BIM4Ren Hackathon in Aachen (RWTH)

The first technical meeting of the BIM4Ren project was held in Aachen on the 30th and 31st of January. Hosted in the CAAD RWTH offices, it gathered the main partners involved in the development of BIM tools in the project (Nobatek, CSTB, TNO, IES, Ekodenge, AEC3, EnerBIM, VRM and R2M) to start getting their hands dirty into coding!

Rather than being ‘yet another meeting’ to discuss advances of the project and organization matters, the focus was put on choosing the right technologies to start implementing the BIM4Ren solution, testing these technologies, and start creating datasets that every partner can use to test its own module.

Amongst enthusiastic presentations, we can highlight:

  • Oliver Schultz, a master student in RWTH, presented a tool that allows to attach cloud points taken in a building using an ARCore phone, to a BIM model using linked data technologies: an impressive achievement as ARCore is one of the tools identified for testing in the BIM4Ren project.
  • Discussions on web technologies, and in particular semantic web ontologies, linked data and API query languages (GraphQL and linked data extension). The usage of these technologies was demonstrated thanks to Ekodenge through an adaptation of their LCA service to GraphQL. Partners agreed on using the technical stack presented in Figure 1, although the use of SPARQL and Triple Store is not mandatory: great achievement and demonstration of how easy the adaptation of a service to the chosen architecture can be done!
Figure 1: Technical Stack for Web Services in the BIM4Ren environment

The second main part of the Hackathon was dedicated to creating a dataset that all modules can use in the future for testing purposes: first step to creating a BIM4Ren sandbox (WP2). In order to do so, the RWTH team provided some initial files and data, and all partners worked together so as to improve the quality of the BIM models, to create new data based on the initial ones, and to test their tools with those data. Different issues were also identified and will help guiding us in the developments to achieve during the next 4 years.

After two days of intensive work, all partners left with a long list of technical elements to digest, a first version of a sandbox to be used for testing and great energy to keep on reaching for the BIM4Ren goals thanks to the RWTH team.