One of the biggest challenges for any construction project implementing the BIM (building information modeling) process is sharing project data between design, construction, and eventually with the owner at handover. Aconex, www.aconex.com, San Bruno, Calif., aims to solve this challenge with a new solution designed to ‘connect’ BIM.

Today, Aconex launched Aconex Connected BIM, which extends the Aconex platform to manage data used in the BIM process for projectwide collaboration between design, construction, and the owner. Rob Phillpot, senior vice president of product and engineering and cofounder, Aconex, says the use of models is growing exponentially and it is not about the files, rather it is about the data.

Too often, BIM data remains siloed still, ultimately leaving project teams disconnected. The new Aconex Connected BIM offering looks to merge large datasets very quickly and connect all project participants with BIM data projectwide. This will allow teams to share and consume models on one single, integrated collaboration platform in the cloud.

Being available in the cloud, project teams are able to resolve issues and visualize a project from Web browsers or mobile devices.

Some key features of the Aconex Connected BIM solution include open BIM standards, secure, cloud-based platform, fast viewing of large sets of merged models in Web browser, version control to avoid error based on out-of-date models, realtime merging, shared markups for model review, linkage of project communications such as RFIs (requests for information), and handover of O&M (operation and maintenance) data within the models.

The last functionality is key, according to Phillpot. He says the real value to design and construction is linking everything together—and at the end of the project handing the BIM-related data over to the owner.

While Aconex Connected BIM is one example of how the technology provider is making it easier to hand data over to the owner at the end of the project, the company also made another announcement today that will extend project lifecycle support to post-handover asset information.

With the launch of Dynamic Manuals, a mobile solution for the O&M of built assets, owners and facility-management teams can dynamically manage digital O&M manuals securely in the cloud. The new product is an extension of Smart Manuals, an online solution for contractors to build digital manuals during the project for delivery to the owner at completion. Dynamic Manuals is now based on Windows 8.1 and expands Aconex support.

With this product, the handover process, as well as quality and usability of the O&M manuals, is improved. Ultimately, with Dynamic Manuals, the owner will be able to easily access, share, search, update, and manage data on mobile devices, as it is stored in the cloud-based Aconex platform.

In addition to Smart Manuals and Dynamic Manuals, Aconex also offers Digital Manuals for delivery of digital O&M data on storage media.

As construction teams begin to look at how technology can help enable handover of data on a project, technology providers such as this come to market with new solutions to make it a little bit easier.