Australia adopts International Standard for BIM Data Sharing

09 March 2017

Standards Australia recently published AS ISO 16739:2017, Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) for data sharing in the construction and facility management industries. This is an identical adoption of the international standard ISO 16739.

AS ISO 16739 establishes a data schema and an exchange file format for Building Information Model (BIM) data. It is intended for use in architecture, engineering, construction and operation industries.

The adoption of this standard fits within the government’s wider goal of improving productivity, quality and sustainability within the Australian built environment sector. In March 2016 the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) recommended the “national adoption of ISO and related BIM standards across the Commonwealth, and all States and Territories” as part of the government report Smart ICT - Report on the inquiry into the role of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure.

The schema describes entities commonly found in AECO industries – building elements, construction systems, spaces, locations, projects, actors, processes, etc. – and the relationships between them.

AS ISO 16739 acts as an intermediary between different proprietary schemas. It assists software developers to write programs that can export IFC format files and allow IFC files to be imported from other applications.

The direct adoption of this international standard was supported by BD-104, Building Information Modelling. BD-104 is the Standards Australia’s mirror committee of ISO TC 59/SC 13, Organization of information about construction works.

Neil Greenstreet, Chair of BD-104, explained the significance of AS ISO 16739 for industry.

“The most commonly used BIM authoring applications in Australia are all able to import and export files in an IFC format. Adopting ISO 16739 as an Australian Standard formally recognises its value, increases awareness of it within the local industry and makes it more accessible.

“Open BIM standards such as IFC mean stakeholders do not have to be locked into one proprietary range of software products – they can choose the tools best suited to their specific needs and exchange their work with others with different needs or preferences. A diversity of products also stimulates competition and development,” said Mr Greenstreet.


Torrin Marquardt

Torrin Marquardt

International Engagement Manager

+612 9237 6159

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