International Standards Summit, London

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International collaboration delivering digital built asset solutions

buildingSMART's latest international Standards Summit illustrated the dramatic growth in demand for digital solutions across all the sectors of the built environment.

The event was held at the prestigious Institute of Engineering and Technology in London and attended by 320 delegates from more than 30 countries. The participants were a dynamic mix of senior industrialists, technologists and other industry leaders. We were delighted to welcome senior representatives of our newest members, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and Royal Haskoning. Also welcome were buildingSMART Russia who were attending for the first time led by their Chair, Vyacheslav Alenkov . Of course our more established member and chapter community were there in force as always.

Also present were our partner organisations; ISO, CEN, OGC and ETIM as well other industry bodies, GS1, E-Class and NATO.

The Summit was a combination of presentations from some fantastic speakers, panel discussion and two days of workshops on specific projects across the breadth of our portfolio.

The gala dinner on the evening of the opening day featured the ceremony for our third international openBIM awards which showcased some of the best projects in the industry with an impressive take-up of our standards.

The Standards Program sister, the Compliance Program, also had a strong presence with the official launch of the new professional certification scheme and details of the software certification for IFC4.


Wenlong Ju, China Rail BIM Alliance (CRBIM) explained how 21,000 km of high speed railway have been laid in China in the last 8 years and by 2025 will reach 38,000 km. CRBIM has 72 members and together they have 8 BIM research bases, 2 national BIM qualification centres and 11 national laboratories.

HM UK Government was represented by Mark Bew who updated on the progress of the national initiative Digital Built Britain.

Mark explained the importance of the built environment’s impact on UK GDP and therefore the necessity to improve productivity in the sector.

Also focusing on the UK situation, Anne Kemp announced the merger of the UK BIM Alliance with the buildingSMART UK & Ireland Chapter. This is a very welcome development as it brings together the technical and the industry user community.

buildingSMART announced the launch of an improved level of service for our Data Dictionary. Siggi Wernik & Lars Fredenlund gave an overview of the vision.

They expressed the importance for information to stay with the product for the entire asset lifecycle and how the bSDD content quality management is being addressed.

We have recently employed Sigve Pettersen as bSDD Product Manager to deliver the service delivery.

Full speaker and workshop schedule

Standards Program

The program continues to mature in several ways and there is real project progress in all the sub domains of the Standards Program (which we call Rooms).  Notable is the emergence of industry user Rooms such as Airport, Construction, Regulatory and Rail. These are supported by the technically focused Building, Infrastructure and Product Rooms which are all expressing the approach of developing solutions to meet industry user needs for seamless requirements exchange throughout an assets life.

Standards Program Leaders panel discussion (l to r) Richard Kelly, Alex Worp, Christophe Castaing. Ricardo Bittini, Ken Endo, Roger Grant, Øivind Rooth, Mark Baldwin

The Infrastructure Room, has a very active program with working groups in five areas which will provide extensions to the openBIM model within the buildingSMART framework of standards development. Road, rail and bridge have completed their project proposals and will move forward to full development. The harbours & ports and tunnel project proposals are being developed and finalised. The Rail project is supported extensively by rail operators from China, Austria, France, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. The Rail project will have its own Room at future Summits to reflect the size of the activity.

The Building Room priorities are the development of new MVDs (model view definitions) in the areas of model set-up, quantity take-off, energy simulation and scheduling. There is also a working group being established to investigate reinforcing bar requirements exchange using digital workflows. This is being supported by several organisations, not least Laing O’Rourke who presented their approach specifying buildingSMART open standards on the new Hinckley Point C power station.

The Airport Room, launched in 2016, conducted interactive sessions with delegates to identify the most significant ‘pain points’ in the sector and see where buildingSMART solutions could offer the greatest benefits.

The Construction Room, which is developing its work program, saw promise in the Internet of Things for application in areas like the real-time tracking of construction equipment and supplies. Construction scheduling is also an early priority for the room.

The Product Room is working with member companies to continue development of the buildingSMART Data Dictionary. The interoperable exchange of information between different object libraries will prove hugely useful.

The Regulatory Room has published a report aimed at supporting Regulatory bodies with open digital standards. This is an important piece of work and is already generating much interest from the industry. Already there are two projects underway, intended to digitise systems of planning permission and automated building code checking.

The steering groups for buildingSMART Standards family development and openBIM enabling DfMA & Lean also continued their work.

‘The Summit demonstrated the importance of universal digital standards – the industry expect services to get better, more affordable and more sustainable’ said Richard Petrie. ‘Change is inevitable, and it is a question of lead, follow or be crushed.’

Chapter Representation

Compliance Program

Individual Qualification, the first part of the Professional Certification scheme, will help ensure that consistent, high-quality BIM education is available globally. The new scheme, launched at the Summit, provides a framework that local training organisations can adopt, along with a suite of tools. Country Chapters will manage the scheme and certify the trainers. Mark Baldwin from buildingSMART Switzerland, is leading this international program.

The Summit heard about the progress on software certification since the launch of Certification 3.0 in the summer. Building on the experience gained from certification to IFC2x3, the earlier version of IFC, the new certification to the reference view of IFC4 offers improvements in quality and scope. ‘Our software certification provides quality assurance of the vendor’s software interfaces and offers companies a valuable marketing tool,’ says Rasso Steinmann, buildingSMART Germany and leader of the software certification program.

Strategy & Board

Strategy development is at the heart of our organisation and the Board of Directors and Strategic Advisory Council appreciate the opportunity to hold their regular meeing during the event.

International openBIM Awards

buildingSMART standards are becoming central to the way industry operates and the high quality of the awards submissions illustrates this. The openBIM awards were made in four categories: design, construction, O&M and student.

International Friendship Club

As always the Summit was a great opportunity to meet old friends and make new acquaintances. 

The buildingSMART community is an eclectic mix of talent from the complete span of the built environment disciplines, who come together in a neutral forum, to create solutions that will solve problems that are common to all nations. 

Richard Petrie used his opening address to emphasise the values of buildingSMART; collaboration, respect & friendship.

We were grateful to the volunteer support from the University of Middlesex post graduate BIM Management course.

The delegates appreciated being looked after by fellow professionals.

Out next Summit is being held in Paris, March 26 - 29 2018. For details of this and future Summits please follow this link.

More news stories and videos about the Rooms’ projects and other activities will be posted in due course

If you would like to find out more about any of the activities of buildingSMART please email us at or follow us on any of our digital media links below.