IFC Open Standard Specifications in the US
Having a vibrant and active US Chapter is extremely important given the extent to which the IFC open standard specification has been adopted and is being mandated by leading US owners and industry trade organizations, including:
- Resolutions passed by the AASHTO Board of Directors mandating the adoption of the IFC specification as a basis for the design and construction of roads and bridges by all 50 member State DOT’s. A copy of the resolutions can be found at https://highways.transportation.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/46/2019/10/Administrative-Resolution-AR-1-19-Adoption-of-Industry-Foundation-Classes-IFC-Schema-as-the-Standard-Data-Schema-for-the-Exchange-of-Electronic-Engineering-Data.pdf
- The General Services Administration (GSA) mandates IFC compliant models as required design stage deliverables and as required construction stage deliverables for all public building projects at https://www.gsa.gov/real-estate/design-construction/3d4d-building-information-modeling/guidelines-for-bim-software/guidelines/gsa-bim-guidelines-for-revit-data-submittal
- The GSA also requires COBie files to be submitted as a construction handover deliverable at https://www.gsa.gov/real-estate/design-construction/3d4d-building-information-modeling/guidelines-for-bim-software/guidelines/gsa-bim-guidelines-for-revit-data-submittal . For understanding, COBie is a more detailed elaboration of the IFC specification that is focused on the additional information exchange requirements by Facility Owners resulting from the commissioning of all plant and equipment at building hand-over by documenting warranties, product specs, operating manuals, system controls, safety over-rides, etc. to ensure efficient operations and maintenance and to guarantee the safety of occupants.
- To facilitate interoperability with their Space Data Management (SDM) Program, the GSA has also recently uploaded their “Space Classification System” to be included in the buildingSMART Data Dictionary for access by commercial software vendors when implementing against both the IFC specification and the COBie specification. More details on SDM can be found at https://www.gsa.gov/real-estate/design-construction/spatial-data-management/space-assignment .
- The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) has republished the COBie specification (version 2.4) as an integral part of version 3.0 of the US National Building Information Modelling Standard (NBIMS). More information can be found at https://www.wbdg.org/resources/construction-operations-building-information-exchange-cobie
- The American Concrete Institute (ACI) has also adopted IFC based information exchange standards as described in its publication “IFC 131.2R-17: Guide to Use of Industry Foundation Classes in Exchange of Reinforcement Models” (located at https://www.concrete.org/store/productdetail.aspx?ItemID=131217&Format=PROTECTED_PDF&Language=English&Units=US_AND_METRIC ) and in the companion publication “Programmers Documentation for 131.2R Guide to Use of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) in Exchange of Reinforcement Models” (located at https://www.concrete.org/store/productdetail.aspx?ItemID=BIM131&Format=ZIP&Language=English&Units=US_Units )
- The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) promoted the IFC specification as a foundation for their “BIMSteel: AISC's Interoperability Initiative for the Structural Steel Industry” for defining information exchange requirements between structural steel design engineers and steel fabrication as part of their continuing education training program as described at https://www.aisc.org/education/continuingeducation/education-archives/aisc-bimsteel-initiatives-t1/ .
- The National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) has defined a 2600 term bridge glossary that is in the process of being mapped to the IFC specification and submitted to the buildingSMART Data Dictionary under the “Task Group 15 – Data Modeling for Interoperability” initiative that is being undertaken in collaboration with AASHTO as described at https://www.aisc.org/nsba/design-and-estimation-resources/aashto-nsba-collaboration/aashtonsba-steel-bridge-collaboration-meetings/
Research Projects in the US:
In addition to supporting these industry initiatives, buildingSMART is also supporting the following research projects in the US:
- buildingSMART has registered as an “official collaborator” for Phase 2 of the CIS-OKN (Civil Infrastructure Systems – Open Knowledge Network) project being funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence Accelerator program. The civil data model used in Phase 1 of this project and also being proposed for Phase 2 is the IFC Specification for roads and bridges. The ontology platform proposed for Phase 2 is the buildingSMART Data Dictionary. A copy of the letter confirming our contribution to this research project is attached (See Exhibit 2). More details about this research project are available at https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1937115
- buildingSMART are also supporting the TPF (Transportation Pooled Fund) “BIM for Bridges and Structures Project” jointly funded by FHWA and 22 State DOT’s. The IFC Bridge Candidate Standard specification forms the basis for this research which is also being coordinated with the international Infrastructure Extensions Deployment Project being managed by the buildingSMART Infrastructure Room to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing and joint research. More details about this research project are available at https://www.bimforbridgesus.com/#:~:text=The%20BIM%20for%20Bridges%20and,Committee%20on%20Bridges%20and%20Structures.
- buildingSMART has also committed to supporting the new (currently in formation) TPF “BIM for Infrastructure Project” which is scheduled to start early in 2021. The IFC Road specification forms the basis for this research which as above, will be coordinated with international Infrastructure Extensions Deployment Project being managed by the buildingSMART Infrastructure Room to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing and joint research. Details of this project are not yet publicly available.