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12 Principles of Interoperability in Construction

The design and construction sector are rapidly evolving and the exchange of design models is shifting away from 2-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) and paper and toward semantically-rich 3-dimensional digital models. 

The approach, known as Building Information Modelling (BIM), is expected to become the dominant way of construction. BIM facilitates the exchange of information between the various parties involved in construction projects. 

Using digital models allows for the automation of a number of design analyses, with significant implications for the speed and efficiency of the design process, as well as the quality of the final designs.  

In an industry that is so reliant on collaboration, interoperability difficulties must be addressed in order to maximize these benefits 

Let’s take a close look at the 12 principles of interoperability in construction. 

BIM Interoperability 

The use of BIM has increased exponentially. In 2011, 43% of respondents had never heard of BIM. Today, awareness is nearly ubiquitous, with 73% adopting BIM.  

The industry is transforming as a result of digital transformation and will continue to do so. Construction professionals are embracing cloud computing, virtual reality, and other technology.  

Collaboration and scalability are the most important distinguishing aspects of BIM as an interoperability domain. 

The inherent collaborative character of the domain is one of the reasons why interoperability has been and continues to be an essential issue for the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) business. Interoperability is a major challenge due to the exchange of information across organizational boundaries and disciplines. This cross-organizational aspect has complicated the application of models for information exchange in the case of AEC. 

However, a lack of client demand and perceived unsuitability for projects continue to be obstacles. The most significant impediment is a lack of client demand. 

Smaller business practices are more prone to dismiss BIM as unsuitable for their projects 

Despite this issue Building information modeling (BIM) is a critical integrated data system that enables effective project planning and control in the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) domain. 

Read More >> Complete Guide: BIM Interoperability in the AEC Domain

First, let’s understand the foundation of Interoperability and understand the guiding principles. 

12 Principles of Interoperability in Construction 

The European Interoperability Framework includes the twelve interoperability principles (EU, 2017). They were created to serve as a “rule of thumb” checklist for interoperable public administration systems at the EU level. The checklist can also be utilized in the building industry. 

1. Subsidiarity and proportionality 

In the context of interoperable construction systems, the European Union’s very general political principle of pushing decision-making to the lowest political level possible could be construed to avoid integrated, monolithic, pan-European, or global systems. Instead, a number of municipal and private systems could be developed and made interoperable by adhering to a common standard. 

2. Openness 

The EU framework emphasizes on the need for openness. It also suggests that countries “provide a level playing field for open-source software and exhibit active and fair consideration of employing open-source software.”  

It also suggests “giving preference to open specifications.” BuildingSmart’s OpenBIM approach is well suited to this philosophy. 

3. Transparency 

When it comes to public information, this is especially important. However, the suggestions to ensure the availability of information system interfaces and to protect personal data are also applicable in the context of the building. 

4. User-centricity

User-centricity is a notion of public administration that focuses on the demands of citizens while minimizing their efforts while interacting with the government. 

5. Accessibility and Inclusion

In a construction context, this would relate to system features that would allow all enterprises in the value chain, large and small, and especially SMEs, to access the systems. Platform architectures may be able to provide this. 

6. Reusability

Reusability necessitates the abolition of job duplication. Initially, interoperability in construction meant eliminating non-value-added labor such as translating outputs from one system into inputs from another within a project. In general, reusability has been defined as the reuse of knowledge and information beyond the boundaries of a single project. This leads to the creation of a marketplace for reusable information and knowledge objects (such as object libraries for information modelers). The marketplace should include a monetary reward for reuse as well as intellectual property protection. 

7. Data Portability and Technological Neutrality

“Ensure data portability, namely that data is easily transferred between systems and applications,” according to the recommendations. Furthermore, “do not impose any technical solutions on citizens, enterprises, or other administrations that are technology-specific or disproportionate to their true demands.” This means that, while governments may want BIM in public procurement, they should not request a specific technological solution, but rather outline functional needs. Furthermore, requesting technology should be motivated by a genuine need rather than by fashion or principle. 

8. Privacy and Security 

This is a relatively recent issue in building IT system research. The EU framework’s proposal is a valid reminder that the security of systems where the built environment is planned and operated is critical: “Develop a standard security and privacy architecture and service processes to ensure secure and trustworthy data sharing.” 

9. Data/Information Preservation

“Formulate a long-term preservation policy for information relevant to European public services, particularly information shared across borders,” the recommendation says. Building information requires a similar long-term preservation plan. It is not acceptable that the information is simply forgotten when the project is completed.  

10. Evaluation of Effectiveness and Efficiency

The recommendation is to “evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of various interoperability solutions and technology possibilities in light of user needs, proportionality, and cost-benefit balance.” While the benefits of BIM are frequently advocated for, little effort has been made to improve information processes and focus on the information that is required. Specifically, the trend has been toward more information and more accurate and richer models. information. It is not acceptable that the information is simply forgotten when the project is completed. The OpenBIM methodology 

11. Multilingualism 

The International Framework of Dictionaries (IFD) is a great illustration of how the OpenBIM methodology takes this notion into account. 

12. Simplifying administrative procedures

The framework suggests that systems be “digital by default” and “digital-first.” This type of thinking is also required in construction to eliminate the residual paper and analog procedures. 

Future of Construction Interoperability  

The future of interoperability in construction is facing three main challenges to develop the understanding of interoperability beyond the standardized semantic interoperability of integrated systems, including a growing number of systems that are emerging, and making a transition from information to knowledge management. 

Is interoperability in construction possible? 

The answer to the question is yes. Research and development will continue to provide solutions to increase the interoperability of the technologies that currently comprise the construction ecosystem.  

However, due to the nature of advancements, individuals, businesses, and software will continue to evolve and specialize. As a result, perfectly compatible integrated systems will never be realized. It is therefore critical to research how to design, implement, and operate in such partially integrated ecosystems. 

INDOVANCE Inc with its exclusive delivery hub in India is a globalCAD technology partner serving the needs of the AEC industry since 2003. At INDOVANCE we focus on the unique need of each project or client and believe in addressing the real challenges and guarantee that the process will be well-coordinated, smooth, efficient, and hassle-free. 

With our team of 400+ CAD specialists, we have successfully assisted in the development of various infrastructure projects in retail/commercial, resort, mixed-use, industrial, office, residential, recreational, educational, and municipal domains. With years of experience and extensive technical knowledge behind our backs, we deliver sustainable, skilled, competent, cost-effective, and comprehensive infrastructure engineering services right from the planning stages to permitting and construction. 

Follow INDOVANCE Inc for AEC Industry Updates and Global Construction News. Feel free to connect with us on our website www.indovance.com or contact us at +1-919-238-4044. 

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