Private Alliance (1995)

In 1995, Autodesk organized a private alliance of twelve companies to prove the benefits of interoperability — full information exchange — between the many software programs being used in the building industry.

These companies were engaged in building design, engineering, construction and software development, and were assembled for their international outlook and willingness to invest in the future of the Building Industry.

After a year effort, the companies reached three critical conclusions. First, that interoperability was viable and had great commercial potential. Second, that any standards must be open and international, not private or proprietary. And finally, that the alliance must open its membership to interested parties around the globe.

The original 12 companies:

  • Autodesk
  • Archibus
  • AT&T
  • Carrier Corporation
  • HOK Architects
  • Honeywell
  • Jaros Baum & Bolles
  • Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
  • Primavera Software
  • Softdesk Software
  • Timberline Software
  • Tishman Construction

International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI)

The International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) was established on May 16, 1996 in London at a meeting between representatives from North America, Europe and Asia.

The IAI established Chapters within individual countries and sometimes by region or language area.  An International Council consisting of two representatives from each Chapter was established to coordinate international standards development.

buildingSMART (2008)

On January 11, 2008 the IAI changed its name to buildingSMART to better reflect the nature and goals of the organization.

Building applies to the entire built environment and buildingSMART has grown from serving the Building Industry to also serving the Infrastructure Industry.

SMART, the second half of buildingSMART, identifies the way in which we wish to build: with intelligence, interoperability, and teamwork to design, build and operate the built environment.

buildingSMART Today

While remaining faithful to its founding principles of openness, neutral and nonprofit, buildingSMART is changing to meet the digital standard demands of the built environment.

buildingSMART has a bold new vision for quality, engagement and community for Open BIM within the global built environment sector.  Central to this vision is the creation of a professional leadership team to drive the organization forward.

Find out more about our new vision

BuildingSMART Standards

Industry Foundation Class (IFC) standards were the first developed by buildingSMART for sharing and exchanging BIM data across different softwares.  buildingSMART continues to update the IFC standard and is developing a range of other standards to serve the building and infrastructure industries.


buildingSMART has developed partnerships with two global standards organizations to support our objectives.


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develops and publishes International Standards.  ISO is the ultimate destination for standards organizations worldwide.  buildingSMART attained formal liaison status with ISO in 2011 and chairs the Technical Subcommittee dealing with the IFC Standards family.


The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international industry consortium of over 527 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface standards. OGC® Standards support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services and mainstream IT.

The buildingSMART Logo

The four links rings on our logo represent the four major building phases: Design, Procure, Assemble and Operate.


Design begins with an assessment of needs and continues with a full program of work, cost estimate and schedule.  Design itself is accomplished in phases from preliminary to final.


Procure encompasses all the activity necessary for identifying, specifying, evaluating, purchasing and delivering the thousands of materials and manufactured products used in a building or infrastructure project.


Assemble replaces construct as modern buildings and infrastructure projects are increasingly assemblies of manufactured products.  Assembly includes coordination, scheduling and quality assurance.


Operate includes all activity necessary to operate a completed building or infrastructure project including monitoring, maintaining, upgrading and eventually recycling.

The four rings are interlocked in the buildingSMART logo, illustrating the need for interoperability and teamwork between all participants.