Infotech, a leader in infrastructure construction software solutions, has announced that the company joined buildingSMART USA to support the advancement of digital project delivery and open data standards for civil infrastructure. As a member, Infotech will contribute to the development and use of open data standards as well as the adoption of digital transformation in the infrastructure construction industry.
buildingSMART is the international authority for the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) standard, which is an open standard for interoperable file transfers through different software platforms for design, construction and fabrication. buildingSMART USA (bS-USA) is the United States chapter focused on proactively facilitating the active use and dissemination of open data standards for civil infrastructure.
“Knowledge sharing of construction project data is a critical step across all phases of a project from concepts and planning to asset management,” Chad Schafer, Infotech Vice President of Revenue, said. “But this exchange of data only works right now if the software all project stakeholders use is the same or from a single vendor – and even then, it may not work well. Shifting to open data standards moves our industry away from being locked into proprietary data standards that do not support a full adoption of digital project delivery.”
In 2021, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) officially endorsed the use of IFC file formats as the standard data schema. This support and adoption by AASHTO created an opportunity for major progress toward interoperability and the data exchange standard for Building Information Modeling (BIM) across state transportation agencies. As the official contractor for AASHTOWare Project™, and as a new member of bS-USA, Infotech will focus on supporting the foundational needs for the industry to fully adopt open data standards at both the state and local levels.
“The transportation industry is quickly adopting 3D modeling in the design and construction phases, and some agencies are even supporting the 3D model as the legal document, but quantity takeoffs, bidding, and solicitation are still dependent on 2D PDFs or paper plans,” Ron Gant, Infotech Sr. Business Consultant for BIM and Digital Delivery, explained. “This results in redundant or error prone processes, so supporting data standards like buildingSmart’s IFC data exchange for efficient transport of the design model to all phases of the project helps provide a true digital delivery throughout the full project life cycle.”
Infotech is taking steps to incorporate openBIM in its owned products. Infotech is currently developing an agnostic BIM Viewer with IFC in the Bid Express® service at Bidx.com®, which is the most widely-adopted online bidding software for Departments of Transportation, used by 44 state agencies. Still in the research and development phase, Infotech is developing an option to incorporate an IFC file with a solicitation to incorporate a 3D model as the legal document in Bidx.com. Once finalized, Infotech will pilot this with a champion agency to gather feedback from an agency and contractors.
“IFC for infrastructure is not going to be a fast-paced change in our industry,” Schafer added. “During this process, Infotech is proud to be a contributor to the necessary shift for civil infrastructure and help drive adoption for a common data standard as we work to create significant strides toward full digital project delivery.”