NEWSLETTER • No 17 • September 2014
International home of openBIM
® ®
Sustainability by
building SMARTER
Strategic changes to reshape bSI
Structure, membership and certifcation
to be enhanced
In May 2013, bSI chair Patrick MacLeamy put the case for
strategic change in his paper, The Way Forward. ‘BuildingSmart
International is at a turning point – for to realise our dream of
global adoption of openBIM standards, we must evolve,’ he said.
One year on, the International Council, at its meeting in Beijing,
voted in changes that are already transforming bSI into a more
effective organisation.
Structured for progress
The transformation provides a more
rational structure, a consistent
approach to new projects and the
creation of a Strategic Advisory
Council. The frst change is the new
structure of bSI. The International
Council and ExCom remain as
before, but ExCom is now advised
by a Strategic Advisory Council,
drawn from large multinationals
and clients (see box). Three core
programmes form the grass-roots
work of buildingSMART: Standards,
Compliance (including certifcation)
and Chapters (with a strengthened
and more infuential role).
Standards and rooms
A Standards Committee will be set
up to oversee the creation of new
standards. Proposals for standards
will come from three sources: the
chapters, the buildingSMART ‘rooms’
and third parties.
The earliest of the bS rooms
were the Product Room and the
Process Room – covering the
data dictionary and guidance on
processes, respectively – whose work
is complemented by the Technical
Room. The Infra Room – more
recently established – is tackling
specifc projects to extend IFC to
infrastructure. A new room, the
Regulators Room, is in formation.
As standards are initiated,
developed and approved, expert
review panels will provide continuous
appraisal, while the Standards
Committee builds consensus for
approval at the two major ‘gates’ of
the project management process.
The strategic changes include new
categories of membership. Until now,
bSI membership was open only to
the local chapters. Now membership
has been extended to three new
categories, open to organisations:
Strategic Advisory Council members,
international members and standard
members. Membership details will be
available shortly. Wider membership
is expected to provide expertise
and valuable additional resources
for projects that beneft the whole
Compliance and certifcation
‘Certifcation has become increasingly
important as more software
developers desire to comply with
bSI standards,’ wrote Patrick in The
Way Forward. The buildingSMART
Certifcation 2.0 system, launched
in 2010, has been recognised as
stringent and quality-enhancing. But
with the use of BIM more widespread
than before, bSI is rethinking its certif­
cation offer, with plans to extend it to
individual people and organisations
and set up further centres of
certifcation in the UK and France.
A further strand of the strategic
changes is the chapter strategy,
launched in July 2014. The role of
chapters is more clearly defned.
On the one hand, chapters are well
placed to identify local needs for
standards and feed them into
the standards funnel. On the
other, chapters can help speed
industry adoption, working
with government to shape and
infuence industry practices.
Another aspect of chapter activity is
user training and certifcation. ‘We
need to harness the strengths of
local chapters,’ says Chris Groome,
bSI business manager.
Fit for the future
‘We are the only global standards
body in a position to support open
BIM,’ concludes Patrick. ‘With the
changes already made and those to
come, we are organised for success.’
Strategic Advisory Council
The bSI Strategic Advisory Council was
launched in July, as part of the strategic
and structural changes underway. The
frst companies to sign up as SAC
members were international software
companies Autodesk, Nemetschek and
Trimble, and the global architectural
practice, HOK.
SAC members will advise bSI on
its Standards and Compliance
programmes. When fully established,
the SAC is expected to comprise
12–15 members representing owners,
contractors, manufacturers, software
vendors, operators and consultants
operating in the Americas, Europe and
‘With the launch of the SAC, we will for
the frst time have direct involvement
from leading strategic stakeholders at
the highest bSI level,’ says Richard
Petrie, bSI CEO. ‘Their participation will
help us select the most-needed projects
and secure the additional resources
needed to fuel our programmes.’
BuildingSMART responds to market demand
The digital economy is gathering pace and all the parties involved in the design, construction
and operation of the built environment are already experiencing the benefts it brings,
especially in areas like open BIM. But to get the full positive impact, the industry will need to
make further changes, as new tools and processes become available.
At buildingSMART, we are adapting too. Changes to transform bSI into a more effective
organisation are happening, making it a partner of choice for entrepreneurial frms in
research and user projects.
This news extra outlines the changes underway at bSI during 2014 and beyond.
International home of openBIM
On track for change
News Extra • August 2014
New bSI organisation
owners contractors
a n
f a c t u
r e r s
software vendors
Strategic Advisory Council
Initiation gate
Execution gate
Acceptance gate
Standards Committee Standards Committee Executive
Standards Committee
A simple, effective structure
Over time, bSI has evolved organically. The
standing committees and working groups have
harnessed impressive talent, but the time has
come to rethink the structure to make it easier to
understand and more capable of meeting user
A new structure is being realised, retaining the
International Council and ExCom but bringing
in the support of a Strategic Advisory Council
and international members at the working level.
