Why is SPie relevant to Product Manufacturers

Why is SPie (Specifiers Properties Information Exchange) relevant to Product Manufacturers:

The prime driver for manufacturers is to sell products. Many manufacturers marketing under the banner of BIM are providing geometry model versions of their products with all the data attached. Manufacturers are being encouraged to do this in the expectation that specifiers will use their BIM objects and raise the chances of being specified.

There is no research to prove that this strategy works but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to indicate ambivalence by the target audience.

  1. Designers / Engineers mostly work with generic components during the design phase. The level of geometry detail, connections, and placement makes “swapping out” a very difficult process.
  2. Parametrically driven generic objects and are virtually impossible to exchange.
  3. If Clients or Designers specify a manufacturers product then the data in a BIM Modelling system will most likely be added manually, because the information required is not available in a data format that can be sucked in and attached.
  4. The same issue applies to Contractors who are providing a contractor design service.
  5. BIM objects are limited in that they are unable to contain all the information required in the Clients Asset Information Requirements specification which will include the more complex maintenance requirements format.

SPie is a sub set of the COBie format where product data can be exchanged in an internationally recognised format. An exchange format means that data can be exported from one system and imported into another.

The end game for the Design and Construction team is to deliver a physical building and an Asset Information Model. The asset information model has two core components Geometry + Data. The Geometry model contains the spatial information giving context to component and system data , this is valued by the Client as it will be used to populate the many different facility management applications.

Products are mostly chosen on specification performance, cost, availability and reliability. Product selection through specification portals is a growing market. The success of a specification portal will depend on it depth and breadth of the products it contains. When the number of manufacturers can be counted in the millions and the number of products in the billions specification portals have hardly scratched the surface when their numbers are in the hundreds and thousands respectively.

The cost of getting products into portals is expensive, the past absence of an information exchange format adds to the high cost. The growth of these portals starts to rely on its users adding product information which requires intensive checking and editing before the information can be trusted or it is used as marketing ammunition to manufacturers encouraging them to sign up.

The benefits of providing SPie are:

  1. Specifiers can more easily select products based on performance.
  2. Product Data is easily added to the generic objects in a BIM modelling system.
  3. The Product Data is valid and trustworthy.
  4. The clients Asset information Model is accurate and a digital relationship is established for maintenance and repairs.
  5. Providing SPie exports can be used as a marketing tool helping large and small contractors.
  6. The cost of inclusion into Specification Portals can be significantly reduced.
  7. A system that can export SPie can easily export other formats like CiBSe’s Product Data Sheet.
  8. SPie capability will make a product manufacturer BIM compliant for level 2 and prepared for level 3.
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