Case: BIMLIB — Building Information Modeling Library
Customer: A construction holding
Task: Create simple and convenient system of quick preparation of a bill of materials for construction objects.
Completion period: To build an MVP (minimum viable product) in 4 months.
Economic effect: «On-fly» completion of tasks used to take hours and even weeks.
BIMLIB: SIMPLE AND QUICK WAY TO PREPARE SPECIFICATIONS AND A BILL OF MATERIALS FOR CONSTRUCTION OBJECTS
How «Building Information Modeling Library» saves time of project designers, manufacturers, suppliers and customers of construction industry
BIMLIB a Building Information Modeling platform — is a project which ITQuick is proud of. While working on this project we implemented interesting solutions both in the technological sphere and in the product management. Even though the project was quite complicated, we created a MVP within just 4 months.
After completion of a project design, it is necessary to prepare specifications and a bill of materials. Usually, a design engineer count an amount of construction structures, required equipment, select optimal variants in manufacturers’ catalogs. After a specification is prepared, the requests for quotation are being sent to suppliers. Based on quotes received, a Bom engineer prepares a bill of materials for the construction object. Analysis of suppliers’ quotes consumes most of the time while preparing the bill of materials. Manual preparation takes from three weeks to one and half months.
A customer, big construction holding, gave ITQuick a task to automate a process in such a way, that the preparation of a bill of materials would take just few minutes, and it would not require more effort than for pressing a couple of buttons.
«Building Information Modeling Library» is a shared platform, a meeting place of project designers, manufacturers and suppliers. Instead of numerous catalogs there is one electronic system. Instead of emails there is a user friendly computer interface. In its essence, BIMLIB is a vehicle, a system transporting data form a supplier (a manufacturer) to a project designer. As its name implies, it contains construction and engineering models (components, fittings, equipment), equipped with information about the price, supplier and other information necessary for the preparation of a bill of materials. For example, a project designer needs to choose a door. He receives all quotes for his item which database has at the moment. If a supplier changes a price or an assortment, then he enters revised data in the BIMLIB. Thereby, time is saved, accuracy of calculations increases.
Key technology: Neural network
Artificial intelligence and neural network are key factors of the convenience and high performance speed of the program. It recognizes with a high level of precision the 3D models, created in CAD programs. How does it work? An AutoCAD project designer have drawn a wall (a rectangle) with a door (one more rectangle) and a window in it (one more rectangle). The project design has tens or hundreds of such rectangles. The AutoCAD does not put tags, which would indicate whether this rectangle is a door or a niche in the wall. A design program has only external measurements of the object: width, hight and depth. «Building Information Modelling Library» reads these parameters and looks for matches in the suppliers’ catalogues. And finds them with an accuracy higher than 90%. All what a project designer has to do is to upload the file to BIMLIB. Then the program will assign proper tags to the objects and will calculate a bill of materials.
This technology is a result of joint work of ITQuick and the customer’s team.
Solution: visualization and decomposition
It took only four months for creating of a MVP. This is much quicker than an average time on the market. Such speed is the result of applying several secret sauces to organize the development process. Main: visualization and decomposition.
Development starts when the customer sets forth the requirement. Many companies call this document «Terms of Reference» (TOR). Usually this is a multipage volume, which requires several months to prepare. Instead of expansive textual descriptions ITQuick uses images (diagrams and sketches of interfaces). Programmers «read» diagrams much quicker than texts. We were able to begin coding already on the third week after the project started.
In this stage the business analyst and the architect helps the customer to transform the user stories into a clear sequence of steps and processes. Then large tasks are divided into simple blocks. This is called a decomposition. A block is a piece of work which can be done by one developer. Such approach eliminates a necessity of internal team approvals which consume a lot of time.
During the first two weeks after the project starts the team composes as much as possible full list of user stories, and then work on their implementation also in «two-week sprints» mode. After a two-week run the team reports intermediate results to the customer.
BIMLIB was delivered to the customer, but the development work did not finish. Together with the customer the project team is collecting users’ feedback, clarifying usability and clarity of the interface, makes a list of further improvements.