“IFC Rail” – The International Standard Progress Report

In 2018, buildingSMART International supported the proposal and initiation of the single largest project in its history. The “IFC Rail” project was initiated at the buildingSMART International Standards Summit in Paris, April 2018 with a signed agreement across all contributing parties. This also gave formation to the "Railway Room" which was established as the environment for developing the project. This room has successfully coordinated this complex project and developed a more collaborative process for all team members. The team has delivered significant achievements during a short timeframe, promoting innovation and agility throughout. In March 2019, the team successfully presented the progress at the bSI Standards Summit in Düsseldorf. At the summit, the team presented the first showing for the conceptual model of the track. bSI Chairman Patrick MacLeamy commented, "This is the most spectacular project we currently have in buildingSMART."

This project team consists of around 150 contributors from 7 countries, working in 5 domains to define the railway model as part of the international standard. Teams are divided into organizational units, with leaders from China and Europe representing the global nature of the project. From the initial signing, the contributors moved the project to a candidate standard with a mandate to deliver the project within 19 months. The progress of the room has been exceptional, ensuring the project has been carefully managed and delivery is at the forefront for all project participants. There is a strong belief that this project will change the way railway assets are designed and operated in an age of the high-speed trains. By enabling better digital ways of working, the mission for the entire team is to develop a truly open and international standard for the whole rail industry.

All teams had to work to detailed plans to ensure delivery. By following a rigorous process, teams worked off the same deliverables and knew project timetables. The figure below shows the Data Requirements sheet for the track domain.

From the Data Requirements sheet, teams were able to define the conceptual model that was presented in March 2019 at the International Standards Summit. Some of the challenges included defining properties and characteristics. Language barriers also had to be overcome, with many spoken and written differences. Teams had to find the best method for managing and improving communication. buildingSMART provides the ideal environment for global collaboration, and team members benefitted from the community. By improving collaboration and communication, teams developed a better approach to consensus finding, and approvals are greatly improved with no reported challenges during the review phase.

New Spatial Structure

The teams further develop a new spatial structure for the project. The actual proposed spatial structure for the railway is broken down into Substructure, Track structure, and Superstructure, as seen in the diagram below.

In Düsseldorf Summit the project was presented as a sample “IFC Rail Data in Pilot Mode”. This has been the first version of a Proof of Concept (PoC) presented live by the entire project team. Below you can find some of the images used in the presentation.


Workplan for Key deliverables before Beijing Summit

Having reached the milestone in Dusseldorf, the team now aims to deliver at the next International Standards Summit in Beijing in October 2019. The Workplan of the IFC-Rail Project plans to have the 1st Candidate Standard ready for Beijing.

The team currently has two teams focusing on the deliverables in order to meet this objective. These teams consist of a requirement core team (Bahamas) and the modeling core team (Bermudas). Both teams work closely to ensure delivery against objectives are met.

In April, a “Conceptual Model Workshop 1” was held in Zurich, Switzerland followed by another event in Rome, Italy called “Conceptual Model Workshop 2”. The core modelling team reviewed each domain’s work, proposed new spatial structure and integrated UML conceptual model. Overall, to complete a candidate IFC Rail Standard by the time of the Beijing Summit, the teams developed a detailed workplan of the deliverables and organized a new “Core Requirement Analysis Team” in addition to the other teams.

Further progress reports will be announced over the coming months.