Lowering the barriers for the use of IFC

In conjunction with the second meeting in buildingSMART Danmark’s Technical Committee we caught up with Lèon van Berlo, Technical director of buildingSMART International, to hear about the latest news from buildingSMART International.

“We have hired a new compliance director. She’s starts in June, and this is something that we’ve been brewing on for a while. We truly believe that this will accelerate the professions use of buildingSMART standards and solutions,” Léon van Berlo, Technical Director, buildingSMART International, answers without hesitation, when asked what’s new in buildingSMART International.


Two parts of the Compliance Program: Professional Certification and Software Certification

The new compliance director will be responsible for buildingSMART International Compliance program. The purpose of the Program is to provide quality control, reliability and credibility for organizations and individuals. The Compliance Program consists of two parts. The Professional certification part is a global benchmark for openBIM training where buildingSMART International is responsible for quality assurance and standardisation in the digitalisation of the built asset industry. The other part is Software certification which provides validation for implementation of standards and solutions based on Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) and other standards. This service helps users and software vendors ensure data exchanges are consistent and of reliable quality.

Sustainability becomes a new buildingSMART International Room

The purpose of the second meeting in the Danish Technical Committee was to establish the first buildingSMART Denmark Rooms. buildingSMART rooms are open groups of specialists who work together to improve the built environment through the development of open solutions and standards.  Rooms focus on a specific domain or context, and Rooms may initiate projects depending on the nature and scale of the problem or opportunity to be addressed.

As all other industries the building industry also focuses on sustainability, and it could be argued that since the building industry is responsible for up to 40% of the global carbon emissions the building industry plays a major role in the ongoing green transition. We asked Léon van Berlo about the activities in the various buildingSMART International Rooms, and he explained that every room have a specific roadmap, that is updated every couple of years by the steering committee. He mentions digital twins and the buildingSMART Data Dictionary as some of the general topics that the organization are looking into. Léon van Berlo also explains that sustainability is a topic in all the existing buildingSMART Rooms, e.g., Infrastructure, Railway, Technical, Products, Construction, Buildings, Airport and Regulatory.

Sustainable energy management has become an independent Room where Siemens and Schneider Electric are the founders and both companies are heavily involved,” says Léon van Berlo, “It is great that the work in this room will result in a global standardization and IFC consensus for electrical appliances and intelligent building assets operations.”  

Lowering the threshold via the User Program

The mission of buildingSMART International is to proactively facilitate the active use and dissemination of open data standards enabling infrastructure and building asset data and lifecycle processes to improving the value achieved from investments in built assets and enhance opportunities for growth. buildingSMART enables the digital transformation of the built asset industry by developing standards and services to support project delivery, asset management, and organizational efficiency. Hence the more widespread the use of IFC and buildingSMART standards becomes, the easier it will become for users to take control over their digital destiny.

“The User Program facilitates understanding and implementation of bSI standards, solutions, and services. It enhances collaboration and communication among the buildingSMART community and the built asset industry at large,” says Léon van Berlo.

“The main purpose of our User Program is to lower the threshold for professionals to use our solutions: on a regular basis we produce and disseminate user guides and write case studies that showcase how buildingSMART tools create value on projects all around the world. Our compliance program provides certifications that are also part of this process,” says Léon van Berlo, and furthermore it can be argued that the buildingSMART Awards also is an important part of communicating the inherent value of buildingSMART.

IFC4.3 is awaiting ISO certification but is already functioning

The latest version of IFC is called IFC 4.3 and was released in the spring of 2022, and Léon van Berlo, says that is has just been sent to The International Organization for Standardization to receive an ISO certification, and that this might take a years before it’s done. “But the final, ISO certified version of IFC4.3 will be the same as the one that is released now. I am proud to say that IFC4.3 is the most thoroughly tested version of IFC ever, and software vendors have been actively involved in the development process. Instead of pushing them, we have invited them to participate in the process from the beginning. This means that the software vendors are be able to implement IFC 4.3 in their software much earlier than they would in the previous versions, Léon van Berlo concludes.  

After the interview Léon van Berlo and his colleague, Evandro Alfieri, participated in the second meeting of the Technical Committee where Léon van Berlo presented how buildingSMART International is organized and took the participants through the recent developments in buildingSMART International, some of which are described in this interview.

Three Danish buildingSMART Rooms will be established before summer 2022

Based on the meeting the plan is to establish the first three Danish rooms before the summer holidays. Initially, we will establish space for Infrastructure, Regulation and Sustainability.

For The Danish Technical rooms to become successful it’s important that the whole value chain of the building and construction industry participates. If you want to hear more about the Danish buildingSMART rooms to see if it is something for you or your company to be active in, please reach out to Peter Bo Olsen at pbo@molio.dk or 5370 9511.