Investigating the Current State of Industry Foundation Classes in the Construction Industry
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IInteroperability is of high significance in the U.S. construction industry because most construction projects demand multi-disciplinary team efforts that combine inputs from several stakeholders throughout the building life cycle. Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), a standardized and structured data model for Building Information Modeling (BIM), has emerged as a neutral platform to solve the existing inadequate interoperability issues among the project participants. Lately, IFC has grown tremendously and more than 180 software applications currently provide IFC compatible data import and export capabilities. It has been expected that IFC would solve the interoperability problems among various processes, but the reality is not known yet. This study aims to investigate the current state of IFC in terms of its adoption and non-adoption reasons, its use in the project life cycle, industry’s evaluation of the IFC’s maturity as well as the way general contractors are tackling the non-interoperability problems. To achieve the desired objective, structured interviews with industry experts were conducted to collect the industry’s perspective on IFC, and their opinions were further analyzed. The results show that, despite advancements in the Industry Foundation Classes schema, Architectural Engineering and Construction (AEC) firms are still facing several challenges while implementing IFC in project delivery systems. Nevertheless, some general contractors acknowledged that the ability to exchange the Building Information Models among the project participants enhanced their collaboration among stakeholders. These research findings are intended to offer the AEC industry with a clearer picture of IFC’s opportunities and challenges and to help the IFC development community and software vendors identify the major obstacles in IFC’s adoption by the AEC industry.
Singh, Sachin Kumar (2016). Investigating the Current State of Industry Foundation Classes in the Construction Industry. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from