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International home of openBIM

Sustainability by building SMARTER

NEWSLETTER No 12 May 2013

Certification success for software vendors

New stringent process provides quality assurance
The first four products to receive the new-style buildingSMART certification 2.0 were recognised at the bS international meetings in Waltham, near Boston, US, in March 2013. The certification marks the successful completion of a series of demanding test cases and gives the software certification is vendors the right to display the becoming an important buildingSMART certification component of the roll-out logo on the product packs. of open BIM. How it works
Certification 2.0, launched in 2010, replaces the earlier buildingSMART certification scheme which followed a different concept. The present scheme introduces a clear distinction between import and export functions and improves quality checks. It uses a web application, the Global Testing and Documentation Server (GTDS), which provides automated online testing of IFC files and tools for the documentation of manual tests, and is a place where candidates for certification can run tests to ascertain compliance. The database of GTDS stores all test results and provides test reports. No vendor-independent testing framework for a standard data format has attempted such an ambitious scope until now, says Rasso. The auditing process was especially demanding and this first round of certification for exports has earned the respect of the industry.

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Our certification is a stringent process, says Rasso Steinmann, who leads buildingSMARTs Implementer Support Group and is responsible for the certification process. The number of test actions to date is over 1,400 an indication of how seriously we take the process. The certification acknowledges that the products have been tested and shown to comply with the IFC open standards for the functions specified within the testing environment. The four successful products were Autodesk Revit Architecture, Graphisoft ArchiCAD, Nemetschek Allplan and Nemetschek Scia Engineer. In April, Autodesk Revit Structure became the fifth product to achieve certification.

awards underlined the interoperability that the certification guarantees, notably between the architectural and structural disciplines, as well as MEP, and the chance to strengthen open BIM collaboration.

Next steps
As certification tests the final release of the software product, end-users do not have long to wait, and the software vendor may choose to ship a new version or service release of the product shortly after certification. Twenty more applications are in the certification pipeline. The level of demand produced a bottleneck at one point, but the auditing team is now well resourced. Importantly, the present audit team, based in Germany, is being expanded, and Rasso is working with colleagues in France to set up a further audit team there.
Certification 2.0 is open to all software developers who are buildingSMART members. For more information, contact Rasso Steinmann, BuildingSMART certification What are the benefits to vendors? Enhances QA of the software product Allows automated testing through GTDS platform (see text) Offers a unique opportunity for software vendors to check their applications Provides a valuable marketing tool Shows proof of commitment to open BIM Meets contractual demand for bS-certified applications

Certification and open BIM

Good interfaces are essential if open BIM is to be made a reality. Certification has a vital role to play in ensuring that the interfaces of IFC software function without any hitches or impairment of data quality and that end-users can be sure the product is truly interoperable. We found that the certification process improved the quality significantly during the course of the testing, says Rasso. Building owners are beginning to demand the use of certified software in their projects and

Industry response
And the response to the certification results has been positive, with the certification process expected to lead to mature IFC interfaces in BIM applications something that building owners are also welcoming. As Autodesks Jim Lynch points out, many customers worldwide mandate a neutral IFC file format... buildingSMARTs IFC certification will facilitate more efficient, collaborative workflows and increase project team collaboration. The other successful software companies involved in the certification

Rasso Steinmann

Progress at Waltham
The twice-yearly meetings of buildingSMART and its working groups took place in Waltham, near Boston, US during 1115 March 2013. A drive to extend IFC to infrastructure has become an important element of buildingSMARTs portfolio of work, and a significant development at Waltham was the formation of the openINFRA Room a centre of activity, led by Christophe Castaing of Egis and the French-speaking chapter, dedicated to infrastructure work. We are setting up four projects to develop use cases and explore how to apply IFC to infrastructure, says Christophe. The Open Geospatial Consortium a US-based organisation that develops standards is committed to collaborating on linking up IFC and GIS and joined

buildingSMART for the sessions on infrastructure.

Product Room, Data Dictionary and Process Room

The Product Room the centre of activity that is developing buildingSMART products concentrated on the muchneeded buildingSMART Data Dictionary (bSDD), making possible product libraries that will link products seamlessly into processes such as design and speci fication. The Product Room has secured a grant from the Norwegian government towards paying part of the cost of taking the work forward and developing a content management tool. The first step is to prepare a requirement specification. The accreditation of IFC4 as a full ISO was a source of satisfaction to the Process Room and the

International User Group (IUG), who considered ways of promoting IFC4 and incorporating it into the buildingSMART certification process. Meanwhile, the first four certifications under the Certification 2.0 scheme were announced (see page 1).

Other highlights
Also discussed at Waltham were the plans to develop international BIM guidelines, drawing on a number of sources, notably ISO 12911:2012, Framework for BIM Guidance. Training is also on the agenda for a number of chapters, with determined training efforts evident in the UK, Korea, Norway and the Middle East. There were meetings of IUG, the International Technical Management Group (ITM) and the Implementation Support Group (ISG).
To see the Waltham resolutions, visit www.

