A case study approach to considering a Common Data Environment

Dee Yonker

Common Data Environment

Contractors are realising that one of the most crucial steps in the BIM process is having a sound common data environment (CDE), Viewpoint explores further

With Building Information Management (BIM) being integrated into more and more construction processes throughout the UK, contractors are realising that one of the most crucial steps in the BIM process is having a sound common data environment (CDE for short) in place.

Choose the right one, and project data and workflows will flow seamlessly through processes leading to significant productivity and profitability gains. Choose poorly and it could mean data disconnects, interrupted workflows, delayed projects and a hit to profit margins.

In a recent eBook, ‘How Do You Choose the Right Common Data Environment?,’ we took an in-depth look at CDEs: what different types mean for contractors, the challenges in choosing the right one and more. One of the most frequently asked questions about CDEs that we addressed was, “do we need a CDE?”

If you are a Tier 1 contractor the likelihood is you will need a CDE to manage your projects every time. For clients involved in projects, they will decide whether is more beneficial for themselves to use it or to sub it out to tier 1 contractors.

Looking from a project perspective, public versus private will dictate whether there is an absolute necessity to deploy a CDE, as government-led projects require BIM Level 2 compliance. BIM Level 2 was made a mandatory requirement in April of 2016 on all publicly tendered projects in the UK.

A real-world approach to the CDE

Viewpoint customer NMCN went through a vigorous decision-making process when deciding on its CDE of choice. The company evaluated many different CDE vendors before selecting Viewpoint for Projects (VFP). NMCN went through multiple stages in their decision-making process such as interviews, trials, experience and peer help. Several Tier 1 contractors, which previously used the Viewpoint solution, also recommended the product to NMCN.

NMCN started its process by identifying all of the CDE vendors in the market and then created a list of 70 plus items that were listed as required, functional, critical or desirable and then a score was attributed against each vendor. The company went through a process of categorising all the different features they highlighted and evaluated how vendors performed against these categories. Viewpoint was ultimately selected due to the fact that out of 72 items identified by NMCN as being important, Viewpoint delivered on 70, and the other two were included in our six-month product roadmap.

Gary Ross, then head of digital transformation at NMCN noted that Viewpoint delivered on all the key requirements; “The price was comparable, the system was very configurable and it passed 1192 out of the box. All the things we were asking for they delivered.”

There are several other security certifications and standards to consider when selecting a CDE. One being ISO 19650, which was largely developed from BIM practice as established in the UK. In 2018, it was confirmed that PAS 1192 would be replaced by International Standard ISO 19650.

Meeting the muster

The scoring matrix in the chart below provides an example of the scoring categories NMCN measured CDE vendors against. NMCN noted certain vendors scored particularly low yet they were being some of the most used in the construction industry. This stresses the importance on being thorough on the evaluation process and possibly highlights many companies may not apply the same vigorous checklists as NMCN did when selecting a CDE. This being said, there may not be a universal set of requirements and certain companies may prioritise different categories.

Common Data Environment

Why Viewpoint for projects is the right CDE

Viewpoint For ProjectsTM is a cloud-based document and information management solution which enables customers to share, control and collaborate on project documents with dispersed projects teams. Designed for construction, Viewpoint For Projects provides contractors with better control over, and insight into, their projects by streamlining data and workflows.

It was also designed to meet contractors’ needs for BIM and grow along with BIM technologies. Viewpoint For Projects provides users with a powerful BIM collaboration management far beyond modelling as clash detection. Share data from feasibility to planning to operations and maintenance.

Viewpoint For Projects gives you:

  • Powerful data security safeguards
  • Revision control, updated in real-time, minimising risk of working to the wrong information
  • Complete control over project documentation and restricted access permissions for selected stakeholders you invite into use the system.
  • Unlimited storage capacity, meaning all key stakeholders can access archived information across all projects.

You can access the full ebook here!


Darren Graham

Marketing executive


Twitter: @viewpointcsuk

LinkedIn: Viewpoint

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