buildingSMART alliance Specifiers' Properties Information Exchange (SPie) Meeting

Specifiers' Properties Information Exchange (SPie) Meeting

DECEMBER 9, 2009

Host: David McKay


This meeting demonstrated how product templates may be imported into design and specification software and then updated as products are selected for the project. The meeting described the process that may be used to create and deliver open standards across all building material, product, and equipment lines.


National Institue of Building Sciences (NIBS) Annual Meeting and AEC/EcoBuild Conference in Washington, DC.


The U.S. Army and NIBS funded this demonstration.


The following presentations were given at the meeting:

SPie Cook Book

The resources used for this project form a cook book that can be applied across all material, product and equipment domains. The recipe for the development of open product standards shown in the following steps. The example provided is that of light fixtures specified under Master Format (2004) Section 2651000, "Interior Lighting."

  • WBDG ProductGuide is the starting point for human-readable properties
  • IFC Model. Common Product Properties (for example)
  • IFC Model. Product Class Properties (for example)
  • IFC Model. Product Type Properties (for example)
  • Formatting IFC model data into ifcXML schema (for example, visit WBDG ProductGuide and search for "interior lighting")
  • Review and updating the schema by manufactures and their associations (see "interior lighting" example above)
  • Publication of the templates through the ProductGuide (see "interior lighting" example above)
  • Publication of manufacturer data by the manufacturer (see "interior lighting" example above)
  • Use of SPie data by software manufacturers (as demonstrated in the meeting)
  • Specification of SPie data within design and construction contracts (in progress)

Questions and Answers

Following the demonstration a panel of experts assisted in the evaluation of a number of important questions about the SPie project. Some of the more interesting questions and answers are listed below.

Who maintains the formats?

The content of the templates are managed by the manufacturers, through relevant trade or professional association. The templates must contain the minimum set of information required to provide a common framework for product discovery and selection. The format for the templates is maintained by the buildingSMART alliance through the ProductGuide.

How are manufacturer products distinguished?

In addition to the minimum property sets manufacturers may include a variety of other properties such as efficiency and sustainability properties, parts information, and supplier listings. This information does not require a change to the template schema because the schema only defines the minimum properties not any addition items of interest to specific manufacturers.

What information will be included in software?

Product template data will likely be included in CADD and BIM software to ensure that the designer knows the standard properties that they should consider when providing capacity and quality information to the specifier. Specifications software is likely to both template and access via the web to specific manufacturer open product data files. Contractors will have access to the information as part of their procurement software and existing electronic marketplaces. Owners receive SPie information at the conclusion of the project through the COBie2 format.

What is driving this project?

Many project stakeholders have been asking (some demanding) that building designs contain explicit properties about the objects in the building. To ensure that individual software vendors, large owners, or large manufactures do not begin to include proprietary requirements in open standard information exchanges, the SPie project was formed.

What are the next steps?

Now that the recipe for SPie has been created, NIBS is conducting an outreach effort that will result in a spring 2010 meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to allow a wide range of trade associations to engage with the project as quickly as possible. Our goal will be to have complete templates and product property data sets be available across the majority of building products by Dec 2010.

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