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buildingSMART alliance Information Exchange Projects

Information Exchange Projects

by Bill East, PhD, PE, F.ASCE – Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers

How to Use This Page

This page answers the following questions:

What "ie" projects are currently underway at the buildingSMART alliance?

What is an information exchange ("ie") project?

Why are there multiple "ie" projects?

What is included in an "ie" project?

How can you participate in these consensus projects?


Since the publication of information on these projects may lag behind progress on the projects, contact the indicated point of contact for the most current status.

Project Status

BIM Service interface exchange (BIMSie)

Pending NBIMS Submission

Building Automation Modeling information exchange (BAMie)

Pending NBIMS Submission

Building Programming information exchange (BPie)

Submitted to NBIMS-US V3

Construction-Operations Building information exchange (COBie)

NBIMS-US V2, Updated for NBIMS-US V3

Electrical System information exchange (Sparkie)

Submitted to NBIMS-US V3

HVAC information exchange (HVACie)

Submitted to NBIMS-US V3

Life Cycle information exchange (LCie): BIM for PLM

Submitted to NBIMS-US V3 as COBie Appendix

Quantity Takeoff information exchange (QTie)

Under Development

Specifiers' Properties information exchange (SPie)

Under Development

Wall information exchange (WALLie)

Under Development

Water System information exchange (WSie)

Submitted to NBIMS-US V3

See also: CMMS/CAFM Topical Interest Committee (CCTC)


An information exchange project supports the development, adoption, and management of standards developed through the buildingSMART alliance process. The goal of an information exchange project is to simplify and streamline planning, design, construction, and operations processes using the United States National Building Information Model Standard (NBIMS-US).

Technical Specifications

Information exchange projects have, at their heart, a consensus-based, technical specification. That technical specification consists of a statement of requirements and the resulting technical specification.

The requirements are defined in an "Information Delivery Manual." The IDM clearly defines the problem to be solved and makes clear who is involved, what information is needed, and when that information is needed. These requirements are translated into a "Model View Definition" that provides the technical description of which parts of the Industry Foundation Class Model (IFC) found in ISO 16739 are needed to solve the problem.

Given that there are many problems whose solutions require standardizing information, there will be many IDM's and MVD's. Because these specifications are all based on the same underlying ISO standard much of the information may be shared. Capturing, reusing, and augmenting this common information during the project life-cycle is the industry transformation envisioned by the buildingSMART alliance.

Industry Transformations

Defining a technical standard will not result in anyone actually using that standard. Industry transformation is a "hands-on" activity that requiring the consideration of contracts, industry structural constraints, and change management processes. As a result a buildingSMART alliance information exchange must include, but not be limited to, the following content:

  • Citations for Previous Published, Related Work
  • Citations for Related and Reference Standards
  • Terms and Definitions
  • Business Process Models
  • Exchange Requirement Definitions
  • Model View Definition
  • Conformance Testing Procedures
  • Example Models
  • Compliance Testing Tools
  • Schema Transformation Rules and Tools
  • Software Compliance Testing Results
  • Cost/Benefit Analysis
  • Version Control and Change Logs
  • Training and Social Media Outlets

IE Project Roadmap

Successful project mangers know that "starting with the end in mind" is a key to success. One of the major ending milestones for "ie" projects is the adoption of their work as part of the United States National Building Information Modeling (NBIMS-US) standard. The NBIMS-US V3 information exchange ballot submission form can be the roadmap for any "ie" project. In addition to providing a concise outline for the list of requirements for industry transformation, the form also provides a description of each required topic, the reason why each sections was included, and the rubric used to evaluate the submission.


The buildingSMART alliance provides an open-standard, consensus-based path to solving our interoperability problems. To participate in an existing project simply contact the point of contact identified on that project page. Existing projects that are already part of NBIMS-US are required to have a change management process so your voice may be heard.

If the project you need isn't in the list above, you can start your own project by joining the buildingSMART alliance. The participation of subject matter experts, associations, and appropriate stakeholders is the key to a successful "ie" project. Establishing a team that is representative of the stakeholders needed to solve the problem is the first task.

Depending on the expertise of the group, the buildingSMART alliance may provide a facilitator to document the needed information exchanges and detailed business rule requirements. The development of the technical model view definition is a technical matter, that may be completed through the buildingSMART alliance, once the detailed requirements are defined and quantified by the subject matter expert team.

In parallel with the development of the technical specification the team should begin implementation by working with related commercial-off-the-shelf software systems participating in the project. Additional documentation for the "ie" projects, as noted above should also be developed as the project progresses. Once the team feels that a critical mass of information has been developed, the team may submit their information exchange project for consideration by NBIMS-US.

Additional Resources

Why Open BIM Standards? A YouTube video.

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