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IDS (Information Delivery Specification)

What is IDS (Information Delivery Specification) and what is it used for?

IDS (Information Delivery Specification), the new buildingSMART standard to better manage information exchange in Building Information Modelling (BIM)

What is IDS?

An IDS BIM (Information Delivery Specification) is a document that defines the Information Requirements (or Exchange Requirements) within a BIM model-based information exchange.

The main characteristic of an IDS document is that it is written so as to be machine readable.

In addition, this document determines how BIM model objects, classifications, properties and even values and units of measurement are to be delivered and exchanged.

What is IDS (Information Delivery Specificiation)?


What is IDS used for?

Information Delivery Specification (IDS) can be very useful to correctly define the information requirement levels (LOIN) in employer’s information requirements (EIR) and BIM execution plans (BEP).

The new IDS standard from buildingSMART therefore solves one of the most important aspects for correctly setting up a BIM project: the need for clients to have models in line with the objectives for which they are requested.

The characteristics of the information that should be exchanged during the building asset’s life cycle are contained within standards that provide guidelines for information specification needs and that are applicable to any built asset’s life cycle stages including:

  • strategic planning;
  • initial design;
  • engineering;
  • development;
  • documentation and construction;
  • daily operation;
  • maintenance;
  • renovation;
  • restoration;
  • end of life (EOL).

In fact, IDS was created to respond to the need to define and optimise the management of dynamic and complex information requirements such as those described above.

IDS as a predictable and reliable data exchange solution

An IDS document specifications can be the result of a combination of concepts present within:

  • IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) standard: a data model aimed at describing building and construction industry data. It is a neutral and open file format that is not controlled by a single supplier or group of suppliers
  • additional classifications and properties derived from national or company-specific agreements.

Moreover, IDS is the standard to be used to define the Level of Information Needs (LOIN) and allows for optimised validation of IFC models by the client, the modeller and the BIM based software that implements it. In fact, considering the same data structure, software solutions have the possibility to conduct automatic analyses.

In details, IDS can be seen as a contract’s central element to get the correct information required.

The current openBIM workflow for Exchange Requirement management without the use of IDS

The current workflow involves the following steps:

  • the client creates its own Exchange Requirement, returning a document attached to the Information Specifications as output;
  • the document is used by the supply team as a guide;
  • the modeller must translate the concepts entered into the software solution used;
  • the model produced is transferred to the client who validates its content with respect to the Exchange Requirement.

Such a fragmented workflow obviously increases the possibility of errors and misunderstandings and produces results that are not always certain and precise and in any case implies great waste of time.

The advantages of applying technology solutions based on the IDS standard

The adoption of the IDS standard, on the contrary, allows you to access services and software solutions that are designed to manage the creation, enhancement and validation of the information expected within the information specifications and BEPs.

Diagram showing the openBIM workflow with IFC and IDS

openBIM workflow with IFC and IDS

All stakeholders involved in the process have the possibility to work quickly and reliably on a standardised and well described data structure.

The client:

  • generates his own information specifications in a way that can be understood by operators and software solutions;
  • enriches its Exchange Requirement with all the useful information to facilitate the understanding of his request;
  • will deliver an output that can already be related to the IFC model.

The modeller/designer:

  • automatically creates the information structure deriving it from the order specifications, already correctly related to the IFC model;
  • is guided in data input and avoids form or relation errors.

The validator:

  • has immediate feedback on the quality of the deliverables thanks to the possibility of automatic comparison between the requirements requested in the assigned IDS and those received in the delivery IDS.

The entire supply chain can relate to a single standardised template and focus on the project content without having to worry about understanding form and quality of the expected deliverables.