In construction design processes, “Work in progress” (sometimes abbreviated to WIP) relates to design work which has yet to be completed, checked, approved and released to other parties on a project. Typically, it is design work that is undertaken within a single organisation or discipline. In the 2D world, the status of a CAD drawing was typically denoted by adding a letter to the file name (W = Work in progress, C = checked, A= Approved, R= Release), and/or displaying the status in the drawing’s title block. At any stage, if errors were detected in the design it should be reverted to WIP, and the design should not be shared with others.
WIP and BIM
WIP has assumed new importance with the advent of building information modelling, BIM, and ‘common data environments’, CDEs. Such CDEs are a cornerstone of the multi-disciplinary BIM process – essentially they are electronic systems providing all parties with access to the same information. However, success is dependent upon all team members adopting agreed processes and procedures, including naming conventions.
(Most BIM projects today should be using the BS1192:2007 naming and numbering convention, as described in the “specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling,” widely known by its code: PAS1192-2:2013.)
The common data environment
A CDE is used to manage four distinct phases:
- Work in progress – where non-verified data is stored and exchanged internally by individual teams or disciplines. In a BIM context, this usually means information is kept within the initial team’s system.
- Shared – After data has been verified, it can be shared with the wider project team for coordination with other design disciplines, etc. This would be the point at which model data would usually enter a client’s CDE.
- Published – Once data is published, the design output can be used as information to procure from or build from.
- Archive – After a built asset is completed, the project’s digital record will be archived in the CDE for knowledge, regulatory, legal and insurance purposes.
Cabinet connects WIP to CDEs
A CDE may take the form of a project server or a file-based retrieval system, but on most projects, a secure online collaboration platform or ‘extranet’ is typically deployed and made accessible to all authorised project participants. Leading providers in the UK include Viewpoint (we presented at Viewpoint’s user conference earlier this year), Aconex (formerly Conject), Asite and GroupBC (formerly Business Collaborator), among others. Opentree’s Cabinet system complements these CDE platforms.
Cabinet is typically used to manage file names and statuses within a group of designers. It is not a CDE, but we have been working on integrations with the leading CDE vendors to make it easy for files and related metadata to be exchanged between WIP and a CDE. So, once a file is ready to be Shared, it can be automatically uploaded to the designated project space on, say, Viewpoint For Projects (VFP). And, as the video shows, if the status of a file is changed in Cabinet, the new status is automatically synched with the other environment. As a result, designers can maintain compliant and auditable records relating to their Shared and Published intellectual property.
The Cabinet integration with Viewpoint will be followed by two-way connectors becoming available for other CDE platforms. Watch this blog for future announcements (or subscribe to our e-newsletter – via the form in our website footer – as we are planning to keep regular readers updated via their email inboxes).