Three main work areas or ‘core programmes’ –
standards, compliance and chapters – are defned,
with new and existing activities falling into one of these categories.
Strategic Advisory Council
As we grow, we want to make sure that the way we work and what we do
refect the priorities of the industry and its customers. A Strategic Advisory
Council (SAC) will contribute independent expertise and knowledge of the
market. There will be 10–16 members, drawn from six interest groups:
owners, contractors, manufacturers, software vendors, operators and
SAC members will themselves reap rewards from participation in council
activities as they can help steer the projects programme and set in motion
and fund work from which they will beneft. In this way they will make sure
that we are meeting real industry needs in our projects.
Managing the standards programme
We want our sponsors and project partners to be confdent that we tackle projects in a
professional, rigorous way. The quality of our projects is good but we are too slow and less
than clear about how our work programme is identifed, shaped and managed. We believe
that greater transparency about the way we select and do projects will stimulate new
business and political partnerships.
The new Standards Committee will be formed by bringing together representatives from
chapters and international members, leading users and technical experts. In a move to
complete openness, the committee will select the best projects from among candidates
proposed by the rooms (currently Product, Process, Infrastructure and Technical, with
Regulators in formation), by chapters or by external organisations. A Standards Committee
Executive will oversee projects
while they are being executed.
A ‘gates’ system will regulate
the progress of each project.
The website will provide a
comprehensive management and
monitoring tool for projects.
Projects will be formally voted through the milestone gates in a stringent and transparent
management process
International Council (IC)
Executive Committee (ExCom)
Strategic Advisory Council
Three core programmes
The changes
are explained
in a news extra
on the bSI
Regulators Room to promote automated
code checking
Latest addition to buildingSMART rooms
What if a project owner could know at once if a project design meets
the country’s building regulations? What if a designer could get instant,
automated feedback to successive changes as the design is iterated and
improved? What if the information in a project BIM could be understood and
checked by software within a local planning authority?
The reality today is more than a series of ‘what ifs’. Building code-
checking systems, based on the IFC standard, are taking shape
around the world. But it is early days, and only a small number of
countries have started to explore the use of these automated code-
checking procedures. Clearly, there are many more countries that
could beneft.
This is where the buildingSMART Regulators Room comes in. ‘We want
to provide a room for open discussion of regulation and open BIM,’ explains
Inhan Kim, a professor at Kyung Hee University and chief vice­chairman
of buildingSMART Korea, who leads the room. ‘We want to bring together
government building regulators, researchers and implementers to promote open
BIM-based building permissions and code-checking processes, and explore the
collaborative issues.’
Although building codes – also known as building regulations – differ from
country to country, automated code-checking systems have much in common,
whatever the country of operation. ‘Accordingly, international collaborative
research is necessary,’ says Inhan.
The frst step will be to form a team with members drawn from a core
group of seven chapters who are interested in the project: Norway,
Singapore, Australia, US, UK, Finland and Korea. The group will share
information on the progress that has been made on automated code-checking
in the different countries – some of the countries are well advanced – and seek
out opportunities for technical co-operation.
The Regulators Room is still in formation and has its frst meeting in Toronto
during buildingSMART week in October. The creation of this new room to meet
industry needs underlines the strength of buildingSMART’s fexible approach to
creating and maintaining these special-interest working groups.
The Regulators Room would like to hear from anyone interested in taking part in the
activities of the room. Please contact Inhan Kim, ihkim@khu.ac.kr
Richard Petrie
confrmed as CEO
Richard Petrie has been
confrmed as bSI’s frst CEO,
having joined the organisation
a year ago. He is an engineer,
with career experience in
construction and oil and
gas process plant.
He was formerly
COO at Lloyd’s
Register, whose
activities include
marine certifcation.
Speaking of the strategic changes
at bSI, he says, ‘We are developing
a clearer way to deliver standards,
more structured certifcation and
closer links between the regional
chapters and bSI.
‘I want to see buildingSMART
become the premier forum for
identifying and executing projects for
better interoperability.’
Pioneers of digital plan checking
Norway has had an e-submission system, ByggSøk,
for building permission since 2003, allowing an
applicant to fle a submission online and use
web services to collect information from multiple
government data sources. The next step is a system
that can check building designs. Norway is looking to
overcome the technical barriers to an ‘ePlancheck’
system – a concept has been tested – and is
collaborating with bSI, OGC, ISO and CEN to solve
the issues.
United States
The Fiatech organisation is part­way through its
AutoCodes project to enable automated code-
checking with BIM. The project is now into phase 2,
having created a proof of concept in phase 1. The
long-term objectives of the project include the
development of an extensive, open-source rule set
library for industry and regulatory bodies.
