buildingSMART alliance Building Programming information exchange (BPie) Project

Building Programming information exchange (BPie)

ORGANIZATION: Stattsbygg/USACE/OBO/bS alliance/bS Norway

Bill East
(217) 373-6710


In many public facility acquisitions an architectural program is required to be created to justify the request for the funds to design and build the facility. As the project progresses changes in mission and tenants may pressure the management team to deviate from the original architectural program without returning to the needed funding body for re-approval and needed additional funding. This pressure to expand scope, while keeping funding constant, can result in completed buildings that cannot function as originally envisioned.

There have been several buildingSMART and related projects aimed at the capture of architectural programming information to support both the architectural programming effort, delivery of standard Request for Proposal documents to more clearly communicate owners' requirements, and to perform the automated assessment of spatial compliance of later design documents.  These projects include the Portfolio and Asset management – Performance Requirements (PAMPeR), International Alliance for Interoperability's AR-5 Project, the buildingSMART international Room Data Sheet 'aquarium' project, the United States General Services Administration project, the buildingSMART alliance Spatial Compliance information exchange (SCie, pronounced 'ski') project, and a new Norwegian effort whose aims are similar to the projects above.  While each of these projects project have explored some aspects of the contracted information exchanges needed to create an open standard for architectural programming, none of these projects have achieved a critical mass to be recognized as national standards and be widely implemented internationally.

Of critical concern to those attempting to use contracted information exchanges is the need to repeat the results of testing conducted under controlled conditions.  This requires the precise specification of both data format and content constraints.  In addition, common test models must be used in the context of automated testing programs.  Finally, software companies shall be required to provide native versions of test models, configuration guides, and usage instructions to ensure repeatability by those not directly participating in these efforts. 


  1. Develop a consolidated international specification for the contracted delivery of architectural programming information by the evaluation and consolidation of previous project results.
  2. Create the necessary verification tools and models to ensure repeatability of the results of commercial software testing in project-specific contexts.


  1. Prepare an Information Delivery Manual and Model View Definition specification to document the consolidated requirements.
  2. MVD documentation shall be based on the recently approved format that requires the explicit specification of business model constraints.
  3. Mappings to building-specific lightweight formats such as COBie shall be created to support human understanding and lightweight system integration efforts.
  4. Starting with the current requirements identified in the IDM, documentation shall confirm the requirements identified in this project and identify alternative mappings used on previous MVD projects.
  5. Standard building model test cases shall be developed based on two (2) existing models (duplex and clinic) provided by the buildingSMART alliance.
    • Duplex example complete May 2012
    • Clinic example complete July 2012
  6. A freely downloadable model server, based on the open source, shall include COBie transformations and model checking compliance with the required format.
  7. Software companies shall be engaged thru an open 'Challenge' process to demonstrate their ability to create correct building information, in the correct format.
  8. Challenge results shall be published in a format similar to that of the COBie Means and Methods web site.
  9. The above process shall be compiled in a document consistent with IFC 4.
  10. The above process shall be compiled in a document consistent with the National BIM Standard – United States Ballot Process and submitted in the appropriate round of the NBIMS-US.

Subject to the following constraints:

  1. Information from previous projects shall be used, where readily available. Information not publically available shall be noted in the final ballot submission.
  2. The Industry Foundation Class SPFF format shall be used as the basis for this specification any other formats such is ifcXML and COBie shall be provided.



The following allocation of responsibilities is suggested, following approval of approach by buildingSMART Scandinavia and buildingSMART alliance, provides a detailed resource schedule that can be developed for each of the respective organizations.

  1. Initial IDM/MVD Documentation (buildingSMART Norway) (01 Jan 2012)
  2. Reviewed IDM/MVD Documentation (buildingSMART Norway) (15 March 2012)
    • Comparison with all past IAI/buildingSMART projects and consideration of US Unified Facilities Criteria and GSA Spatial Programing guide
    • Identification and Resolution of Semantic issues 
    • Requirements Analysis
    • Exchange Requirements


The review of IDM/MVD Documentation and comparison with past projects and feedback is completed, and adjustments to the ER/MVD documentation have been made.

Note: Owners/clients often uses a set of room templates in their projects. To capture this need for reusing room requirements across projects, the IfcSpaceType object has been implemented in the BPie specification. 

The following specifications and resources have been produced and published one the buildingSMART alliance COBie web site:

For implementation guidance/resources a BPie file for the Duplex project, including:

  • A COBie specification of the Duplex project
  • A responsibility matrix with ifc 2x3 and ifc4 binding
  • An ifc file of the duplex with a relevant set of requirement assigned (to 'Kitchen' and 'Bathroom' space objects)

IDM/MVD Documentation


Final documents for Jan 2013 bSa Challenge event now posted:

Yet to Do

  1. Vendors to submit sample files for quality control testing
  2. January 2013 buildingSMART alliance Challenge (buildingSMART alliance)
  3. BPie Means and Methods web site. (buildingSMART alliance)
  4. IFC 4 Documentation. (buildingSMART Norway) similar to (buildingSMART alliance) 
  5. NBIMS-US Ballot. Compilation of previous documents. (buildingSMART alliance)

Additional Resources


Creative Commons License
Building Programming information exchange by buildingSMART alliance is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

References to this work should be in the form of: Jerving, Rolf, East, E. William (2012) " Building Programming information exchange (BPie)," buildingSMART alliance, National Institute of building Sciences, Washington, DC. (cited DD-MMM-YYYY).

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