ITcon Vol. 24, pg. 424-439,

Integrating BIM and product manufacturer data using the semantic web technologies

submitted:July 2018
revised:August 2019
published:October 2019
editor(s):Kumar B.
authors:Mehrdad Niknam, PhD
Editor-in-Chief and Director of Research, FarsiBIM

Farzad Jalaei, PhD
Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Concordia University

Saeed Karshenas, PhD, PE
Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
summary:Building Information Modeling (BIM) technologies enable the AEC-FM industry to create a shared virtual model of a project. BIM not only includes 3D geometry information but also information assigned as parameters to BIM elements. However, the information stored in BIM model elements is not comprehensive. For example, a chiller manufacturer provides a large volume of product data in pdf file format that is not included in the BIM model. It is possible to attach PDF files to BIM elements; the problem with an attached PDF is that its content cannot be interpreted by a computer. Automated retrieval and integration of distributed sources of data requires data in a machine-processable format. One way to solve this problem is to manually add additional data as element properties to a BIM model. However, manually inputting data to BIM platforms (e.g. Autodesk Revit) is a very time consuming and error-prone task. In this article, the authors present the Semantic Web technology as a new solution to integrating building product manufacturers’ data with BIM information. The authors convert both BIM data and building product data to RDF/OWL format. Data stored in RDF/OWL format can be easily processed by machines and integrated with RDF/OWL formatted data from other sources over the Internet. The authors use Semantic Web Services to handle data communication between a BIM knowledge base and the product manufacturers’ knowledge bases. The authors compare manual entry of manufacturer data to a BIM model to the semantics-based data integration presented in the paper. Results show that the authors’ approach improves productivity.
keywords:Building Information Modeling, BIM, Facility management, Semantic Web, RDF, OWL, Ontology
full text: (PDF file, 1.234 MB)
citation:Niknam M, Jalaei F, Karshenas S (2019). Integrating BIM and product manufacturer data using the semantic web technologies, ITcon Vol. 24, pg. 424-439,