Created for the AEC Industry, Flex Flow, meticulously crafted to leverage the potential of open-BIM standards such as IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) and IDS (Information Delivery Specification), aims to simplify how your data flows across different mediums, solving complex problems without sacrificing simplicity. Flow is a BIM automation platform that makes it possible for both developers and BIM managers to build custom automation workflows that perform a wide range of BIM data and geometry processing, custom scripts execution, and BIM data publishing and visualization. And once defined, those workflows can be easily triggered multiple times without any user interactions, without being hooked into certain vendor ecosystem or proprietary BIM formats.
In this post, we’ll embark on one of the use-cases of Flow, exploring how it simplifies the way construction data is classified, validated, and shared.
Simplified process for the classification flow
BQL: Defining rules
To automate and streamline the data classification process, Flex Flow introduces BIM Query Language (BQL). BQL is a user-friendly query language that is based on natural language constructs. For example, if you want to select walls in a certain IFC model under some condition, a statement like this is all you need:
select every wall where description = ‘External Walls’
This is enough for the BQL powered Flow engine to select all the walls in the model with ‘External Walls’ description.
BQL Codification Rules
BQL makes it easy for users to define rules and criteria to query elements within an IFC model and capture subset of elements that fall within a certain classification category. Flex Flow in turn uses BQL as the underpinnings of a streamlined rule-based codification and tagging mechanism, where users are offered the ability to define their CSV-based classification/codification rules table where the rules map to the classification code values. Flex Flow can compile the table and use it to enrich and codify the IFC entities with your defined values.
IDS: Validating and Ensuring Accuracy
Flex Flow takes data accuracy to the next level by offering Information Delivery Specification (IDS) validation capabilities. You can check our previous posts to know more about the Information Delivery Specification open standard.
By combining the BQL rule-based classification with IDS requirements validation, Flex Flow ensures that elements are codified correctly. This step is crucial in maintaining data integrity and compliance with your standards.
Once the data classification process is complete, Flex Flow can generate BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) files out of the validation outcomes. BCF files are a powerful tool for collaboration and issue tracking in the AEC industry. In this context, they serve as a visual representation of elements that failed to get classified and codified correctly.
Visualization is a key aspect of Flow’s capabilities. The generated BCF files provide an intuitive way to identify and address classification issues. Flow Project stakeholders can view these files to understand which elements require attention, streamlining the communication process and reducing the risk of misclassification errors.
Visualization of classification and validation outputs
The IFC model is enriched with the new classification codes
what flex flow offers
Efficiency: Flex Flow significantly reduces the time and effort required for data classification, allowing teams to focus on higher-value tasks.
Accuracy: By automating the classification process and aligning with IDS requirements, Flex Flow minimizes errors and ensures data integrity.
Collaboration: BCF files facilitate collaboration by providing a visual representation of classification issues, enabling faster issue resolution.
Flex Flow combines the power of open standards with automation to revolutionize construction workflows. By automating and streamlining different processes, we empower AEC professionals to work more efficiently, accurately, and collaboratively, ultimately delivering better deliverables for their projects.