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We launched the completely updated version of our online building file last week. After the recent and thorough update, our cloud platform is better equipped to connect the complex reality of BIM even better with the need of companies for information about their buildings. In this interview, Ed den Boer, founder of Het Nationaal BIM Platform, speaks with our managing director Roy about the new version of the tool for managing building documents.

BIMlink has been around since 2014 and was built to streamline collaboration and communication between all parties involved in the development, design, construction and management of buildings. The company is based on the vision of managing director Roy van der Velden who has many years of experience with the complexity of collaboration in the construction sector and with the new developments in BIM. “The amount and complexity of information about buildings is growing at a rapid pace and that is why one central source of information about the building is essential”, he says. “BIMlink is this central information point with which all parties involved have quick and easy access to the correct information about a building during the entire life span of the building.”

Central information source

All correct documents, drawings and models over all life phases of a building are available online, securely and in a structured way for all project partners in BIMlink 24/7. In this way, project partners collaborate optimally in the building file and they can view and edit documents and information bases on their roles in the process. The increasing amount and complexity of information about buildings makes structuring information in one central source essential, according to Van der Velden. This way, BIMlink bridges the gap between the complex reality of BIM and the hands-on information needs of building owners. BIMlink is available as a web application in the cloud and can be used in all modern web browsers. Customers don’t have to install any software.

What has been improved in this new version of BIMlink?

“The platform has been completely redesigned. The interface will still be recognizable for present customers, but we have incorporated many wishes and improvements from users in the new platform. For example, the workflows are more flexible, there are online protocols and creating document sets is easy. The upgrade was also needed to improve integration with BIM processes of customers in the near future.”

Is BIMlink compatible with other software and platforms?

“BIMlink can link all the data we have about buildings with other platforms via an API. Most links are FMIS systems for FM and building management, but we also link with the Ed Controls delivery application. And we have made our databases compatible for a link with PowerBI.”


So BIMlink is not new in itself but has been around since 2014. Van der Velden made the switch from manual drawing to design in Autocad in the 90s and quickly realized that making agreements [afspraken] about digital drawings was very important to monitor the quality. When he was asked to create a database with drawings from more than 1,400 locations, he realized creating the final unambiguous database took several years. “Later, I worked on the building ‘De Rotterdam’ for six years in a role that we would now call BIM director [BIM regisseur]. I was introduced to digital tools and say BIM as an opportunity to solve organizational and process challenges. However, I missed a connecting online platform that was more than a database or a Document Management System. We needed a platform that would contain not only all data from the BIM but could also exchange data with smart functionalities for project teams”, says Van der Velden.

Van der Velden worked in the De Rotterdam project team with architect Jasper van Amstel who was responsible for several processes during the development of the project. Both had a vision of the architectural operations and had an affinity with data. Van Amstel has built the first prototype of BIMlink that Van der Velden could share with customers and that has since become the current version. Additionally, the team has grown with developers and programmers, with Van der Velden wanting to keep engineering and programming knowledge in balance.

BIMlink in use with customers for a few years now. Who are the users of BIMlink?

“BIMlink has been developed for the development and construction phase of buildings, but also for existing real estate. It could be anything. Our smallest account is a home and the largest is a real estate owner with hundreds of locations. But also implementation projects are very diverse. From housing to our largest project in construction of the Mall of the Netherlands.”

“The types of users is also very diverse. We have projects under construction with complete implementation teams of mainly contractors and installation companies [installatiebedrijven]. But also, we have property owners and managers like facility users who place and access their building data in BIMlink. The platform is also being used in the design process by architects and consultants.”

What are the future plans for BIMlink?

“The focus is still on document management, but the underlying database of the application is also ideal for storing entire BIM models. Both the geometry and all the properties of the rooms and building elements are then accessible online”, says Van der Velden. “Together with a number of customers, we are now also working on extracting 3D models via the browser and developing additional functionality for this. This gives the online protocol extra tools to perform data validation. The platform keeps a timeline of the BIM model so differences between versions become more transparent. We want to separate data management from geometry so that everyone involved in the process can link the data to geometry but with respect to their own individual responsibilities in the project. We have set up pilot projects for this together with customers. That’s a very exciting process.”


Read the original article: Het Nationaal BIM Platform


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