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AIA Board of Directors approves Statement on Interoperability

The AIA Board of Directors approve a statement on BIM/CAD Interoperability. New policy statement directs member architects to care about the development of open standards and waste due to incompatibility.


The BuildingSMART Alliance website has a news item on the AIA recent document, “Directory of Public Policies and Position Statements.” In the paper the AIA Board of Directors approved a statement on BIM interoperability. It reads in part:

Position Statement 31. Interoperability

“The AIA believes that all industry-supporting software must facilitate, not inhibit, project planning, design, construction, commissioning and life-cycle management. This software must support non-proprietary, open standards for auditable information exchange and allow for the confident information exchange across applications and across time. This is best accomplished through professional, public- and private sector adoption of open standards. The AIA encourages its members and other industry organizations to assume a leadership role in the ongoing development of open standards. ”

The AIA (American Institute of Architects) further notes, “We offer this as a challenge to other associations to take a similar position or to endorse the AIA’s statement.”

Why should AIA Architects Care?

The AIA is motivated to get the industry to understand the measurable loss of time and expense due to incompatible, proprietary file formats in CAD and BIM. “Overall productivity loss and fragmentation in the capital facilities development industries is no longer tolerable. Architects need to practice the best way they know, and practice profitably; software interoperability problems must not hold them back. Potential of loss of competition in the software market is not acceptable.”

Without software interoperability the AIA further states several problems the AEC industry, owners and architects in particular will face due to lack of interoperability. Some of these include:

  • Waste in time, materials, energy and money will increase;
  • AEC and owner productivity will continue to decline as data re-entry, document versioning and checking, and other workflow problems increase;
  • Collaborative delivery models such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) will not deliver the benefits the profession anticipates;
  • Architects may not be able to access files in the future without fear of loss of data or loss of whole file;
  • Lack of competition may yield fewer affordable software solutions necesssary to support architects’ business practices;
  • New software concepts, tools and opportunities may be marginalized if dominant software companies release interoperability features following their own agendas

The complete position statement is available in PDF here.

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