All government construction tenders have had to demonstrate Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2 following the 4 April deadline this year. This means that catering equipment manufacturers who want to be involved in public sector projects must create and upload digital models of all of their equipment to ensure that it fits into the allocated space within a kitchen. 

However, this process hasn’t been without challenges, as there are a number of formats for these digital models and many industry parties don’t agree as to which one is the most suitable configuration.

A firm with an overview of the market is foodservice design information and solutions provider, Specifi (formerly Render Image), which has recently taken over UK BIM software supplier, Schematic Ltd.

According to founder and chief product officer, Luca Salomoni, currently less than 15% of its 300 partners (brands) have converted to real BIM files.

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“In our application we have the capability to create, on-demand or on-the-fly, stainless steel standard and bespoke equipment models. We have the ability to use 3D DWG files instead of native BIM files, adding all the technical and commercial information in order to complete the entire BIM project,” he detailed.

He believes that the process to create a BIM library is quite complex due to both the technical knowledge of how to use BIM tools and to follow common standards of where and how the parametric information must be located and stored.

“We must always take into account that in the world there are dozens of different languages, currency and electricity connections,” he advised.

“The same BIM model of an oven installed in the UK, France, Germany or Australia may have completely different information in it. Currently a manufacturer which operates worldwide must include all this information in the file and can’t just provide a 3D model without it – otherwise it is not a functional BIM model.”

Salomoni is in favour of a harmonised BIM format where parametric files are stored but is agnostic as to which type should be the standard. However, he revealed that most of Specifi’s customers use Autodesk’s Revit file type.

“A Revit file contains all the information we would need to create all the other important file formats like IFC (Industry Foundation Class) without seeking any further input from the manufacturer.”

Among the leaders in the BIM charge for manufacturers is Falcon Foodservice Equipment, which has converted its entire cooking kit portfolio into BIM format, totalling over 600 models, including its new F900 Series.

Marketing manager, Barry Hill, commented: “We found working with CESABIM and its official supplier, Schematic, very easy. We supplied them with the necessary information then they produced the model accordingly.”