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The UNI standard on BIM will come into force by the end of the year. Meet AIST at Saie

Countdown to Saie 2016. Interview with Adriano Castagnone, chairman of the Italian Technical Software Association

by Paola Pierotti, PPAN

 

The Italian Technical Software Association (AIST) is almost 10 years old and since 2008 has been a regular participant at Saie in Bologna, where it discusses the mission of its members, organises meetings and seminars and promotes a think tank on new developments in the sector. In 2016, BIM will take the spotlight following the introduction of the new Procurement Code and, even more importantly, “the imminent publication of the Italian standard on BIM”, explained Adriano Castagnone, Chairman of AIST and founding partner of S.T.A.DATA, one of the largest Italian software houses. “The UNI 11337 standard is due to be published in mid-September, after which there will be a three-month observation period, so it will officially come into force by the end of the year. It will serve as the reference document for everyone involved in building design in Italy.”

 

What role has AIST played in the development of the building design process?

AIST represents about a dozen software companies in Italy. Its activities include cooperating on the development of customisations and adapting international software to the Italian context, given that globally-established solutions are not always suited to our country’s specific situation. In other words, AIST proposes customised application models.

 

What is AIST’s mission in general?

Like all associations, AIST supports its member technical software companies. Our main goal is to raise awareness of a product that in the world of engineering is often considered of secondary importance. After all, without sophisticated, up-to-date instruments capable of resolving the issues addressed by the standard within the timeframes required by the market, end-use applications would be totally impossible.

Technical software is developed through research and analysis. It is an advanced tool capable of enhancing the ability of some professionals and making up for the inability of others. In many cases, it is now an interdisciplinary tool capable of automating calculation, design and computational processes.

 

What kind of relationship do you have with the world of education and with the market?

We act as a bridge between academic research, regulatory application and the professional world. When the standard talks about adopting specific calculation models, this simply couldn’t be done without suitable technical software. Universities are our key partners in this process.

 

What is the specific situation of Italian software houses?

The 12 AIST members comprise a few small companies with about a dozen employees alongside medium-sized organisations with more than 250 employees. Despite its small size, AIST has a strong focus on investment potential. At exhibitions like Saie it aims to stimulate business activities that benefit from direct contact with customers and to create opportunities for sharing knowledge. AIST is a transversal company with a wide-ranging vision that caters for professionals working for both design firms and construction companies.

“Interoperability” is the keyword you chose to explain the strength of your association and your work. What do you mean by that?

BIM is a direct consequence of this approach: it refers to the interrelation between architectural, systems and structural projects. Following the introduction of the new UNI standard, professionals and companies will have to refer to a single regulation that explains how to approach and present a project.

There are still very few people in Italy who know what Building Information Modelling is. 3D representation makes up just 2% of its potential: the real strength of BIM lies in the management of construction processes with the involvement of the entire production chain from designer to facility manager. This is why interoperability is crucial and requires a high degree of cooperation at a personal level and a single IT type language.

 

 

by Paola Pierotti

PPAN communication and networking platform for the built environment