Formal methods for specifying product model views: development of a national BIM standard & IFC semantics for model views
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Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Facilities Management (FM) involve domains that require a very diverse set of information and model exchanges to fully realize the potential of digital design and construction. Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) provides a large and redundant neutral and open schema to support interoperability. Model View Definitions (MVD) are needed to specify what subset of the IFC schema is appropriate for different exchanges. Exchange specifications are expensive to build, test and maintain. A "Guide for Development and Preparation of a National BIM Exchange Standard" capturing current best practice, was prepared and submitted to the buildingSMART organization by the research team. Based on the experience gained from development of the precast NBIM Standard, an analysis of IFC semantics for model exchanges, we have identified a set of weaknesses and issues retarding the short term and long term effectiveness of NBIMS, and offer a set of recommendations to improve information exchanges based on IFC. Also introduced is a new software engineering methodology based on object-oriented, shared, and reusable components and standards that are applicable to the AEC/FM industry for development of Semantic Exchange Modules (SEM). This SEM structure is based on engineering ontologies that help to develop more consistent MVDs. The outcome of this research, is an in initial testable SEM library for the domain of Precast/Prestressed Concrete Industry. When implemented by software developers, it can provide the mechanism for a semi-automated approach to model view development. Plans for testing and validation of SEMs with different export and import implementations are being carried out. This research is expected to significantly impact the overall interoperability of BIM applications.