There's no BIM like home
Before we moved into our house, I daydreamed about the kind of ‘smart’ things my house would do. So, when we moved in there was obviously a purchase I needed to make straight away – I got myself a Nest thermostat.
The house had no thermostat at all, meaning that I would have to control the heating by punching the boiler’s clock guessing when I’d need the house heated. Now, I am able to programme my heating either directly through the thermostat or through its mobile app, meaning on a chilly day I could switch the heating on while I head home, or make sure it isn’t heating while I’m away.
The real value however is its ability to be part of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). IoT is a data exchange network of connected devices, software, and sensors allowing data from one to influence another. For example, I have been using IFTTT to allow my house to speak to me.
 Home reporting
I currently have the following recipes set up using smart devices in my home:
- If (Nest Thermostat Temperature > 24°c), then (let me know).
- If (Nest Thermostat Temperature < 15°c), then (let me know).
- If (Nest Protect Battery Level = low), then (let me know).
- If (I’m nearby house), then (turn on mobile WiFi).
 Automatic reporting
I also have the following recipes set up using data from outside of my house:
- If (Time = 07:00), then (report the weather forecast).
- If (Time & Date = Monday, 21:00), then (remind to put the bins out).
- If (Weather = Rain), then (let me know).
After joining twitter last week, my house has already gained 16 followers, and has automatically sent me over twenty tweets including daily weather reports, a reminder to put the bins out, and this message to let me know my living room was getting quite warm.
I hope to expand its ability by integrating other smart products and services when I deem their automation useful. For instance, I’m going to be getting myself a Phillips Hue starter set this week and using IFTTT to set up a few automations such as having my hall lights switch on at sunset.
The most important thing for me to consider is the value and risk of automation. I could for example have my living room temperature tweeted every degree change, but that doesn’t provide any value and would allow someone to see when I am not home. So, for now I will stick to trying to improve my home, one smart choice at a time.
As such, I asked a few friends in the know.
Here is what they had to say:
 Chris Weston, associate, Rio Architects
“If Dan brought this job to Rio, while I appreciate it is a simple project, we would be looking for a bit more clarification on a few items, including details of roles such as project delivery manager, project information manager and employer’s representative.
“We would also be asking for clarification on the availability and details for any existing asset information, as well as clarification regarding whose responsibility it is to host the common data environment. Further detail would also be needed around the employer's decision points to enable the effective management of the supplier information exchanges.
“This EIR is clear, concise, and hopefully goes some way to demonstrate that BIM isn’t only about big hospitals and schools and that clients can tailor the process to suit even the most modest projects, even a pancake house.”
 Henry Fenby-Taylor, BIM implementation manager WYG Group and co-founder of dotBuiltEnvironment.
“An EIR needs to be a well thought out, lean, and relevant document that is project specific and specific to the needs of the employer. This is what I have seen in Dan’s EIR. However, falling foul of the terminology, it still remains relatively inaccessible to the untrained eye, but to the trained eye? “It’s tight, it doesn’t have any flab, it doesn’t ask for anything it doesn’t need, it specifically states where certain aspects of the BIM Level-2 standards are not necessary, such as the management of security assets.
“Where the EIR is less well refined is the specific requirements for data. While the core elements are included, more thought could be provided to make these requirements clearer. The specific data associated to the assets being managed and maintained are to my mind the core purposes of the information requirements.”
 Paul Surin, head of built environment for Weinerberger and vice-chair of BIM4M2.
Weinerberger is the world’s largest producer of bricks and a leading provider of clay roof tiles, concrete pavers, plastic and ceramic pipe systems and provides a myriad of sustainable and innovative solutions. Paul is also a BRE BIM Level-2 certificated professional.
“I have had a chance to review Dan’s EIR. The project is related to a domestic house. The wider industry would not normally associate BIM with a house; some would even say it is an overshoot. I disagree and I like Dan’s approach.
“This is something we, at Wienerberger, have been working on for the last couple of years – BIM in housing, such as our e4 house. This EIR’ seems to be very clear and very easy to understand as a supplier. In this case, a supplier could be a bricklayer, a merchant, a carpenter, a plumber etc, so it is vital to define and spell out his requirements in plain language.
“I would not specify WIN 7 and Intel i7 within the IT Section. I understand it might be the PC Dan uses, however it could limit some suppliers who use Apple or Android. Perhaps if a definition of a CDE with a web browser viewer (to allow annotations, collaboration and clash detection via a cloud) it would eliminate any need to specify any operating system.”
Thank you everyone. Following these reviews, I have revised my EIR by including information regarding the Employer’s Representative and their contact details, confirmation that the Employer Decision points are covered within section 3.1, further detail on the need to appoint and specify who is undertaking the project information manager and project delivery manager roles, clarified my data requirements as well as added further clarity around the IT constraints. As such, I have now settled on the final published version:
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