BIM Overview

A Cupix 3D tour of a construction project can be used as a photographic record of the site as it is being built.  The tour provides a visual record that can help ensure the construction project is progressing as designed and is up to date. In addition to providing a suite of tools to edit the tour and measure dimensions, the Cupix Web App allows you to compare a 3D BIM (Building Information Model) file against the panoramic photos in the 3D tour from any angle. Since the Web Player uses a live 3D BIM model rather than CGI (Computer Generated Image), you can dynamically explore properties of BIM elements, measure as-designed dimensions, and change the visibility of layers as you compare the BIM model with as-built 3D tours.  This direct comparison between the model and real life construction helps provide the user with any actionable insights.

How to Import a BIM File

Uploading BIM Files

To compare a 3D tour to a BIM file, upload the BIM file to the Asset Library.  The Cupix server will prepare an online viewer to display the BIM model. The online BIM viewer retains all layers, hierarchies, and properties of all objects in the BIM file.  This allows you to explore the structure of the BIM model when comparing it to a 3D tour.

Supported BIM Formats

Cupix supports native Autodesk Revit files, Autodesk Navisworks files, Trimble SketchUp files, and the IFC neutral format.

IFC (Industry Foundation Classes):

  • IFC is a software-neutral standard BIM format. Most BIM softwares can export an IFC file.
  • IFC is a more light-weight file than RVT or NWS formats. Use this format if you want to strip out all detail information from native RVT or NWS files.

RVT (Autodesk Revit Format):

  • RVT is the native Autodesk Revit format. Please note that we do not support linked models imported from other Revit projects. Alternatively, you can use the NWS format from Navisworks if you want to compare a 3D tour with a consolidated 3D BIM model that contains all 3D CAD objects.

Tip: You can compare a 3D tour with various project phases defined in Revit software. Please save the Revit model at desired Views and upload them to the Asset Library separately.

NWS (Autodesk Navisworks Format):

  • To allow project subcontractors like MEP (Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) firms to compare 3D tours with a BIM file, we highly recommend exporting the file in NWS format. NWS format is the best format in this case because it can hold all CAD models.

SKP (Trimble SketchUp format):

  • SketchUp is the most popular and easy-to-use architectural design software, and SKP is its native file format. At the time of writing, formats up to SketchUp 2017 are supported.

Aligning 3D Tours to the BIM Coordinate System

To compare a 3D tour to a BIM, the 3D tour needs to be represented in the BIM coordinate system. This means the 3D tour must be aligned with the BIM model by having the same scale and X, Y origin point coordinates.  The following diagram shows the origin point of a section in the BIM coordinate system.

You can use a floor plan or any photo as the reference image for aligning a 3D tour with the BIM coordinate system. Refer to "Adding a Floor Plan" and "Comparing 3D Tours Side By Side" for instructions on aligning 3D tours to a floor plan and setting up the comparison view. The default global coordinate system rendered in 3D comparison view is the same as the BIM coordinate system.

  1. Insert a floor plan image by clicking the Choose button next to ‘Floor Plan Image’ in the Layout Tab.

  2. Align the floor plan image with the BIM coordinate system.  Use the Transform Image tool to edit the location, the scale, and the rotation angle of the image, matching the floor plan to the BIM model.
  3. When finished, lock the floor plan image to prevent unintended changes.

  4. Align a section on top of the floor plan image as explained in "Comparing 3D Tours Side By Side".

  5. Adjust the Elevation of the section. The Elevation is the vertical position of a section in the BIM coordinate system.

Tip: To scale the floor plan image, you can use the dimension tool. First, measure a dimension in the Drawing View window on the left after a floor plan image is inserted. Set the real value (obtained from the BIM model) using the Scale menu, which appears by right-clicking the dimension.

You are now ready to compare 3D tours with the BIM model.

Note: How to change the origin or orientation of a BIM model

The uploaded BIM might not be located at the origin point (0,0,0) or aligned with the axis.  This could make 3D tour alignment difficult.  To change the origin or orientation of the BIM model, use the Set Origin tool in the BIM model viewer. 

Open the BIM model viewer by clicking the Preview button on a BIM file in the Asset Library.

Sharing the 3D Tour and BIM Model Comparison

After a 3D tour is aligned to the BIM coordinate system, share the 3D tour comparison by adding the 3D BIM models and 3D tours you want to compare to each other to the Comparison List in the Publisher Tab. Refer to "Comparing 3D Tours Side By Side" for more instructions on sharing a 3D tour.