BIM: Towards smooth planning of smart buildings – ECLASS and buildingSMART cooperate

Energy-efficient, automated and controllable at the click of a mouse: smart buildings are in vogue. However, the digital networking of modern buildings presents electrical engineers and architects with completely new challenges. There are still no standards for Building Information Modelling (BIM) that enable the smooth interaction of digital systems. We want to change that! 

Reduced energy consumption, networked appliances, maximum living comfort. What sounds so tempting in theory is an extremely complex undertaking in practice. The problem: there are no open standards for the exchange of product data. This makes life difficult for planners and the end-to-end automation of smart buildings remains a pipe dream in many places.

AmpereSoft has been involved in establishing the open product data standard ECLASS for several years. Thanks to the cooperation between the standardisation organisation ECLASS e. V. and buildingSMART International, this work also contributes to the further development of Building Information Modelling (BIM). The aim of the joint efforts of the two organisations is to establish standards for BIM. This should enable specialised players to optimise the joint modelling of buildings and thus minimise frictional losses during planning and implementation. Only in this way can the goal of exploiting the full potential of building automation be achieved.

The optimisation of the BIM process leads to a holistic planning method from which construction projects of all kinds can benefit. If, for example, architects and engineers “speak the same language” in their project designs – i.e. use the same standard – the respective plans can be easily linked. For example, an architect’s 3D visualisations flow together with the electrical engineer’s project designs without media discontinuity. In this way, the architecture and electronic networking of a planned building are created from a single source.

ECLASS structure optimally suited for BIM

The industry-wide and internationally norm-compliant data standard ECLASS enables the necessary classification and clear description of products and services. The underlying data structures, in which all data of a product are mapped from the top product category to individual technical feature descriptions, are perfectly suited for use in BIM. Several thousand companies worldwide already use the data standard to classify and describe their products and services.

In order to map the complex requirements in the planning of large residential buildings and functional buildings in the data structures in Building Information Modelling, a BIM task force for the construction industry was established at ECLASS. Leading companies from the construction industry pool their expertise here to further advance the open standard

AmpereSoft’s commitment goes beyond its involvement in ECLASS. We are also part of the research project “ServiceFlow” of the Chair of Technical Information Systems at the TU Dresden. The interdisciplinary research team consisting of representatives from the university and industry is working on a service platform that seamlessly integrates highly specialised tools from different players as well as third-party providers into the entire service and value chain around the smart building.