Wayland, MA, July 20, 2009. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) and The buildingSMART allianceTM (bSa) announce that a streaming webcast of the May 28 AECOO-1 webinar is available for review: http://www.opengeospatial.org/pub/www/aecoo-1/index.html. The webcast demonstrates results from the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner and Operator industry) Phase 1 Testbed. The AECOO-1 Testbed was a nine-month effort focused on increasing interoperability among software used by architects, engineers, construction companies, cost estimators and building energy performance analysts.

The buildingSMART alliance, a council of the National Institute of Building Sciences, provided the strategic guidance and commissioning for the project, functioning as the umbrella organization chartered to manage open interoperability standards and full lifecycle implementation of building information models (BIM). The OGC, in conjunction with bSa, identified numerous technical and data related issues that are common to both standards organizations, and provided its suite of proven development models, processes and methods as the structure for bSa to identify and test critical AEC interoperability requirements.

The webcast, produced as a collaborative effort by Testbed participants, highlights four important conclusions of the Testbed:

  1. Technology standards for interoperability provide a compelling approach for addressing owners' business requirements for better communication, process management, decision support and performance simulation of design alternatives;
  2. Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is realizable with interoperable technologies that enable faster, cheaper, and more effective information processes;
  3. Project design teams can bring both energy and economic impact analysis upstream (i.e., earlier phases of design) using software that can seamlessly exchange data among different vendors' building information model (BIM) software applications, such as BIM authoring tools, quantity takeoff, value engineering, energy simulation, project and document management, and decision support; and
  4. Multidisciplinary project teams that work together with data-sharing tools and common information models can indeed achieve better results faster than teams each working in their respective stovepipe application settings.

Process and software demonstrations in the webinar prove that the following is achievable today:

a)Quantitative cost and performance justification of design decisions early in the design process, resulting from parallel, partially automated and near-real-time cost estimating and building energy performance simulation;
b)Standardized process definition that indentifies tasks and information requirements for all participants and stakeholders, and unambiguously defines all data exchange requirements across the process;
c)Effective electronic information management and dissemination that serves all processes and project participants and stakeholders; and
d)Effective use of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC – ISO Standard 16739).

Participants stretched their respective internal IFC tools boxes to enable slightly more interoperability among their proprietary BIM software applications and data processing engines. In doing so, the teams discovered that areas of the IFC model are not amenable for interoperability as commonly defined and practiced by industrial communities that require collaboration and rely on network processing, cloud computing, and distributed data repositories to achieve better results faster. The IFC structure, first developed in the 1990's, can be modernized by the community so that a more complete suite of benefits from interoperability reaches critical mass and adoption in the market. With IFC modernization, a far more open, comprehensive and intelligent life-cycle data model of buildings can be achieved. IFC modernization working in parallel with highly efficient network-based communication, process management, decision-support and performance simulation of design alternatives is the sweet spot for achieving benefit in real industry projects. IFC modernization will also tend to reduce the costs and inefficiencies that now result when builders attempt to maintain consistent and unambiguous use of original project information by all project participants and stakeholders.

AECOO-1 Testbed sponsors include the Associated General Contractors of America, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Burt Hill, Ellerbe Becket, Gilbane Development Corporation, HOK, Large Firm Round Table, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Statsbygg (Norway), U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), and Webcor Builders.

OGC and bSa also wish to acknowledge the significant contributions of time, resources and effort generously provided by the individual participants and their companies in the project and the demonstration, including Bentley Systems, Digital Alchemy, Faithful & Gould, Graphisoft, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), PhiCubed/Sofi Executive Systems, Nemetschek NA, and Tokmo Solutions.

To get involved in future AECOO efforts and to support the converging missions of OGC and bSa contact Louis Hecht (lhecht@opengeospatial.org) or Deke Smith (deke@dksic.net), who are managing permissions to use the Testbed content and the webinar record of the work. Documented results of the Testbed are to be submitted to bSa for consideration as standards.

The buildingSMART allianceTM is a council of the National Institute of Building Sciences. The alliance was established to coordinate the profound constructive changes coming to the fragmented real property industry in North America. The bSa's collective goal is open interoperability and full lifecycle implementation of building information models. The focus is to guarantee lowest overall cost, optimum sustainability, energy conservation and environmental stewardship to protect the earth's ecosystem. Visit the buildingSMART alliance website at http://www.buildingsmartalliance.org.

The OGC® is an international consortium of more than 380 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OpenGIS® Standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC Standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org/.