The purpose of this paper is to explore the implications of socially inclusive Building Information Modelling (BIM) library components. BIM requires and integrates many sets of predefined blocks or collection of attributes. Any one of the individual blocks can be replicated and/or stored in a block library for later reuse. However, few if any current block libraries contain or have access to the blocks that enable social inclusion.
An action-based research methodology was used to design, develop and deploy three enabling blocks as part of a plan to develop a larger library of tools for BIM practitioners. The Enabling Block Library is an open access library of Australian code-compliant mobility elements published online. This paper discusses the design and development of the library components in detail, explaining how each of the three blocks was selected in our pilot evaluation and how each was identified; fact-checked; planned (designed); deployed (action); and then evaluated.
The process and evaluation highlights that appropriate code-compliant design tools can support greater social inclusion aspects of a built environment project. These are tools that are relevant to the full spectrum of industry users of BIM, including designers, engineers and certifiers.
Because this paper documents the project while in an early launch phase, with a small number of launch blocks, the research results were limited in their ability to thoroughly measure industry or educational impact. However, the results showed how a socially inclusive BIM block library can be developed and why this is important, with literature supporting the potential of its dissemination to the design and construction industry.
The paper applied action-based research methodology in the development, deployment and evaluation of exploratory BIM use to create more socially inclusive environments. It is of value because it facilitates designers creating the optimum of performance-based accessible environments, rather than the minimum “deemed to satisfy” Building Codes.
The authors wish to acknowledge the funding support provided for this project by the FBE University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia). The Big Research Ideas Grant was set up to support new initiatives that will enhance research capacity at the FBE at UNSW Australia. The allocated funds allowed the following project developments:
• the development of three levels of digital information files (pdf, 2D CAD, 3D CAD) or all accessibility products selected for inclusion; these currently include A90 wheelchair, ambulance trolley and bathing trolley;
• the extension of the existing website to ensure online availability; and
• launch of the project and subsequent online delivery.
The authors thank Russell Lowe, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at UNSW Australia, for his role in coordinating the modelling of the blocks and Andrew Wallace for his work modelling the blocks for the Enabling Block Library. The authors acknowledge support from SAI Global Licencing, ArjoHuntleigh and the Byron Group in obtaining specifications and approval to use each product.
Bridge, C. and Carnemolla, P. (2014), "An enabling BIM block library: an online repository to facilitate social inclusion in Australia", Construction Innovation, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 477-492. https://doi.org/10.1108/CI-01-2014-0010Download as .RIS
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