Earn 1.50 LUs | TH310
Speaker(s): Thomas Liebich, Jeffrey W. Ouellette, Assoc. AIA, Dana K. Smith, FAIA, Rasso
It is the common understanding that building information modeling (BIM) is the sum of the
processes, served by technology, that connect architects, owners, engineers, and
contractors in the formulation, design, simulation, analysis, fabrication, and management of
a project. It is also essential to recognize that many different kinds of technologies
exist today that address these different viewpoints and workflows by which designers connect,
communicate, collaborate, and bring ideas from the ether into reality.
The purpose of
any technology should be to serve, or support, the processes and the delivery of high-value
workflows that are the core of BIM. When we look at all the processes and technologies
possible to “do BIM,” they are all a subset of an overarching concept that connects them: the
concept of interoperability. Interoperability, by definition, is the ability to exchange
data and make use of the information—in this case, building data.
After all, digital
interoperability is nothing new to us, is it? The Internet itself would not exist without
open, international, standardized protocols and schemas such as HTTP and HTML to encode, transfer,
store, decode, and display all the data we have and connect people and minds at all ends
of the Earth.
So where is this open interoperability of BIM? Architects should be aware that
true interoperability of BIM data can be achieved by the use of open, international data
standards that define the semantics, relationships, and attributes used in the exchange of
BIM data between project participants and stakeholders and their applications.
real interoperability is available using the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) standard to
exchange data between BIM applications, including some 100 unique products available
internationally. Architects should also acknowledge the efforts of buildingSMART
International to encourage vendors to implement support for the IFC file format through
import or export. In addition, they can examine successful examples of project teams with differing
technology platforms that use IFC file exchange to complete projects, matching BIM goals of
efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness.