Geo Week News

February 17, 2015

Get to Know a BIM Standard: NBIMS-US


BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a big topic in the AECO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner) industry today. Since it seems everywhere we turn someone is talking about BIM, I thought it would be a good time to look at NBIMS-US, one of the leading BIM standards, and see how it is evolving.

What is NBIMS-US?
The National BIM Standard-United States®, or NBIMS-US™, is an industry-consensus standard for the creation and use of building information models. The NBIMS-US is a collective work created by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS – the Institute) consisting of component works created by the Institute and works created by others and contributed to the NBIMS-US in accord with established procedures. The Institute owns the copyright in and to the collective work, 2007-2012. Other persons have retained copyright interests in and to component works they have contributed to the NBIMS-US.

Who develops/maintains NBIMS?
The National Institute for Building Sciences has a number of councils. The buildingSMARTalliance (bSa) is the Northern American Chapter of buildingSMART® International (bSI) and a council under NIBS. The buildingSMARTalliance sustains NBIMS-US™ as a project developed primarily by volunteers.

The current version of NBIMS-US™ is Version 2 (NBIMS-US V2).

I recently had the pleasure to speak with Dominique Fernandez, who serves as a NIBS Program Director on the bSa Executive Committee. The following is a short synopsis of our discussion:

John M. Russo: What is your role at NIBS?

Dominique Fernandez: I work as a Program Director at NIBS.  Much of the work at NIBS is project and council driven.  My role at NIBS encompasses supporting projects like NBIMS under councils such as the buildingSMARTalliance, as well as other projects that are not managed under the buildingSMARTalliance.

JMR: How many people use NBIMS?

DF: Version 2 has over 6,000 downloads from over 70 different countries.  The majority of users are located in the U.S. 

JMR: I hear the next version of NBIMS is due out shortly.

DF: Yes.  We are currently targeting the release of NBIMS Version 3 by the end of March, 2015.  

JMR: What is new in Version 3?

DF: Well there are a number of big updates which include the following:  

  • 8 or 9 new OmniClass tables by CSI (Construction Specifications Institute)
  • BIM Forum LOD spec incorporated
  • New version of COBie
  • New exchanges: elec, hvac, plumb, building programming
  • New BIM Planning Guide for  Facility Owners submitted by Penn State
  • Practical BIM Contract Requirements by the Army Corps of Engineers.  This is the first actual contract language in NBIMS and the language has been tested and used in over 500 projects.

JMR: How long did it take to develop Version 3?

DF: It took between twelve and eighteen months to develop. The development phase included the consensus process as well as committees vetting it out. There were an additional six to nine months for the production phase.  The end result is nearly double the number of sections.

JMR: How much will it cost?

DF: As with the current version, it will be offered for free.

JMR: If someone wants to volunteer to help develop future versions how can they get involved?

DF: First they’ll need to become a member of the Institute. All members have an option to join any of its councils. There is a cost for membership. We welcome participation in the Institute and working on the NBIMS project.

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