Robert Daniel, Technical Advisor and BIM author for Marley Eternit, the UK’s leading manufacturer of roofing and façade materials, discusses the company’s route to providing BIM content.
In September 2011, Marley Eternit became the first manufacturer to provide BIM content for rainscreen façade in the UK with the launch of BIM for Cedral Weatherboard; by October 2012 a further launch was made with our EQUITONE facades. BIM content for roofing was introduced shortly after, with the fibre cement slates range and more recently clay plain tiles being added to Marley Eternit’s BIM Space Portfolio.
Before the materials could be authored as BIM content, Marley Eternit, like most manufacturers, had to make some important decisions, such as which software package should be supported and the correct methodology used to create content. In addition, the lack of clarity around the purpose of BIM meant there was little consistency for formatting and information within the industry.
To help provide guidance, a short survey of clients and users was completed. The results illustrated that a majority of applicants used Autodesk Revit, which according to the Architects’ Journal’s recent AJ 100 survey*, still remains the most popular. The assessment also indicated that two thirds of respondents at the time were planning to implement BIM between 2012 and 2014. As to the content of the BIM content, our survey highlighted the importance of the geometric model, detailed product information and ease of use.
After reviewing several BIM developer and hosting options, and armed with the results from the survey, Marley Eternit decided to author BIM content inhouse using Autodesk Revit. BIM content was authored containing information including Embodied Carbon Data; COBie parameters also 2D typical details and a graphical repeating images of material to allow realistic rendering.
As the authoring process is managed internally, there is more flexibility over the maintenance and monitoring of the BIM content. This also led to the decision to host our BIM content for roofing and facades on the Marley Eternit website, which is why we added a BIM Space section to the site.
The Marley Eternit BIM Space provides our full range of BIM objects freely to anyone who registers on the website. This provides Marley Eternit with a direct link to BIM users, making it easier to release and communicate updates and monitor usage. Promotion of the BIM Space included a suite of videos on YouTube, advertisements in key specification titles and editorial coverage. Overtime we have improved the visibility of BIM objects across the Marley Eternit website, such as highlighting the files on product pages and within our specification tools.
Whilst our BIM resources have been available since September 2011, in the past six months we’ve witnessed a significant increase in activity. Since the turn of the year, we have seen the visitor numbers increase by over 60%. Tracking of individual downloads this year also indicate an upturn in BIM adoption with website downloads doubling.