Priority technical projects

The Technical Advisory Group of bSI has identified six priority tasks which will improve data exchange and data understanding and will hasten integrated working. The immediate trigger is the UK governments initiative to require the use of BIM in public sector projects at Level 2 of the maturity model by 2016 and gearing up for Level 3. Some of the tasks have two parts, and the six tasks and subtasks are defined as follows: Create logically linked heterogeneous models (integrated models) for Level 3 establishing structured data exchange and sharing to support complex engineered assets of different types throughout their total life-cycle Define the function of IFC objects and attributes relative to building definition and operation expanding the use of BIM to cover operation and maintenance Develop an archival model view defining a Model View Definition (MVD) that will record the project as built, with full product information and prescriptions as to what historic data must be preserved Support web-based tools to allow exchange requirements exposure and automated testing by end users enabling simple automated testing of a building model against the Model View standard, to ensure that it really can support interoperable data exchange Create a collaborative definition of exchange requirements at both IDM (Information Delivery Manual) and MVD level using a modular approach known as the Semantic Exchange Module (SEM) to allow the design and construction teams to define the exchanges they want and implement them Develop a methodology and software to track BIM data origin developing an opensource software app that will show the source and time of all data entered into a BIM, so that those who enter bad data have to take responsibility Enable ownership of mixed data and data models developing a simple model for objects that allocates ownership of the data along discipline lines, using as a basis the IFC models ownership history capability (ifcOwnerHistory) Enable and support the use of openBIM Collaboration Format (oBCF) identifying common issues and workflows in construction projects to extend the scope of this promising new format.

New Roadmap to 2016 in draft

A new business plan to 2016, accelerating buildingSMART technical and user activities, is being developed. Our existing business plan was simply too conservative over timings and coverage, explains Chris Groome, bSI business manager. The old business plan, Roadmap 2020, envisaged a steady but slower development and rollout of the buildingSMART technical output. With the UK government BIM programme, bSI as a whole must tackle the unmet needs of those who are implementing BIM, he adds. Other countries will benefit as well. The second factor behind the new business plan is the project to create IFC for infrastructure. This has become a core buildingSMART activity and needs to be reflected in the business plan. With much sharper timings and the inclusion of openINFRA, the new business plan will act both as a planning tool and the basis for seeking funding from potential beneficiaries. Other priorities have also been identified by the Product Room, the Process Room and the International User Group. Seven use cases have been selected as areas of work where seamless data flow will help improve efficiency and sustainability. There is also a clear need for international BIM guidelines to overcome the present local fragmentation. As before, training is deemed vital, possibly accompanied by bSI end-user certification in open BIM. For more about the Roadmap and Business Plan to 2016, contact Chris Groome (chris.groome@buildingsmart. org)

For more information on the priority tasks, contact Francois Grobler (

Rennes metro turns to IFC

Rennes is the smallest city in the world to have a full metro and one of six cities in France to have a metro system.
Line A Line B

The Rennes metro opened in 2002, with a single 9.4km line known as Line A running north-west to south-east. Now a second line is planned, based on a strong social and business case: it will provide sustainable development, prevent gridlock at surface level, Gares meet the needs of the future and allow expenses and operating SNCF revenues to balance out. The capital funding is provided by central and local government. The new Line B, running north-east to south-west, is 14km long and will consist of a mined tunnel, together with a stretch of cut and cover tunnel and a viaduct. There will be 15 stations and, as with Line A, Line A (planned extension) some stations will offer park and ride. French buildingSMART member Egis is responsible for the design and supervision of the stations and tunnels. For the 15 metro stations, we have persuaded the client [Rennes Metropole] to require bidders to provide digital models in IFC 2x3, says Christophe Castaing, of Egis and buildingSMART. The IFC model must cover the domains specified (including civil works, doors and electrical and mechanical). This represents a pioneering example of IFC in public sector procurement in France and follows the recommendations made by the French-speaking chapter to the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy on how procurement regulations might be modified to include an IFC requirement. This use of IFC in a public sector infrastructure project covers the stations, not the metro line itself. As Christophe states, For the linear (Above) Rennes railways with existing and planned new metro lines; part of the project, there is no software at present able to deliver any (below) 3D model of Mabilais station on LIne B IFC information showing how much openINFRA is needed.

