The software company for architecture, engineering and construction CYPE has developed the Open BIM COVID-19 program, a new tool that is available on our platform free of charge to design, calculate and implement preventive measures, both in buildings and open spaces, against the spread of COVID-19. To do this, the software takes into account different criteria such as the maximum capacity, the interpersonal safety distance established in the regulations or the separation between people and circulation routes. We have interviewed Benjamín González, Director of Corporate Development at CYPE, so he could explain the features of this innovative program.
How did the idea of developing Open BIM COVID-19 come about?
The idea came about during the lockdown in Spain and when the state of alarm for the COVID-19 health crisis was prolonged. During that period we observed how different governments of the affected countries suggested different ideas about the easing of lockdown restrictions and, more specifically, on the criteria that shops and restaurants should comply with, mainly with regards to safety measures to reopen by guaranteeing a minimum interpersonal safety distance. For this reason, we thought that it would be really useful to develop a very easy to use program with which users can design and calculate a safety plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in any space where there would be movement of people and complying with a series of safety criteria.
What types of spaces can be calculated with the Open BIM COVID-19 program?
Any architectural space: buildings, shops, restaurants, covered or non-covered terraces, hotels, hospitals, cinemas, football stadiums, schools, places of worship etc. In summary, users of this program only need to have a plan or a graphic document of the building or open installation to be able to plan the preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus.
What are the advantages of this design and these safety calculations?
There are several benefits. Firstly, knowing in advance by means of a simulation which are the most appropriate safety measures based on the conditions of each space. In this way, the owner of a restaurant, for example, knows with certainty before making the decision to open how many people they will be able to admit in the establishment and to optimise the layout of the furniture by offering maximum safety to their workers and customers. Furthermore, it allows users to design and create circulation routes to avoid contact between people.
What is the results output of the program like?
Open BIM COVID-19 develops a safety plan against the spread of COVID-19 in accordance with regulatory criteria. Once the project has been designed, calculated and checked, the program generates a justification report with the list of the elements that make up the safety plan against the spread of COVID-19, which can be printed or exported to TXT, HTML, RTF, DOCX and PDF format, as well as creating a detailed drawing of the safety plan.
Could public administrations benefit from the use of this tool?
Yes, in different ways. Firstly, they could efficiently prepare and adapt the work spaces in public buildings in advance. However, not only of the buildings, since with a street map of their city, for example, they could study and simulate in which streets they could give more space to restaurant terraces and establish the layout of the tables and safety distances. They could even use the program when planning and optimising how to organise beaches with regards to opening them up to the public in the future: creating spaces for specific uses, lanes for the circulation of people etc.
You have decided to make the software free. Why?
From the beginning it was clear to use that if we developed a tool to minimise the effect of COVID-19 that we were not going to monetise it. The development of this tool is the result of our commitment to improving people’s safety and trying to offer more protection in spaces, providing security and confidence to all those who can benefit from the use of this tool: public administration, users, employers, customers etc. For this reason, this application is completely free from the cloud platform BIMserver.center.
How long did you take to develop the software?
Open BIM COVID-19 has been developed in record time during the state of alarm. In a few weeks we have managed to launch this application with the added difficulty that we are all working online from home. It has been a real challenge. Our idea is to evolve and incorporate new solutions. For example, we are implementing the generation of a bill of quantities of the introduced measures, as well as the ability to simulate how the virus spreads taking into account the speed and dispersion pattern of the particles in coughs and sneezes using FDS technology.
In which countries can this software be used?
In any country in the world. Open BIM COVID-19 is available in six languages (Catalan, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese) and the safety parameters can be manually edited depending on the requirements of each country. In fact, in the first few days the application had already been downloaded in more than 30 countries.
How has Open BIM technology benefitted you?
This software works within the Open BIM workflow, the most up-to-date technology being used in the architecture, engineering and construction sector. To do this, IFC4 files are used, but also other types of technology such as that which is found in video games for 3D visualisation. This technology offers great advantages and, for example, allows the incorporation of furniture elements from other programs. In addition, and thanks to the BIMserver.center platform, the work created with Open BIM COVID-19 can be viewed both in Augmented Reality as well as Virtual Reality, which allows users to make better decisions.