Another successful year – 2017 Review

As we come to the end of 2017 we are delighted to be able to report on another extremely strong year of growth and improvement for buildingSMART.

Thank-you to all of our members, sponsors and supporters at International and Chapter level and all of the hard-working professional contributors.

This is a review of 2017 achievements. We wish you all seasonal greetings for the holiday period.

Community and Leadership

Our community has continued to grow and strengthen throughout 2017.

We welcomed Russia as a new Chapter in August, since then a new Austrian Chapter has been admitted and will launch formally in 2018.

A prospective Chapter is under development in Poland and we also have strong expressions of interest from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in particular.

The new integrated International and Chapter Organisational Membership scheme has been implemented and presents customers with much clearer value and engagement propositions.

During the year our membership grew and we offer a warm welcome to LafargeHolcim, SAMOOCM, Bexel, CRB, Deutsche Bahn Netze, Hochtief PPP Solutions, FM Global, OEBB Infra, SBB CFF FFS, SNCF Reseau, China Communications Construction Company and Royal Haskoning DHV.

We have strengthened our communications programme making increased use of social media channels and our intranet. Plans for next year include more hosted community blog spaces to promote themed discussion on key topics. We value and are actively seeking ways to leverage the supportive community at large to advance our work.

The Board has met regularly through the year. We welcomed Karin Anderson, from Trakikverket, to the Board in July and have held two extensive workshops with the Strategic Advisory Council. We have continued our practice of inviting guests to these sessions and the broad range of senior input is proving invaluable. The more robust the challenge the more valuable it has proved to be. A Board Strategy Committee has been established to lead and oversee the Strategic Review for 2018.

New Articles were adopted during the year and will be followed by the creation of Company Byelaws in 2018.

buildingSMART Fellowship

A Fellowship scheme was introduced to coincide with our 21st anniversary. Eighteen of our community who have been instrumental in buildingSMART’s creation were recognised for their outstanding contributions.

Chairman Patrick MacLeamy said “Our new Fellows come from very varied backgrounds and have willingly contributed their time and experience to make buildingSMART the thriving and influential organisation it is today. In making these awards, we acknowledge our debt of gratitude.”

L to R: Kjell Ivar Bakkmoen, Chris Groome, John Mitchell, Arto Kiviniemi, Thomas Liebich, Jan Wix, Alain Maury, Patrick MacLeamy, Väino Tarandi, Rudolf Juli, Jan Karlshoej, Yoshinobu Adachi, Cheng Tai Fatt, Richard Petrie, Rasso Steinmann

L to R: Richard Kelly, Sheila Kerai-Lum, Claire Whittaker, Richard Petrie, Sigve Pettersen, Anne Mevatne

buildingSMART International and our Chapters in Germany and Norway have all been able to expand their staff leadership teams adding to existing colleagues in China, Korea and Australia.

The International team continues to recruit staff in line with the 2014 strategy pronouncement. Business Administrator, Sheila is based in London and Data Dictionary Product Manager, Sigve and Room Administrator Anne (starts in January) are located in Oslo.

User and Chapter Activities

Our front-line user activities are strongest in those Chapters developing regional or sector focussed fora. In Germany a strong set of regional clusters have emerged while Norway has a well developed sector based network. In the UK these activities are organised by the UK BIM Alliance, now integrated with the Chapter. In Asia, Japan and Korea also have significant outreach activities with broad engagement. In France, Germany, Spain, UK and the USA our Chapters have also organised or strongly supported conferences to promote open standards and engage users.

Norway and France are developing user focused platforms to support digital working for construction work processes.

The Strategic Advisory Council task to develop a set of guides to the workflow exchanges, completed its requirements definition phase.

We have hosted monthly calls with Chapter Leaders to help strengthen cross Chapter liaisons and joint problem solving and to provide a regular communications opportunity between International and Chapters. These will continue in 2018 and include regular updates from Chapters.

The UK & Ireland Chapter has merged with the UK BIM Alliance strengthening both organisations and allowing greater alignment with the UK clients and national programme.

International Awards

Four winners were recognised for their exemplary projects using buildingSMART solutions.

This year the winners were the Tønsberg Project (Norway), Neubau Klinikum (Germany), The Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge (United States), IFC enabled site to BIM automation (Student class).

