ITcon Vol. 2, pg. 32-55,

ISO DIS 13567 - The Proposed International Standard for Structuring Layers in Computer Aided Building Design

submitted:December 1996
revised:April 1997
published:April 1997
authors:Bo-Christer Björk, professor
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

Kurt Löwnertz
FFNS Gruppen, Stockholm, Sweden

Arto Kiviniemi
Studio Kivi, Helsinki, Finland
summary:Layering is a widely used method for structuring data in CAD-models. During the last few years national standardisation organisations, professional associations, user groups for particular CAD-systems, individual companies etc. have issued numerous standards and guidelines for the naming and structuring of layers in building design. In order to increase the integration of CAD data in the industry as a whole ISO recently decided to define an international standard for layer usage. The resulting standard proposal, ISO 13567, is a rather complex framework standard which strives to be more of a union than the least common denominator of the capabilities of existing guidelines.A number of principles have been followed in the design of the proposal. The first one is the separation of the conceptual organisation of information (semantics) from the way this information is coded (syntax). The second one is orthogonality - the fact that many ways of classifying information are independent of each other and can be applied in combinations. The third overriding principle is the reuse of existing national or international standards whenever appropriate. The fourth principle allows users to apply well-defined subsets of the overall superset of possible layernames.This article describes the semantic organisation of the standard proposal as well as its default syntax. Important information categories deal with the party responsible for the information, the type of building element shown, whether a layer contains the direct graphical description of a building part or additional information needed in an output drawing etc. Non-mandatory information categories facilitate the structuring of information in rebuilding projects, use of layers for spatial grouping in large multi-storey projects, and storing multiple representations intended for different drawing scales in the same model.Pilot testing of ISO 13567 is currently being carried out in a number of countries which have been involved in the definition of the standard. In the article two implementations, which have been carried out independently in Sweden and Finland, are described. The article concludes with a discussion of the benefits and possible drawbacks of the standard. Incremental development within the industry, (where ”best practice” can become ”common practice” via a standard such as ISO 13567), is contrasted with the more idealistic scenario of building product models. The relationship between CAD-layering, document management product modelling and building element classification is also discussed.
keywords:CAD-system, layering, standardisation
full text: (PDF file, 0.316 MB)
citation:Björk BC, Löwnertz K, Kiviniemi A (1997). ISO DIS 13567 - The Proposed International Standard for Structuring Layers in Computer Aided Building Design, ITcon Vol. 2, pg. 32-55,