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BIM News: buildingSMART and ODA Announce Strategic Partnership

The Open Design Alliance and buildingSMART International form strategic partnership on interoperability standards for BIM technologies.


Architosh is in attendance today at Open Design Alliance’s international developer conference, in Milan, Italy. The headline announcement is the new partnership between buildingSMART International and the ODA, with the goal of strengthening open standards-based interoperability throughout the building and infrastructure value chain and lifecycle, and the broader application of digital product information.

New Strategic Partnership for BIM

bSI (buildingSMART International) is a recognized world leader in developing core data interoperability standards, with missions to create open standards for data interoperability, compliance programs, and support to software developers in implementing those standards. The bSI acknowledges that despite strong success and support throughout the global building industry, it relies heavily on software developers in the market to provide technologies to support its open standards. There can exist delays between standards creation and implementation. A key goal of this new partnership is to address this issue.

Jeffrey Ouellette on stage at the ODA conference in Milan, talking about buildingSMART International and the ODA’s new strategic partnership.

The ODA (Open Design Alliance) is a not-for-profit technology consortium that supports open data standards by developing interoperability SDKs (software development kits) for popular file formats such as (.dwg), (.dgn) and various BIM formats such as bSI-backed IFC. The ODA has a strong and talented software development team, with more than 20 years of experience in the industry.

ODA software is used by more than 1000 companies worldwide, and its solutions are recognized as standard industry technology.

The focus of bSI on standards creation, and of ODA on standards implementation forms a natural synergy. The partnership between bSI and ODA is intended to develop and strengthen this synergy to the benefit of both organizations, and to the broader community.

Partnership Step One—New IFC SDK

As this new partnership gets kicked off, the first step is the ODA has implemented a new IFC SDK that fully supports IFC 2×3 and 4 standards from bSI. IFC SDK supports full data access and creation and also includes a professional-grade visualization engine for desktop, mobile, and the web.

“Aligning our efforts with the development experience of ODA will tighten the release cycle for future IFC versions,” commented Richard Petrie, CEO of buildingSMART International.  “ODA will provide a professional implementation for early drafts of new IFC releases. This will give us critical feedback from real users much more quickly than we’ve had in the past.”

“A significant number of ODA members have been requesting IFC support,” commented Neil Peterson, President of Open Design Alliance.  “Working with buildingSMART on IFC and other BIM technologies gives us a unique opportunity to serve a broader community, while at the same time meeting the needs of our members.”

Next Steps

The professional development resources of ODA will open up other areas of advancement for bSI initiatives. Future plans include streamlining the compliance process, and development of a high-level IFC API to facilitate easier and more accurate integration of IFC support into applications.

Architosh will be publishing more information from the ODA’s conference in Milan. Stay tuned.

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