The e-submission system from Corenet – which stands
for Construction and Real Estate Network – allows
industry professionals to submit electronic plans and
documents to the regulatory authorities for approval,
and includes areas such as planning approval, building
and structural plans, and fre safety. An integrated plan­
checking tool, covering different authorities and utilities,
is being developed.
Korea has had an internet­based Architectural
Information System for building permission since
2004. But an ambitious project launched in 2009 has
developed a BIM server for checking the compliance of
building designs. The SEUMTER system will provide
quality assessment and code checking, and further
R&D projects are extending its scope.
Role of the Regulators Room
The Regulators Room has yet to defne its
mission but frst indications are that it will…
• encourage the early adopters of
e-submission systems to share their
experiences and boost interest
• compare maturity of development
among participating countries
• consider the technical issues of:
language and syntactic code translation;
how a code-checking system can
accommodate BIM designs; and how to
implement a broad range of applications
that are stable, secure and compatible
with each country’s existing system.
Case study
Comparative study explores the benefts of BIM
Left: Shanghai comparative study: the four tower
blocks that benefted from BIM
Above: Clash detection and the avoidance of errors:
ventilation systems and outlets can be sited to
avoid straddling two ceiling tiles
Results of BIM v CAD pilot
Does BIM really achieve the cost and time savings its supporters claim?
Is it better than traditional CAD? What do comparative studies show?
Open repository provides unique IFC resource
The problem is that true
comparative studies are rare. A
large project is often a one-off and
supposedly ‘repeat’ projects will have
variations resulting from timing and
location. So a pilot project with near
identical buildings in China, with input
from the BIM Design and Research
Centre in Beijing, presents an unusual
opportunity to compare like with like.
The pilot took a residential
development in Shanghai. For the
purpose of the pilot, it was divided into
two zones: the North Area (with four
tower blocks) and the South
Area (with fve blocks). Both
areas were initially designed
in CAD software, but as the
pilot began, the North Area
housing blocks were completed with
a BIM and 3D designs, the South
Area blocks with CAD and 2D bills
of quantity. The BIM Design and
Research Centre modelled the North
Area buildings in BIM.
Thirty days on, results were
compared. A primary aim of the
project was to identify the time taken
to complete the design and extract a
bill of quantity from the design. Both
the CAD team and the BIM team had
achieved their aim – but the time
needed was different. The CAD team
completed their tasks in 185 days,
while the BIM team had needed only
111 days. This was a real
project, so it meant that
the owner received the
bill of quantity 74 days
The architects and
structural engineers
worked in the
same model;
the building
services engineers
also shared a model.
The close collaboration
between the disciplines paid off,
with dividends of time saving and
increased accuracy and quality –
clashes were detected and removed,
and design quality was reckoned to
have improved by 50%.
The BIM Design and Research
Centre were satisfed that they
had proved their proposition
that collaboration creates value,
persuading the project owner that BIM
is an improvement on traditional CAD
At the request of the client, the project
name and client are kept anonymous.
A repository of IFC models has
been set up by an academic in New
Zealand – and it is open to the BIM
community around the world. This
shared resource means that anyone
who wants to conduct tests on an IFC
model has a variety of existing models
to draw on.
‘A major issue is just fnding models
that you can run tests on, whether
you are a commercial software
tool developer or a researcher at a
university,’ explains Professor Robert
Amor, head of the Department of
Computer Science at the University
of Auckland. ‘I thought that an open
repository of IFC models would help
meet the need.’
A developer or researcher wanting
to run comprehensive tests on IFC
software tools might need access to
a variety of IFC models, representing,
for example, several versions of the
IFC, various sizes of model, specifc
types of building and models with
known issues (to ensure that the
system being developed will fnd them
as well). Models containing data for
various MVDs or for specifc entities
within the schema are also needed.
The repository is building up a wide-
ranging resource.
‘For researchers, the repository
means that tests undertaken by one
group can be verifed and contrasted
by another group,’ continues Robert.
‘There are several research papers
providing analysis and metrics of IFC
models, but as the models are not
publically available, no other group
can check to see if they get the same
To fnd the models, Robert has
worked through several sources:
buildingSMART certifcation models,
models used in bS roadshows and
research projects that have produced
IFC models as part of the project. In
government-funded projects, there is
often an impetus to make the outputs
available to all. ‘I gained a very nice
set of models from NIST in the US,
which were part of their work in
developing the CIMsteel standards
and looking at mapping that through
to IFC,’ he adds.
