Non-graphical checks are objective. They are binary. Either the data has been provided or it hasn’t.
At this stage, you are comparing whether or not the data has been provided in line with your EIR. If your EIR doesn’t explicitly detail your data requirements, the parameters that you require for each type of component, the organisation responsible for providing the data and at what stage the information should be provided, then you don’t have anything to measure against. Without this, your data check would become a subjective assessment. You would be checking that your professional team had guessed and provided the data that you want, but that you haven’t detailed.
The data checks can also be used to assess the quality of the data provided. This becomes more of an objective approach. If you ask for the manufacturer’s name to be provided for each maintainable asset, then there are only limited automated checks that can be done. You can check that the entered text does not contain any unusual characters (such as *, %, or $), you can check that the text does not contain an unusual amount of numerical characters and that the length of the text provided is within reasonable bounds. You can also provide other restrictions on the information allowed, for example, you could make sure the input for a date field will only accept a date, or that a numerical field will only accept numbers.
The graphical elements of your model are the things you can see when you view your model, using a suitable application.
The quality of your graphical model tells you how well the model has been put together. It provides an assessment of the coordination of all the model objects – whether the objects fit together properly in a logical way.
It also provides an assessment of the model design in accordance with statutory, and your own, design requirements. For example, one of your requirements may be that electrical distribution boards are not located within occupied spaces, and a statutory requirement would include the floor area for accessible toilets.
Finally, graphical checks assess the detail of the objects. This is referred to as level of detail (LOD).
Graphical coordination checks monitor how the objects fit and work together. They can also put categories into different types of checks such as clash detection, proximity checks and compliance checks.
This is the simplest type of coordination check. A clash occurs when two or more objects occupy the same space. It’s a bit like having a door within a wall without having an opening within the wall. There are also some less obvious clashes, such as duplicates when two identical objects existing in the same space and overlapping objects of the same type.
The proximity checks use simple, logical rules. Proximity checks are specific to combinations of objects and specify a required clearance measurement. For a window, you could check that there is sufficient clearance to the plane of a window from objects such as pipes, columns, doors and fixed furniture. With the acceptable clearance information, the model is checked and issues are raised when objects are located inside the clearance zone.
The final type of check is for compliance of the design with specific requirements. These could be approved documents, BREEAM, British Standards or project-specific design requirements. For example, accessible WCs require a certain floor area and specific fixtures in particular locations. Platform lifts require a minimum floor area to the entrances. There are countless other potential model compliance checks.