Using BIM for Building Code Analysis

As Building Information Modeling (BIM) becomes more commonly used by building design teams, usage of the model for code analysis will become more important.  Currently, designers use manual or custom-developed methods to check code compliance of a building, but automatic code-compliance checking is coming.

The International Code Council is developing software to automatically check a BIM file for code-compliancy based on one of the following codes:

  • 2006 International Building Code
  • 2006 International Energy Conservation Code
  • 2006 International Fire Code
  • 2006 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2006 International Mechanical Code
  • 2006 International Plumbing Code

The software apparently is still in beta form and cannot be utilized on actual projects yet.  While this is disappointing, I am encouraged that they are developing the software that will look at actual codes.  Speaking as an architect, code-compliancy is a vital part of the design and you spend a tremendous amount of time reviewing plans for code-compliancy.  If a designer can have software that helps with that process, it will be become a welcome addition to the arsenal of design tools.

It isn’t clear what BIM software formats will be capable of review, or if a neutral file format will be utilized.  I am anxious to see when this product becomes available what the cost will be, allowable file formats, along with other questions.  I also assume that they will be updating the software as they update their ICC codes.  It is definitely a software to keep our eyes on.

You can see more about the software at the SMARTcodesTM website at http://www2.iccsafe.org/io/smartcodes/.

I haven’t mentioned the quality of the model anywhere in this article, but that is an extremely important aspect of code-compliancy checking.  A poor quality model will result in poor quality analysis.  It is hard to tell yet what the analysis software will require for model quality, but model quality will definitely come into play.

You might also check out a related blog article on how to create a Revit view for Fire Rating Reviews.

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8 thoughts on “Using BIM for Building Code Analysis

  1. The link at the bottom of the article “Using BIM for Building Code Analysis” to the related blog article
    (You might also check out a related blog article on how to create a Revit view for Fire Rating Reviews.) yields a message “Your are not allowed to edit this item”. What is that about?

    • It appears that the link no longer works and I also cannot find any information about it on the internet. It does appear to me that the project has been abandoned. If anyone else has knowledge about the status of the project, I would like to learn about it so that I can update this post.
      Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  2. As I understand the situation, the project is on indefinite “hold” as far as ICC is concerned. I asked someone who had been involved with the project about its seeming to have fallen into a black hole. As I recall, the story was that ICC dished the project to FIATECH, who gave someone a contract to develop it, but I have no idea what parts of the Codes it is meant to apply to, what the terms of the contract were, or how FIATECH is funding it. Bottom line: Don’t hold breath.

  3. Plan Review process is time consuming and inevitably subjective as plan analysts impose their own understanding of the code issues in their personal review. The International Code Council (ICC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with OptaSoft in June 2005, a joint initiative with the goal of providing world class software solutions in the areas of building construction plan design and plan review to regulatory agencies and the Architectural – Engineering Community (AEC) throughout the domestic and international market place.

    A key and comprehensive advantage of OptaSoft – Commercial Building Inspector (www.optasoft.com) is that, the patent pending technology is very smart, secure and efficient.

    Rather than changing the embodiment of the materials to be reviewed by creating code studies, hosting a workspace web enabled document management service to submit plans for review by analysts, offering databases of building codes for electronic access, modeling the design in 2D, 3D, 4D, 5D, 6D, inserting mark-ups and comments on drawings, comparing drawings side-by-side using digital overlay, moving the problem from left to right, or even manipulating the structure’s data to make the presentation of such more user friendly.

    CBI’s C++ framework environment technology, through artificial intelligence, provides smart 36 Quintillion (10^18) manipulation proof building code decisions and actually solves the problem, head on, and renders a pass/acceptance or fail/rejection with a click of a button (Seconds). This ensures efficiency, quality, consistency and simplicity while maintaining the degree of protection and life safety intended by the applicable codes.

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