Building Information Modeling (BIM) not only has an impact on designers, but it also impacts suppliers of construction products. Today even suppliers are required to provide digital content for a BIM model. Hilti Corporation — a global market leader in providing electronic tools as well as fastening and protection applications for construction professionals — has developed a seamless integration of their products into Autodesk AutoCAD software, Revit software, and Inventor software. The second evolution is then the provision of tools for automatic placement.
Based on a linked setup and developed plug-ins for Navisworks software, Revit software, and AutoCAD software, Hilti has created an expert tool for the market. But it’s not only during the design process that the supplier can provide digital support. With the integration of construction information already during the design process and export tools for AutoCAD software and Revit software, the simple exchange to jobsite tools can be achieved.
This article will show how a customer can use detailed content from Hilti. Furthermore, we will give an inside look into the automated solutions found by using the Hilti Button. We will conclude with the best support for the execution by bringing information of a BIM model to the jobsite.
With the BIM developments in the last years, a lot of work processes have either changed or adapted to the new way of collaboration. One major aspect of the virtual design is the shift of effort from the construction phase to the design phase. This shift of effort is especially affecting manufacturers. Before the BIM revolution, manufacturers were mainly focused on the jobsite as the main arena to promote and sell their products and services.
But nowadays, virtual design has enabled decision making to be done already in the design phase. Therefore manufactures now have to rethink their approach and support already the design phase with their knowledge and products. This is the new arena where procurement decisions are made. Those who wait for the construction phase will run the risk of finding themselves locked out before they even approach the jobsite.
Hilti has understood this need and worked on solutions for it. Now, Hilti products, systems, and services offer innovative solutions to simplify the work processes not only on the jobsite but also already in the design phase.
One of the main aspects of Hilti’s sales strategy is the direct customer contact which provides immediate feedback but also enables to detect new developments and trends in the market. Very often, Hilti teams up with important customers to start the development of customer specific tools and supports. To research and understand BIM and this new way of working together better, Hilti has teamed up with Kiewit, one of the largest construction, mining, and engineering companies.
Kiewit is one of the largest construction companies in North America, with a growing worldwide presence like Australia. Throughout Kiewit’s history, the strategic focus was on infrastructure as well as high-rise projects. In the last years, Kiewit included also BIM within their work procedure and utilizing it to visualize and coordinate project conditions during planning, design and construction.
In general, Kiewit’s approach to BIM is to use the technology as a tool to enhance already successful procedures. Kiewit’s vision is to employ cutting-edge software technologies to improve how information is created and shared among stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle. Overall, BIM provides an effective way for Kiewit to gain insight into the projects from a constructability and scheduling standpoint.
Kiewit’s vision towards BIM is very simple: enhanced communication, increased efficiency, and best-in-class quality. In short, BIM helps Kiewit to build a better building. Hilti also acknowledges Kiewit’s vision. However, Hilti as a manufacturer and supplier has to have a different approach than a construction company. To understand the possibilities of a manufacturer within the BIM environment better, it is important to define the role of the manufacturer more clearly. Hilti sees their role as a support to the different BIM processes and use cases. As a manufacturer, Hilti cannot be the initiator of a specific BIM use case like Kiewit but Hilti will always support the BIM use cases if a customer wants to utilize it.
Based on these customer requirements, Hilti started to develop a holistic BIM approach which supports the customer throughout the whole project life cycle. In order to provide the best solution to the customer, Hilti needs to support the designer within their design software. Beside the software support, Hilti sees also a big benefit in providing services to support the BIM work process of its customers. But not only is the support of the design software important but also to keep the jobsite in mind and consider possible implications already in that phase.
With the shift of decisions to the design phase, the use of virtual models in order to avoid errors on the construction site requires the need for more detailed models and more information during design already. Therefore, very often, generic models are not sufficient anymore but real (virtual) products are needed to include into a BIM model. Beside the geometric representation, it is also very important that detailed (numerical) information is included. The information is required for further analysis like sustainability or energetic analysis. Designers now need more detailed product information already in the virtual design.
Suppliers and manufactures know their products best and therefore can also provide the best information about it. With the developed BIM solutions, Hilti tries to bring the needed information to the customer. But not only are the virtual products important for the customer but also the engineering support. The support offered by Hilti helps the customer to select and design the best solution based on the project requirements.
Customer feedback shows that the majorities of designers work in certain environments like AutoCAD or Revit and want manufacturers to support them in these design software. For this reason, Hilti like other vendors, created a digital library to promote their content. With these libraries, designers can have direct access to the digital content of suppliers. The Hilti library is software independent, meaning that it supports multiple exchange formats. The technology is based on a script model and the object will be created online during the access. This gives the possibility to provide either 2D details or 3D components without additional effort.
However, this solution is not completely integrated into the work process of the designer. The designer still has to leave his design software and collect the information from the supplier. To avoid this obstacle, Hilti has developed plug-ins for AutoCAD and Revit which supports the direct integration. The customer now can directly access the libraries within his design software and search for the right product or information.
Although the library is widely used, the BIM technology offers an even better support for the customer. First of all, objects created for BIM can have a certain intelligence which can support the design process. But also this approach can be extended by automate the design process based on the information within a BIM model. And also with the use of Hilti objects in the design phase, information for the jobsite can already be prepared.
BIM Support for Design
Within BIM the design phase gets a more important part, because the virtual design should be used for decision making. This increases the requirement for more detailed information also about fastening and protection objects, like anchors, installation parts and fire stop products. Therefore manufacturers are required to develop virtual products catalogues. However as different designers work in different software, manufacturers will gain the greatest benefit, if they provide and support a wide range of interface.
Hilti has developed a solution which supports a variety of interfaces. The library is based on a scripted database containing all the geometrical and numerical information of a product. After selecting a product the user can either select between more than 15 different export formats or a direct integration into a CAD system. This enables the customer to either create their own library or to utilize the online library directly in the design process.
Not only have the objects of the library the right geometry for the design but also contains important information which can be utilized within different BIM use cases. The information even an AutoCAD-object contains are e.g. about the use (Certificates, environmental conditions) or purchase (item number, order quantity).