PRE Results Report

BIM-based Product Data Management in the Industrialised Construction Supply Chain


The research goals of work package BIMCON were focused on:

  1. BIM (Building Information Model) -based information flow through project phases and between participants in construction
  2. Procedures and tools for contractors and suppliers to integrate product and production data into this flow
  3. Take a full advantage of new re-engineering tools
Figure: Information management during building process was the research theme in BIMCon.


The key results of BIMCON work package are divided in 5 research areas:

  • development of BIM-based precast concrete element supply chain process,
  • buildability analysis,
  • automated safety checking with BIM model,
  • model based data and process for carbon footprint calculation and
  • product data management in BIM.

Supply chain process

In precast element supply process the development covered procurement and tendering ofprecast concrete, precast detailing and supply management procedures. The new procedure aims to take advantage of BIM, as well as precast manufacturer’s expertise by transferring BIM-based precast engineering and detailing from the chief structural engineer to the precast supplier. Additionally, the design process becomes more efficient, as a result of eliminating unnecessary production and distribution of drawings, and decreased need for design changes particularly at the end of the precast detailing process.

In supply chain management a new method was created for exchanging status information of individual precast elements using a model based tool and cloud based service. The degrees of readiness, as well as planned and actual dates for the design, fabrication, delivery and installation phases were exchanged between the project stakeholders in a pilot project. A link was created between the fabricator’s ERP and the cloud service in order to automatize the exchange of the information with the production model at site.

Figure: Precast concrete status transfer architechture in construction projects.


The evaluation of buildability is previously based on tacit knowledge within construction industry. Buildability concept was formed to a more explicit and measurable function with quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods that can be applied systematically. A BIM-based tool for calculating the Buildability Score was developed. At the project level, the improvement of buildability can be estimated and developed by a combination of the visual inspection of BIMs and the buildability score. The development of review processes and evaluation methods for a project-specific buildability provided essential tool for companies in construction industry to improve productivity.



Automation of BIM-based safety checking and planning was explored with encouraging experience. A prototype tool was developed for automated fall prevention planning based on Tekla Structures model. The tool detects fall hazards and adds preferred fall prevention system based on an existing BIM and 4D schedule in the model. The resulting safety plan is flexible and adjustments by a safety expert are possible. Automation accelerates modelling and visualization of temporary safety related installations at site which will improve occupational safety.

Figure: Automated safety checking tool helps to recognise falling risk places.

Carbon footprint

The results show how the generic and specific product information can be used in BIM-based design software and utilized in design processes for sustainable buildings and especially in embodied carbon footprint assessment of buildings. The carbon footprint calculation and management process was defined and information exchange interface between carbon footprint calculation service and modelling software was developed. The results points out also the needs and data sources for generic and specific product information in BIM-based design. Results clarify the role of product information in different design phases, defining carbon footprint value and the level of needed accuracy. Also examples of typical generic values and evaluation of variations were presented.

Product data management

The aim was to identify product data management (PDM) systematics in construction and recommend future development needs to building product libraries, focusing on the functional shortcomings and data processing deficiencies found in current libraries. As a result roadmaps are proposed for product library implementation. The role of standardisation in implementing BIM-compatible product libraries is highlighted. The present product libraries are still software-specific ad hoc product applications. The need for open standard product libraries is apparent on a global level. The current use of BIM often focuses on the production and coordination of design information, although it is said that BIM will bring benefits to the whole value chain throughout the building life cycle. Coherent product libraries could help establish viable new services and better building products.

BIMCon industrial and research partners

Skanska Oy (project leader), Rautaruukki Oyj, Parma Oy, Consolis Technology Oy Ab, Saint-Gobain Weber Oy, Tekla Oyj, VTT and Aalto University.