BIM: The Importance of Communication

Master thesis by Maria Herroros, December 2016

Winner of Innovation Competition “Sprirekassen” by Bikubenfonden, Feb. 2017.


Building Information Modeling (BIM) methods started to be implemented in the Architectural Engineering Construction sector (AEC) in order to make the industry more efficient, innovative and with better quality on the project delivery, reducing costs.  BIM replaces the traditional way of communication, 2D drawings, by using 3D models, where all data is gather in one place and all parties of the project can access to it. However, the transition of work methodology is a slow implementation process due the use of new tools and the need of skilled people, while the industry is not completely prepared yet.  Communication, is essential when using BIM method to achieve good results, avoiding misunderstandings, hence, BIM is a collaborative sharing process.

During different stages of a building project, there are minimum requirements that must be accomplished in the deliveries. When talking about BIM, it is meant to the level of development (LOD) of building model elements and BIM model level. The LOD specifies how accurate the model element is, and what information should contain. This concept is still confusing for most of the departments, and needs a deeper comprehension in the beginning of every project, also when there is a collaboration with international colleagues, who use other country standards. These issues could be accomplished by using effective communication tools.

The objective of this thesis is to build a solution, which will improve BIM communication between project disciplines, helping to understand LOD´s among project stages and cross countries. The solution is built according to the company demands, Arup engineers, focusing on the Mechanical Electrical Plumbing (MEP) department that divided between Copenhagen and London office, and data exchange between them in a case study project.

The method is created through a development process, which is documented in this report. The process consists in a first evaluation of the company´s needs and improvements required in the MEP department. Based on findings, a tool is created to improve information exchange between engineers, speed up workflow and achieve requirements, requested to deliver in every project stage. The tool is called BIMapping.  BIMapping is created as a web-based page, hence, all information is digitized and gathered in one place.

BIMapping, is presented in the main page interface. This main page is a single entry to all knowledge included, and represents a mapping on the standardization levels. The main page is divided into three main sections, which guides the user through the whole project process and gives a deep information of LOD and BIM levels, required at every point of the project for building services.

The solution is reviewed and tested by BIM experts, who contribute with their feedbacks to the development of BIMapping and future studies.

The tool should not be seen as a final solution, but as a startup initiative which was welcomed and appreciated by BIM experts, as a good element to be implemented in BIM project process.


Develop of a proof of concept for the utilization of data for an optimal and controllable indoor environment at the DTU Library Living Lab

Master thesis by Jørgen Falch Waarsøe, December 2016

Abstract – The library at DTU has a vision of improving the indoor climate by making the library more intelligent and by turning the entire library into a living lab. Researchers and students should be able to use the living lab to conduct ex-periments that can lead to a improved indoor climate in the library. The first phase in turning the library into a living lab involves removing all the lamps and replacing them with LEDs. While replacing the lamps the library will also install sensors that can be used as a part of the living lab. The DTU library is now looking for ideas to how the new lighting system and sensors can be an integrated part of the living lab.

This thesis is about developing a software system, which can help the living lab improve to the indoor climate, by taking advantage of the new LED lamps in the library. The system developed consists of an automation system and a smartphone app. The automation system can be configured by users of the living lab users to take input from sensors and adjust the lighting accordingly. The smartphone app is used by the library guests to adjust the lighting decided by the automation system.

The tests made showed that the software is working as intended and that it can be a useful tool for conducting experiments. However the initial tests show that an automated lighting system can be very distracting. Therefore it is important that users can override the automation system.

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller, DTU Civil Engineering, Denmark.

The thesis download version: thesis_s103801


Proposal: Commissioning & BIM – DTU Building 202

DTU Campus Service is one of the frontrunner for commissioning and BIM. The newest project Building 202 is “state of the art” in these processes and there is a lot of knowledge to gain by being part of these processes.

We are looking for students that qualify

  • the commissioning process for the building
  • the BIM delivery process

If you having interested with respect to such processes, you will be part of the most ambitious building developments in our time in Denmark. We would prefer to have a team of students to do the work in combination.

We will be the right supervisors in close collaboration with DTU CAS, consultants and architects. Contact med for getting it started

3D building model picture

3D BIM for a comprehensive design proces – Theis Andersson

Project name: 3D BIM models – a more comprehensive design proces

Project student: Theis Andersen

Publication: En bedre sammenhæng i projektet (Danish, educational) (2013)

Course type: Special project, Autumn 2012

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller

Summary: The vision is to develop a web configuration tool through which customers are able to configure the building they want to buy. To be able to do so, the information describing the buildings, the products, characteristics and configuration options must be represented. This is done partly in a Building Information Model (BIM) in 3D CAD model within the tool Revit. The project defines a prototype building in Revit, informs the details in the BIM part and utilizes a set of components and computer programs to compute relevant information on e.g. price, scheduling, energy demand, indoor climate modelling and much more. For this purpose, the following components are applied:

  • Rockwool Energy Design (for the Danish building code computations) – alternatively Be10 can be used.
  • Sigma (for price calculations)
  • Navisworks (for planing)
  • Ecotect (for energy and indoor environment, daylight computations)

Most integration between the components has been possible, but the integration with Be10 did not work within newest versions, hence Rockwool Energy Design was applied instead.

