Publications / 2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada

Evaluation of Industry Foundation Classes for Practical Building Information Modeling Interoperability

Alireza Golabchi, Vineet R. Kamat
Pages 17-26 (2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada, ISBN 978-1-62993-294-1, ISSN 2413-5844)

The AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) industry is an information intensive industry and all related processes employed during different phases of a project, including planning, designing, building, manufacturing, occupying, and maintenance, involve vast amounts of data that is used for a wide variety of purposes. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a powerful shared knowledge resource which stores this data to support decision making about a facility through all these different phases in its life cycle. Nowadays, BIM is mostly used in the design and construction phases while it can also be highly beneficial beyond those stages. For example, in the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) phase, BIM could be used for automated facilities management or robotic inspection to provide semantic knowledge for navigation. For any implementation not related to the original intent of the BIM (design), organizations need to be able to represent their project data in a common interpretable form, which provides the possibility of an accurate exchange of data among different software products and platforms, known as interoperability. This study has investigated the current state of interoperability between software products used as Building Information Modeling tools. The main focus has been on a popularly used format for BIM models, Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), since it has been specifically developed to enable standardized data exchange. The research methodology involved a comprehensive literature review and the gathering of all fragmented prior research related to the field in order to develop a consistent understanding of the current state of knowledge. This was accompanied with a detailed case study that evaluated and compared two dominant pieces of BIM software, Revit and Bentley, and examined their interoperability strengths and weaknesses while using the IFC format.

Keywords: Building Information Modeling, Interoperability, Industry Foundation Classes