Established collaboration practices in the construction industry are document centric and are challenged by the introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Document management collaboration systems (e.g. Extranets) have significantly improved the document collaboration in recent years; however their capabilities for model collaboration are limited and do not support the complex requirements of BIM collaboration. The construction industry is responding to this situation by adopting emerging model collaboration systems (MCS), such as model servers, with the ability to exploit and reuse information directly from the models to extend the current intra-disciplinary collaboration towards integrated multi-disciplinary collaboration on models. The functions of existing MCSs have evolved from the manufacturing industry and there 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 industry disciplines to explore the user requirements for BIM collaboration. The research results have been used to categorise and express the features of existing MCS which are then analysed in selected MCS from a user’s perspective. The potential of MCS and the match or gap in user requirements and available model collaboration features is discussed. This study concludes that model collaborative solutions for construction industry users are available in different capacities; however a comprehensive custom built solution is yet to be realized. The research results are useful for construction industry professionals, software developers and researchers involved in exploring collaborative solutions for the construction industry.
|Journal of Information Technology in Construction (ITcon)
|Published - Apr 2013