The buildingSMART Data Dictionary

By Mark Baldwin 3 years ago
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BIM supports collaboration and communication through shared information. It’s easy to recognise the value of a shared 3D model to visualise and resolve complex design issues. But BIM is not just about geometry. When we start to get into the heart of the matter, that is the information behind the geometry, things can get a little more complicated.

To start with, we need to be very specific about how we name and identify objects and object properties.

Different disciplines often use different terms to describe the same thing. What an architect may call “insulation factor”, a building services engineer may call “U-value”. While a product manufacturer may refer to ‘thermal conductivity’. We generally understand these concepts to refer to the same thing, however in BIM we need to much more specific.

The main value of BIM is to be able to quickly and reliably search, filter and analyse project information. But when half the objects don’t appear in our search, because they weren’t named properly, this can be pretty frustrating.
BIM guidelines and object naming conventions help solve some of these issues.

That is a good start, but there is a smarter way to work.
buildingSMART has developed the Data Dictionary; an online tool to map synonyms and multiple language translations. It’s sort of like the GoogleTranslate for BIM.

This is a tool that works in the background, behind the applications that we use day-to-day. It means, for example, that I can work in my modelling software in English, while someone else can view and use my model in Polish.

So how can you access the buildingSMART Data Dictionary?
It’s quite a new development and at the moment there are only a few tools that have the Data Dictionary implemented, but the community is growing fast. You can find more information on the link below.

The data dictionary is a really good example of how buildingSMART is making standards usable. Breaking down communication barriers and making our work that much easier.


Further Resources:

  BIM Object Data

 Mark Baldwin

  (12 articles)

Australian architect and BIM-specialist. I am drawn to the simple, the pragmatic and the innovative. BIM - the digitalisation of our construction industry - must be all of these things.