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iCIM (Interoperable Carbon Information Modelling)

The iCIM (Interoperable Carbon Information Modelling) Project
iCIM is a collaborative Building Information Modelling (BIM) online tool that facilitates carbon assessment of a building, by informing designers regarding their decisions and impact of their decisions throughout the building life-cycle. It will lead to zero-carbon and low-impact building by combining compliance checking for energy performance with carbon embodiment and building modelling data. 

iCIM enables different project teams to collaborate throughout the full lifecycle of a construction project, by having data transparency using open-standard IFC files.  Since iCIM is an online tool, it is platform neutral, and there is no need to install software on a user's computer.

The tool will provide designers with guidance that explains the impact of key decisions and allows them to explore alternatives and make decisions that lead to low-impact design.

In this video, Professor Steve Lockley presents how xBIM is used in the iCIM project. He demonstrates how different project teams work collaboratively on the same model from start to the end as follows:
  1. A user can create a 3D building model using any commercial BIM.  In this example, Autodesk Revit is used.  However, any other tools can also be used, such as Bentley, ArchiCAD, Vectorworks.

  2. 'Export' & upload the building model to a iCIM central server.

  3. The user can then go to iCIM website and access the building model, analyse and update it (with xBIM as the underlying technology).

  4. Once logged in, the user can enter project information such as project location, size, start and end dates, carbon benchmarks and financial costs.

    In the "carbon review" area on the screen, the user can navigate (zoom, pan, orbit), show/hide objects of the building model in 3D. A navigation tree on the left side shows the object types in the building, which have been automatically classified.

    The user can then select each object and configure its materials by:
    • Starting with a pre-configured object from the National BIM Library, or
    • Starting with an object from a previous job, or
    • Starting with a blank object and configuring from scratch.

    As an object is configured, the user can see the impact of the decision, by scrolling through the 4 tabs at the top-right-hand screen to see its impact in terms of CO2 (embodied carbon, the lower the better), waste (recycled content), Cost (over, under or on budget?) and Specification Guidance (NBS technical guidance).

  5. The IFC content (file) can then be exported from iCIM website,  and 'imported' back into the Autodesk Revit, which will update the building model with the changes.

Watch iCIM BIM Tool demonstration video here

Who's involved?
iCIM is the result of a collaborative research prototype project, funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board, involving RIBAE, Faithful + Gould, BSRIA, AEC3, Autodesk, Northumbria University and University of Bath. This project partly funded by the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board. This project commenced in 2011, and is now complete.

iCIM website (prototype):
National BIM Library, IFC, Financial Cost and Environmental Impact