Projet scientifique
Axe 1 : Fabrications de l’urbain (2016-2024)

An information-based approach to “Digital Twins”

(2021, October) In CIB W78 2021 Conseil international pour la recherche et l’innovation dans le bâtiment et la construction (CIB)(pp. 470-480), Luxembourg.

Information-based issues are becoming increasingly important in all areas. This change has revolutionized and altered workflows, processes, and methodologies in several disciplines (Rifkin, 2012). In the construction field, the digital and information revolution has given rise to BIM technologies, which have dramatically changed the processes of design, construction, and building management (Tulenheimo, 2015). This article sheds light on the current construction processes from a different perspective through the analysis of three study cases. Until now, building projects were mainly analyzed through their plans and geometry. We suggest that the new BIM projects should also be studied through the analysis of the information stored in the “digital twin” of the building. We consider a digital twin as a database linked to the building’s digital geometry. We make the hypothesis that the study of this database and the way in which the actor’s structure and manage this information, will likely give a better insight on how functions these kind of buildings.

Data stored in digital twins include information on material characteristics, dimensions, energy simulations, equipment maintenance, occupancy patterns, space functions, etc. The detailed analysis and review of ongoing BIM projects conducted in France, revealed how much the process of storing information in the so-called digital twins had gained weight, to the point of becoming a complete project itself that we call Building Data Project. Through the Building Data Project, a whole set of new concerns is integrated into the modelling process, which was previously mainly focused on formal and functional aspects. The Building Construction Project and the Building Data Project have the same temporality and they both evolve in parallel throughout the design, construction and facility management phases. Within the French context, each of the aforementioned phases is characterized by a different digital twin and a different set of actors who value specific information. We therefore consider the analysis of the Building Data Project, a new approach to explore and better understand BIM projects in all its phases.