Currently, there are over 100
models available for use, with a
further 150 to be uploaded. The
repository is completely open and free
to use by the whole community, with
the models gifted under a creative
commons licence to guarantee
they are usable by anyone in the
Visit: http://openifcmodel.cs.auckland.ac.nz/
The duplex
model was
produced by
K. Hausknecht
in Germany
for a design
BuildingSMART International
Chair: Patrick MacLeamy
Deputy chairs: Reijo Hänninen and Rasso
CEO: Richard Petrie
Treasurer: Nick Tune
User lead: Kjell Ivar Bakkmoen
Technical lead: Francois Grobler
Members: Alain Maury and Deke Smith
Secretary/business manager: Chris Groome
Newsletter & communications
Editor: Betzy Dinesen
Designer: Jane Thompson
Contact points
grobler.bim@comcast.net (Francois Grobler,
technical lead)
(implementation and certifcation)
tl@aec3.com (Thomas Liebich, IFC matters)
(user lead)
rogerjgrant@gmail.com (Product Room and
bS Data Dictionary)
jan@gravicon.dk (Jan Karlshøj, Process
Room and IDM)
chris.groome@buildingsmart.org (Chris
Groome, bSI matters generally)
warwick@drs-hunt.freeserve.co.uk (Warwick
Hunt, website matters)
jess.tune@buildingsmart.org (book-keeping)
betzy.dinesen@btinternet.com (newsletter)
Around the chapters
User groups fourishing at bS Finland
BuildingSMART Finland (bSF) now
has six working groups, covering a
range of projects from education to
‘This has been an extremely
active year at bS Finland,’ says Tomi
Henttinen, who chairs bSF. ‘We have
several new user groups and have
seen some very productive work.’
A new infrastructure group has
been formed, building on the work
done by a research programme
known as PRE that aimed to create
new procedures for – in the words of the programme – ‘built environment
process re­engineering’. The bS Finland infra group consolidated the efforts of
one of the work packages of PRE, fnalising an upgrade to LandXML, the Infra
Model 3 (IM3, a data exchange format), and the group remains active in this
work through the bSI Infra Room.
The Finland group has other work underway, potentially of global interest.
One effort is its BIM guidelines for infrastructure, being drafted in Finnish but
with the aim of having an English translation as well.
Other groups are pursuing special-interest activities: there is an MEP group,
a group for architects and engineers, a client group and an education group.
Finally, a city planning group has secured most of the funding needed for a
project to study the existing interfaces between BIM in buildings, infrastructure
and city planning, and to create guidelines. ‘This is an ambitious project, with
huge scope, but we are making a start on it,’ says Tomi.
Toronto week
The buildingSMART week
of meetings takes place in
Toronto, hosted by bS Canada.
The principal meetings are
on 27–29 October (Monday
to Wednesday), followed
by an industry day. The bS
week coincides, as usual, with
meetings of ISO Technical
Committee 19, Sub-
Committee 13, so that bS
delegates can attend both
sets of meetings.
BIM guides wiki project
Call for volunteers to review guides
Around the world there are hundreds of publications and guides on how to run
a BIM project. The Process Room is part-way through a project to list all the
guides in one place, review them and provide analysis to discover common
elements and attributes. The reviews will provide a framework for developing
industry guidelines. By early September 2014 almost 60 guides had been
identifed and a number reviewed, with examples from North America featuring
strongly. The guides come in varying forms and include national, single city and
single association guidelines.
The project needs more volunteers to perform guide reviews and fag up new
documents that could be incorporated into the wiki.
Contact Susan Keenliside at reviews_bimguides@buildingsmart.org
Visit BIM Guides Wiki Project http://bimguides.vtreem.com/bin/view/Main/
BIM ambassador appointed in France
In June, the French government announced that it was making
BIM a priority for the construction industry and appointing
Bertrand Delcambre, president of research institute CSTB, as
BIM ambassador.
Alain Maury, bS France, welcomed the appointment.
‘Bertrand Delcambre has been an excellent supporter of IFC
since the beginning,’ he said.
A BIM strategy is being developed swiftly, after a period of
consultation, which closed on 5 September. The consultation
probed attitudes towards BIM, benefts and barriers, and how respondents saw
its likely impact on working methods.
Bertrand Delcambre, dubbed ‘Monsieur BIM’ by the media, now sits within
the Ministry of Construction. ‘The professional community agrees that we must
prioritise the development of building information modelling so that we can
jointly meet our quality goals and reduce construction costs,’ he said in his
mission statement.
IFC4 coordination view – update
The model coordination view, now at the
beta stage, is out for public review until
30 September. It comprises two separate
views, the reference view and the design
transfer view, which will replace the model
coordination view for IFC 2x3. ‘We are
expecting feedback from the software
companies and “power users” – those
with a senior role in IT among the end
users,’ says Thomas Liebich, who led the
development. Once the feedback has
been incorporated, the
view will become a bS
standard and can be
used immediately by
software companies,
some of whom are
already showing
a strong interest in
design transfer view
reference view