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.