Botn arts centre in Spain using BIM

The rise of container shipping has led to the decline of the old docklands in Santander on Spains Atlantic coast. But now the area between the sea front and the historic quarter of the town is being redeveloped, linking the 19th-century Pereda Gardens to Albareda Quay, facing the bay. An existing arterial road is being taken underground and a large unsightly carpark replaced by a public space. The jewel of this redevelopment is a new arts centre, sponsored by the Botn Foundation, a leading private foundation for social investment. The construction is complex, with two linked buildings, clad in ceramic tiles, which will reflect the changing light of the water. Thats the quality we want to celebrate, says Renzo Piano, who designed the centre. OHL, the main contractor, decided to use virtual construction techniques to help the construction process and hired B.O.D. an active member of the Spanish chapter (in formation) as BIM consultant to create a model prior to construction and to co-ordinate progress. As a result, the BIM is being used for clash detection and constructability, and importantly helping the construction team to understand this complex project. During the design process Tekla and Revit software was used, with interoperability achieved through IFC. The use of BIM is exemplified in the pachinko the stainless steel structure between the two buildings, named by Renzo Piano after the Japanese pinball machine which went through a number of design iterations. This made it necessary to revise the quantity take-offs several times a process much simplified by the use of BIM, which allowed a high degree of accuracy that is not possible with the older technologies, and also improved productivity. A prestige project like the Botn Centre is a source of pride to Spain in these tough economic times, says Sergio Muoz, director of innovation at AIDICO and bS Spains president.
For information about the Spanish chapter, please contact sergio.

(Clockwise from left) The old docklands in Santander; ceramic tiles used in the cladding; visualisation of the new centre

Sources: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Botn Arts Centre, Santander, Botn Foundation 2011 and

The future with IFC4

Interview with Christopher Zoog, HOK
Christopher Zoog is an HOK buildingSMART specialist an architect who works on key projects around the firm ensuring compliance with its HOK buildingSMART initiatives. His work featured briefly in the IFC4 Special supplement. Here he answers questions from newsletter editor Betzy Dinesen.

BD: When and how did you become aware of IFC4? CZ: Ive been following the development of IFC4 for quite a while now. I became interested in IFC about three years ago when I arrived at HOK, which has a strong presence in the buildingSMART community. What is your role with HOK? It can be thought of as an applied research role: I research new technologies and workflows and apply them to the projects I am working on. I am also an expert in model-based co-ordination, model checking, design algorithms and pedestrian simulation.
BuildingSMART International ExCom Chair: Patrick MacLeamy Deputy chairs: ivind Rooth and Rasso Steinmann Treasurer: Jns Sjgren ITM chair: Francois Grobler Members: Alain Maury and Deke Smith Secretary/business manager: Chris Groome Newsletter & communications Editor: Betzy Dinesen Designer: Jane Thompson Contact points (technical management) (implementation and certification) (Thomas Liebich, IFC matters) (user group) (Product Room and bS Data Dictionary) (Jan Karlshj, Process Room and IDM) (Chris Groome, bSI matters generally) (Warwick Hunt, website matters) (finance and administration) (newsletter)

Can you tell me something about the project where you did the early IFC4 connection between Rhino/ Grasshopper and Revit? This example of IFC4 integration is a complex faade study for a major new hospital building in New York City. What benefit did making the connection bring to you? In the early design phase our primary BIM tool was not flexible enough to handle the complex geometry and the

many design iterations in a fluid way. Normally we would devise a design algorithm to create the geometry in Grasshopper/Rhino and perhaps create a .dwg or .sat file that can be imported into Revit and referenced a dumb piece of geometry. IFC4 and the Geometry Gym plugins allow us to create an IFC model in Grasshopper and then import/merge that model into Revit, where they become proper BIM elements, panels, columns, floors, etc. We can also pass that same information on to structural analysis programs, such as Tekla. How do you see the potential of IFC4? I anticipate that the adoption of IFC4 and development of new model view definitions will further revolutionise how building stakeholders collaborate and communicate with each other. Its an exciting time for the AEC community.
For the full interview, see bSI News Extra May 2013.

(Images) Designing the faade of a hospital building

Launch of buildingSMART Hong Kong

A new chapter of buildingSMART was launched in Hong Kong on 25 April 2013. Around 150 delegates representing leading owners, construction companies, developers, facility managers, government departments and professional institutions attended the launch. We are proud to be part of buildingSMART International family to promote industry awareness on BIM and open international standards, Nelson Ho the technology that will benefit our construction industry, state and nation and further the cause of international understanding, said Nelson Ho, founding chairman of the new chapter. The Hong Kong Chapter has all the signs of becoming a heavyweight player, says Chris Groome, bSI business manager, who took part in the inaugural ceremony.

and a new China chapter too

An earlier buildingSMART chapter in China, created in 2008, discontinued its activities some time ago, leaving a country that has a massive construction industry and a growing interest in BIM without any formal link with buildingSMART. This has been remedied with the launch of a new China chapter, now with stronger foundations. An annual summit/industry day is planned, complemented by a BIM technical forum and a BIM business salon held in different cities around China, to share knowledge, provide networking and stimulate business opportunities. There will be events to share best practice within China, and the chapter plans active engagement with buildingSMART internationally. The China chapter is confident that through its effort the worlds largest building market, China, will be led into a brand-new BIM era based on international standards, said Yinquan Yu, founding chairman of the chapter.