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Open standards, tools, services and 100% openBIM workflow

openBIM standards: Michelangelo Cianciulli (ACCA software) presents ACCA’s technology advancements in openBIM workflows to Léon Van Berlo (buildingSMART International)

During the visit of the buildingSMART International’s top management delegation at the ACCA headquarters, Michelangelo Cianciulli, one of the world’s leading experts on openBIM, presented the bSI Technical Director Léon Van Berlo with some examples of the application of ACCA software’s technology in openBIM workflows.

It was an opportunity for both to highlight how the use of open standards, tools and services can lead to 100% openBIM workflows, with huge benefits for stakeholders.

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Thanks to the standards and a 100% openBIM workflow, it’s possible to extend the breadth and depth of use of BIM, creating an alignment and a common language adhering to international standards and commonly defined work processes.

Technical applications, tools and services developed for openBIM improve data management and eliminate disconnected workflows.

What are openBIM standards?

openBIM standards are common open data standards: neutral and open rules, not controlled by individual suppliers, that aim to promote interoperability between the disciplines of the construction sector and between the stakeholders of a specific service, process or product to improve collaboration and sharing.

What are the main openBIM standards?

openBIM standards

openBIM standard


We can classify the main openBIM standards in:

  • Data Standards
  • Workflow Standard
  • OpenBIM Services

The real objective of these standards is to improve and standardise the communication processes between all stakeholders.

Data Standard

The complexity of modern construction projects requires the use of open standards.

A single project can involve hundreds of stakeholders, from the architect to the company, each of whom must contribute and access data. Needless to say, if that data cannot be easily exchanged or reused during the life cycle of the project, there could be considerable confusion with consequential waste of time and money.

Open standards make it easier and more efficient to communicate using data exchange formats such as IFC.

The following belong to the Data Standard:

  • IFC (Industry Foundation Classes), which allows you to catalogue the data that make up an information
  • MVD (Model View Definition), which defines which of these datasets need to be exchanged during a communication process and represents a property filter for an IFC file.

Workflow Standard

Integrated design is based on the coexistence of different disciplines and therefore specific models made by different professionals. There may be errors in transmitting the model, and those responsible must be told to resolve them.

It is therefore necessary to define process standards, a set of specifications that indicate the minimum information necessary to achieve all the processes of the entire life cycle of the building. The aim is to increase the effectiveness of communication between the different stakeholders.

The standard workflows include:

  • BCF (BIM Collaboration Format), which was created to streamline communications and allow the exchange of feedback between professionals
  • IDM (Information Delivery Manual), which allows you to standardize the exchange processes between professionalsi
  • IDS (Information Delivery Specification), which defines Exchange Requirements within an exchange of information based on the use of a BIM model (IDS BIM).

OpenBIM Services

Among the openBIM services we have bSDD (buildingSMART Data Dictionary), an online bSI service created to map technical data in a standard way.

In fact, beyond a certain level of detail, it becomes impossible to standardize entities: it is the detail where IFC stops, and where the generic libraries of any software stop too.

The bSDD was created to help users bridge the gap between the generic library implemented in the software and the more specific dictionaries and classification systems that are required to enrich the semantics of a data set in a specific context/project. This is a library of classes, properties, relationships, and units.

The bSDD is an “API-first” service. End users can access it through software tools that have implemented the bSDD API.

In this regard, it’s also worth mentioning the OpenCDE APIs, the bSI project that aims to improve interoperability within the AEC software ecosystem through closely linked and domain-specific APIs.

What are the advantages of openBIM standards?

Interoperable, open and international standards for BIM that transcend traditional design and construction phases to enable a complete digital environment for the entire project and resource lifecycle offer substantial benefits.

We can summarize the main advantages guaranteed by the standard openBIM in:

  • more transparent, collaborative and open workflows
  • greater certainty of information thanks to a shared vocabulary of sector terms
  • more open procurement processes
  • inclusive processes for large and small enterprises
  • greater reuse of data
  • easier integration with linked data created and shared in related industries.

In order for the resulting benefits to be shared, standards must be developed collectively by the main stakeholders.

To work with open file formats and only with openBIM standards, to communicate freely with others and manage data regardless of the software you use, you need to choose an openBIM platform.

Choose the only CDE platform with IFC certification by buildingSMART International. Use an openBIM platform for free now.

Video Interview

The BIM Extender: open standards, tools and services for 100% openBIM workflows – Michelangelo explains more about ACCA’s technology to Léon.