A Review of IFC Standardization – Interoperability Through Complementary Development Approaches

Mikael Laakso, Arto Kiviniemi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) data model has been in development by an industry consortium since 1994; during this time the industry context, standardization organization, resource availability, and technology development have exposed the standardization process to a dynamic environment. While the overarching mission of IFC standardization has always been to provide interoperability between AEC/FM software applications and actors, both the goals and the views on how to best achieve those goals have changed throughout the years. Despite the fact that IFC has enjoyed sustained professional and scholarly interest throughout its development, reflective socio-technical studies on the subject are largely non-existent. This study reviews the major shifts in the development process of the IFC standard from its origins in the early 1990s up to 2011, splitting the timeline into four distinct phases. A finding of the review is that the IFC standardization process has utilized complementary minimalist and structuralist approaches for different phases of the standardization process - balancing exhaustive structuralism and implementable minimalism. The concepts behind Model View Definitions (MVD), Information Delivery Manuals (IDM), and the International Framework for Dictionaries (IFD) were not documented from the start and only became relevant as standardization progressed, with each of the components contributing minimalism to a structurally constructed data model.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2011 CIB W078 Conference : International Conference –Sophia Antipolis, France, 26-28 October
Publication date2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
Event2011 CIB W078 Conference - Sophia Antipolis, France
Duration: 26.10.201128.10.2011
Conference number: 28


  • 113 Computer and information sciences
  • KOTA2011


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