(Click on the images for a larger view)

Almost 400 people representing 38 countries and 225 companies gathered in Paris for a four day summit to deliver the vision of providing openBIM solutions and standards. This was buildingSMART International’s first Standards Summit of the year and, as always, was a forum for eight specialist domains to deliver dozens of building and infrastructure projects that are enabling an entire industry to change.

Plenary presentations by industry and academic representatives covered a spectrum of user and technical focused topics on Day 1. This opening set the stage for dialogue and topics covered in the eight individual specialist domains (known as Rooms) on Days 2 and 3, with the Railway Room as the Standards Program’s new addition. On Day 4, Room resolutions and Exhibition BIM World brought the conclusion.

The summit commenced with “International openBIM Day,” illuminating the organisation’s growth and strategic development, as well as the universal demand for refined requirements and interoperability through open standards. A call for submissions for the 2018 buildingSMART Awards was announced. This is to recognize projects using open digital solutions and standards. The 2018 submission period opened on March 26 and continues until July 31. The International Awards ceremony is scheduled for October 16, 2018 at the Tokyo Summit.

Chief Executive Richard Petrie welcomed attendees and introduced new members: China Communications Construction Company & Siemens (Strategic), Royal Haskoning DHV (International), and Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (Standard). The continued growth in membership is testament to the value driven work that buildingSMART is delivering and in 30 months, the Standards Committee has doubled in size as a result. The Standards Program continues to strengthen its governance and professionalization, with elections for the Building and Infrastructure Room Committees and Standards Committee Executive forthcoming. The Austrian Chapter launched in February and several other countries have expressed interest.

Moving forward, Petrie noted, strategic development must address financial sustainability (business), modernisation (technology), and user needs (product). We need to think about the services bSI should provide in the future, perhaps evolving beyond a standardisation organisation. This was the discussion in the summit’s General Room Standards Strategy session. How will our vision and mission lay new ground?

The summit’s founding session of the Railway Room introduced the Steering Committee and Winfried Stix as Chair. It also marked the official signing of the IFC Railway Consortium Agreement. Priorities now include the common data schema project and identification of definitions across the infrastructure domains (rail, road, bridge, etc.). BIM was touted as “the engine for digitisation in the railway domain.”

New Strategic member, CCCC (China Communications Construction Company) presented on the importance of open digital standards and embracing the “Silk Road spirit” of collaboration. The global company intends to engage bSI in the One Belt and One Road initiative, a massively complex infrastructure project—indeed, the scope includes 10320 km of road, 2080 km of railway, and 10 airports (Li Qian). CCCC aptly captured the significance of openBIM: “the digital revolution is inevitable and we need open standards to enable it."

The Infrastructure Room has a clear road map of activities with projects including Bridge, Road and Ports and Harbours. The popular Room publication called Infrastructure Asset Management, clearly lays out the support strategy for these outputs.

IFC Rebar and IFC Precast are two well supported initiatives in the Building Room and IDM Model Setup is going to the Standards Committee shortly to be endorsed as a bSI Final Standard. It is intended that proposal openBIM enabling DfMA & Lean will move into the Building Room governance. The Room Steering Committee is about to elect new members and we will be asking the community to put forward their nominations soon.

Since its inception in late 2016, the Airport Room has set an ambitious work plan. During this summit, the group refined their agenda to two work packages: identifying missing entities in IFC to submit to the ISG for the next update and refining a list of user requirements for a common data environment (CDE).

The Product Room will develop a roadmap to capture developments related to its primary focus: the buildingSMART Data Dictionary, IFC, and other open standards. As the scope of the Standards Programs Rooms grows, the bSDD (aka the integrating smart dictionary or dictionary of unambiguous terms) and IFC make a foray into domains such as bridges and rail. We all need to “speak the same language.”

To support professionals communicating in the same language around the world, the Professional Certification program launched in September 2017 and currently has eight Chapters engaged. The platform prototype is being tested, and a new website to host the tool will be available in April. The value of the program is in the training of a standardised knowledge base.

The theme repeated was that bSDD and Professional Certification help to resolve ambiguity across the industry and because openBIM is the way of the future, we need to be better at communicating its importance beyond our community. It’s recognized that it is not easy explaining complex topics to a non-technical audience. A layered approach to information relevance was shared.

Finally it was buildingSMART’s pleasure to be able to present Mrs. Liming Sheng, Chief Engineer, China Railway and Executive Vice President of China Railway BIM Alliance, with an award in recognition of her leadership of the application of openBIM technology in the industry. She pushed for the creation of CRBIM which now consists of 81 Chinese companies, all committed to digital ways of working for the railways.

More detailed news items about the buildingSMART activities will follow. We look forward to welcoming the community at the second international Standards Summit of the year in Tokyo, October 16 – 19.