These are great showcases of open digital solutions. More can be read about them here.

Solutions and Standards

If anything illustrated the growth in industry interest in buildingSMART this year it was the attendance at the Summits. Barcelona was the game changer with a surge in demand that saw 400 people requesting tickets. The Summit in London later in the year was no less busy.

The increased interest is due to buildingSMART addressing industry needs more explicitly.

The Airport, Construction & Regulatory Rooms are both addressing primarily the user needs and the more established Building, Infrastructure and Product Rooms are enabling the underlying digital technology.

Several initiatives have been launched such as; common definitions for infrastructure, rebar and precast requirements exchange, standards for energy transfer analysis and quantity take off.

A good example is the BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) technology which has seen strong adoption.

The strong recognition of the need for open digital exchanges in infrastructure has continued.

The Rail project is the largest that buildingSMART have undertaken and is supported by rail operators in China, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland. We anticipate the formal establishment of a new Rail Room early in 2018.

Harbour and Ports project is similarly supported international organisations based in China and the Netherlands.

We are particularly pleased with this growing engagement. The work programs are now very significant and demand continuous improvement

Several Technical Reports have been completed in the year.

  • Infrastructure Overall Architecture – an important piece of work that has set the foundations for the rest of the Infrastructure workplan
  • Standards for Regulation – interoperability between Regulatory, Requirements and Recommendatory content
  • Infrastructure Asset Management– delivering the information Asset Managers need and can trust using openBIM

The completion of the Overall Architecture work has enabled the Road Project to finally get going. We note and acknowledge the importance of this and the patience of the key sponsors of the Road Project

The Standards Committee has been called on fourteen times to vote in 2017 and now has almost seventy members making for true international consensus.

Click the image below to see the playlist of videos from the London 2017 Summit

We continue to develop our close collaboration with OGC, during the year significant progress was made in formalising the operating basis for this important on-going activity and key representative from bSI and OGC attended each other’s summits.CEN and ISO –are important formal standards bodies both of which recognize the importance of our work. 

Operational developments to support the Standards Program include the introduction of on line voting for the Standards Committee, use of Share file for easy document sharing in the Summits and ‘on boarding’ booklet to explain the Standards Process.

We have expanded the management and administration team.

The buildingSMART Data Dictionary is entering a new era with a revised service offering, differentiating between the different needs, roles and disciplines in the community. We have established a close relationship with ETIM and are working to do the same with eCl@ss. The new service is prepared and launches early in 2018.

The development of both Product and Technical Strategy for buildingSMART Solutions and Standards is planned for 2018 as is the next generation of the Technical Website.

As well as rejuvenating the static content of the site, there will be a forum for contribution and discussion on all aspects of buildingSMART’s activities, including the bSDD, the International User Group and issues logging.

The deployment of our standards into tools is vitally important for end users and the contribution of the Implementers Support Group makes a major contribution to making this a reality.

L to R: Christophe Castaing, Ricardo Bittini, Ken Endo, Roger Grant

We also acknowledge the great work this year of the Standards Committee Executive (SCE) and Standards Committee Technical Executive (SCTE) in upholding and steering the Program, and also all our members and Chapter representatives who make up the Standards Committee. We are particularly grateful to the Room Leaders and their Steering Committees who do so much to progress the standards and solutions development.


2017 has been an important year for the developing Compliance program. On the Software Certification side we have launched our new certification platform and a number of Reference View Certifications are underway.

A consequence has been that the need for projects to define the specific Exchange Requirements is now more transparent and is required before robust certification can proceed.

This work is now in hand for the Design Transfer View although it is proving more complex that anticipated to determine. Certifications of the IFC 2x3 exchanges has continued demonstrating the continuing growth in IFC penetration.

In parallel with this work substantial and important work has been done to establish the Individual Qualification accreditation scheme. This is expected to become a role model for the development of further schemes in the future and the platform for the development of a People Certification scheme. The Individual Qualification Scheme is to be deployed country by country by our respective Chapter organisations. The Chapters expected to launch the Scheme in 2018 are; Norway, Canada, UK, Spain, Korea, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Nordic, Italy, Benelux, France and China.

Barcelona 2017