Vision talk: Decision making towards a sustainable future demands interoperability between tools that generate and collect information on the decisions to be made. For building design, design tools must be supported dynamically by technical software from many different technical domains. It is not probable that there will be a single tool, handling all the computations. Hence a platform model is preferable.

Next step: The current project is a small step in a long process. There is a need for interoperability, getting the tools to work together in a automated way. The BIM data models are to be expanded, pricing more realistic and much more.  The whole integration with the web interface for configuration is not yet taken up. A simple way of doing so could be to dump the intermediate results and information in a file-tree to be utilized from a web solution.

Interface picture from report

User friendly visualization of urban and building specific data – Lærke Philipsen & Mads Harding Møller

Project name: User friendly visualization of urban and building specific data

Project student: Lærke Philipsen & Mads Harding Møller

Publication: Brugervenlig visualisering af byplans- og bygningsspecifik data (Danish, educational)

Course type: Special project, Autumn 2012

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller

Summary: The idea of the project is basically to visualize complex data for decision making. Similar to the Google Map idea, you visualize e.g. energy data at any level of zoom. You can show data on maps (GIS) in 2D, zooming in still visualizing in 2D. When zooming even further, you will see the streets visualized in 3D with data represented on the relevant surfaces (e.g. solar energy potentials, potential for green roofs and much more). When zooming even further, you enter the building and get very detailed data visualization on surfaces but also on the plan sketch of the buildings.

The report gives a lot of pointers to ideas for visualizations. The result is a proof of concept in paper form (see report above).

Vision talk: Visualization is very important for supporting decision making. If we are to decide the changes that are demanded to reach a sustainable future, the decision making process involves very complex data that is easier to be understood, when communicated visually. Hence this project gives a first idea of what can be done.

Next step: To implement the solution in a digital prototype.

Copenhagen did it! See the report on the implementation by 3D bymodeller til screening for potentialet for solceller og grønne tage and look at it yourself at .

Google did it! See the Google Indoor “Maps” solution that has different names “Plan” “Indoor maps” …

The interest for further implementations of the ideas is broad. We are looking for students to follow up including BIM, GIS and other technologies, visualizations and app implementations.

LabView for generic experiments – modul for data handling – Morten Sørensen

Project name: Creating a generic Virtual Research Environment

Project student: Morten Sørensen

Publication: Master thesis (Feb. 2013)

Software: Available – contact us.

Course type: Master thesis, Eng., Autumn 2012

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller

Summary: The project aims at developing a Virtual Research Environment based on NI LabView measurement and data handling software. The idea is to replace old laboratory experiments with this generic setup. NI LabView by National Instruments (NI).

The project result is a first prototype of a LabView program that is encapsulated in a module that can be applied to the task at hand. The module is able to handle the communication in and out of LabView, through, connections, files, web services and such like. Inside the module you can do whatever you want, and pipe it out to the relevant target.

More than one module can run in parallel but there are some limitations due to the way LabView is handling its naming and memory.

Relations to other work: The current prototype utilizes the measurements from the work by Christian Orthmann through a web service interface.

Vision talk: The idea is to introduce such data collection software, such as LabView, into a complete Virtual Research Environment (VRE), that is handling al the digital research and related education.

Next step: The next step would be to implement the prototype in a experiment. If you are a student at BYG, please come and talk with me about a project on this topic.

Wireless Sensor Network Picture

Wireless Sensor Networks for buildings – Christian Orthmann

Project name: Investigation of wireless sensor network for application within the building industry

Project student: Christian Orthmann

Report: Building process improvements by sensor support

Course type: Special course, Autumn 2012

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller

Summary: The project aims at the application of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) within the building sector, to improve the overall performance of buildings. The hypothesis is defined as: “The introduction of sensors into the building construction cycle leads to significant economical, technical and societal gains. If sensors are wireless these gains are even more pronounced.”
To define the demanded functionalities of the WSN technology for the building application, a number of use cases are described and the function demands analysed. For each of these functionalities a test setup is developed to document that it is basically implementable. For this purpose SUNspots where used due to the completeness, and the simplicities of these devices and network toolbox. This toolbox is sufficient for prototyping the functionalities, however the drawback of this methodology is that SUNspots are designed for general purpose that do not meet the criterion of the current domain.

The conclusion of the report is, that functionalities for the building sector can be met, but that the hardware and software have to be adjusted to the detailed criterion of the application at hand. Hence further work is proposed to develop own hardware on basis of some kind of standard basic components, such as antennas, memory blocks, sensors and such like.

Final paper: Building process improvements by sensor support

Acknowledgment: The current work is supported by the Bjarne Saxhof Foundation – Thanks to the foundation – without this support, the work would not have been realized.

The big picture (relation to the overall vision): The current project aims at developing flexible, adaptable monitoring and sensoring technologies for a number of reasons:

  • improving the understanding of buildings
  • aim at improved performance, especially indoor environmental and energy performance through better insight and improved controlling abilities
  • improve flexibility and quality assurance for the building process through documentation

Vision talk: Wireless Sensors has a huge potential in the building sector, as stated. It also gives new flexibility in research and education. As demonstrated as a part of the current project, the application of WSN can be very useful for a vision on a Virtual Research Environment.

Next step: The next step will be to implement our own open source, environment for a Wireless Sensor Network that can be applied to research and eduction with minimal limits to what we can do.