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From Building Information Modelling/Management to SIMulation BIM2SIM project – SecurIT

modélisation 3D d'un bâtiment
Example of a complex Scott Brownrigg building

About the SecurIT European Project

SecurIT (which stands for New industrial value chain for Safe, sECUre and Resilient cIties and Territories) is a European project issued from H2020 INNOSUP-01-2018-2020 Call – Cluster facilitated projects for new industrial value chains, and awarded to a consortium of 8 partners (7 clusters associated with FundingBox, a non-profit Polish private organization for innovation management). The 7 clusters are:

  • SAFE (coordinator), POLESES and Systematic (France),
  • LSEC (Belgium),
  • L3CE (Lithuania),
  • HSD (Netherlands),
  • CenSec (Denmark).

SecurIT started the 1st of September, 2021 for 3 years and received a global budget of 5 M€ including 3.5 M€ dedicated to SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) through a mechanism of cascade-funding.

The main objectives of SecurIT are to support European Security SMEs, to co-finance and support the development of collaborative projects and to promote cross-border cooperation. A preliminary identification of security solution providers and security needs and gaps gives the backbone of the whole project, seen as a sourcing of innovative solutions to fill the priority gaps.

Cascade funding is organized through two open calls for cooperative projects. The first Open Call covered 3 domains (sensitive infrastructure protection, disaster resilience and public space protection – major events) and 11 related challenges, and it was possible to apply either for the prototyping instrument or for the demonstration instrument.

The BIM2SIM project, which will be described hereafter, has been proposed by APEX solutions and Scott Brownrigg limited (UK) together with 110 other applications. Our project (a prototyping one) has been one of the 21 projects selected for funding by SecurIT and a panel of external experts.

BIM2SIM began on the 1st of September, 2022 for a duration of 12 months.

logo SECURIT Project

The need for security/safety data about buildings

At APEX we are developing new approaches to gather and analyse risk-related data and to model hazards of different natures and their consequences on various stakes. These hazards can be studied at large scale (city-scale and above), leading to “APEX-urban” models or at smaller scale, usually a single site of infrastructure composed of a few buildings (“APEX-infra” models).

When dealing with the former, we can rely on existing databases and standard file formats widely used in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Data are available through local or national repositories (for instance IGN data in France) or at a wider scale, perhaps with less details, from OpenStreetMap.

We are not so lucky when developing the latter kind of models for building-scale hazards. There is no such thing as a standard building description for safety/security issues. The common practice is to use floorplans and technical drawings and to convert them manually to the proprietary file format used by each security/safety model. This is not only time-consuming, but also extremely error-prone!

However, architects, urban planners and the construction industry in general faced the problem of sharing a common building description a long time ago. Charles Eastman is considered as the “father of BIM” thanks to his 1974 founding article “An outline of the building description system” and the development of GLIDE (Graphical Language of Interactive DEsign) in 1977. Nowadays, CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software used in the construction industry (Revit, ArchiCAD… to name only a few) are all able to handle “Digital Twins” of buildings, using either proprietary file format or the open IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) format, whose preliminary version dates back to 1995 and the last was released in 2016 (IFC4 Add2).

Moreover, many countries impose new buildings to be delivered with a digital twin counterpart when the construction funding is public. Simple BIM models can also be built semi-automatically from paper or digital floorplans, for instance using WiseBIM technology.

We won’t dig any deeper in the subtleties and advantages of BIM in this article, but it definitely made sense for us to use BIM descriptions as a base for our modelling inputs, since detailed BIM models already include 95% of what we need!

Some uses of building descriptions for security/safety applications are listed below:

  • Path planning (intrusion and physical security, evacuation, accessibility…).
  • Optimal positioning of safety (fire hydrants…) and security (cameras…) elements.
  • Indoor hazard modelling (fire, explosion, toxic release…).
  • Structural damage as a consequence of internal or external hazards…

BIM2SIM: From Building Information Modelling/Management to SIMulation

The idea behind BIM2SIM is the direct consequence of the previously mentioned findings: we need to couple digital twins to security/safety models in order to bridge the gap between BIM descriptions and security models.

We first needed to partner with a BIM expert… Scott Brownrigg limited  is a British architecture practice with a recognized expertise in BIM modelling. Erika Gemmell, director of the Defence and Security sector, kindly accepted to join APEX solutions in our application to the first SecurIT Open call.

Due to the limited duration of SecurIT projects (12 months), we had to choose a single application for the enhancement, processing and use of BIM models in APEX simulations. We decided to focus on the physical security of sensitive infrastructures, using our EPIC software whose early principles had been described here . EPIC is currently able to identify worst-case scenarios for the intrusion of a “red team” in a complex site with buildings enclosed in one or more fence(s), each building having several storeys and multiple rooms. Delays and detection probabilities are accounted for, leading to several metrics for the worst-case red paths: shortest time, shortest distance, lowest detection probability and lowest interruption probability. EPIC relies on a lengthy preliminary processing of actual site data and their conversion into GIS shapefile data.

During BIM2SIM we will use dedicated Scott Brownrigg’s BIM models of increased complexity (from a single building, single storey building to a complex site), adding relevant information to the existing data, in order to perform a full physical security assessment with EPIC in a much shorter delay.

Another output of BIM2SIM will be the development of a first Security-IFC open standard together with the corresponding guidelines. We hope that sharing this with other companies and public bodies will lead to a widespread use of BIM data for security applications and to the collaborative development of improved Security-IFC versions.

We will publish our results on this website and in the technical literature. Stay connected!

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