Created to spearhead technical, political, and financial support for advanced digital technology in the real property industry—from concept, design and construction through operations and management—the buildingSMART alliance operates within the independent nonprofit National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). This public/private initiative expands on goals of the North American Chapter of the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI-NA), whose Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs) have initiated open standards for national and international links among industry players. It provides developers and users of Building Information Models (BIMs), the digital tools that are increasingly helping to share highly accurate information throughout a facility’s life cycle.
In contrast with centuries-old ways of documenting facilities with two-dimensional drawings plus specifications—a process recently automated with Computer Aided Design (CAD)—new digital technology brings together owners, operators, designers, constructors, regulators and other stakeholders around a single Building Information Model (BIM), a unified tool that offers unprecedented accuracy, speed and economy. The closely related concept of open standards that let all users communicate quickly and efficiently, nationally and internationally, led to the creation of the International Alliance for Interoperability and the coinage “buildingSMART.”