition to merely describing their issues and to what extent the XML based BCF schema proved to be suitable for a more centralized online storage paradigm. A case study was conducted in order to investigate a suitable workflow for a collaborative design project that involved the online sharing of BIM data, issues, and status. This paper describes the project, the creation of the BCF server, the case study and reports on the results.