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Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 72.25K | Year: 2011

The AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) industry is a highly fragmented data intensive project-based industry depending on a large number of very different professions and firms, with strong data sharing requirement across lifecycle stages from concept design to demolition. The process of designing, re-purposing, constructing and operating a building involves not only the traditional disciplines (Structure, Mechanical & Electrical, etc.) but also many new professions in areas such as energy, environment, waste, and assisted living with large data sharing requirements. In this context, data management support for the project lifecycle tends to be fragmented with a lack of an overall (project wide) data management policy. Additionally, data sets relating to a particular project can often be stored in: (i) local computers of designers/architects - often with limited network connectivity, persistence and availability; (ii) independently managed, single company-owned archives - where access is dictated by a company specific policy or by a charging model; (iii) shared archives owned by a consortium, often in the context of a particular building project - based, at best, on access policy associated with the project. The CloudBIM proposal explores the feasibility and potential for utilizing Cloud capability to address data storage and processing needs of stakeholders in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) sector, with a view of delivering a cloud platform for research. CloudBIM will involve close consultation and interaction with major participants in the area to assess stakeholders perceptions about outsourced, virtualized Cloud storage for supporting multi-site, multi-team collaborative projects. A prototype cloud platform (based on CometCloud - www.cometcloud.org) and associated governance model will be developed and made available to the AEC research community. The project will deliver several reports based on a number of people-based activities, involving BRE (Building Research Establishment) and MBEKTN (Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network), along with a prototype using real project case studies BIM (Building Information Model) data to be provided by Bentley. A key outcome will be to spur a wide range of research-oriented activities through a strategic roadmap aimed at the exploitation of the resulting CloudBIM platform.

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