Standardisation: Small Business Standards asks for long-term IFC compatibility to support SMEs’ digital transition

In an effort to facilitate the digital transformation of the construction sector, Small Business Standards (SBS), the European association supporting SMEs in standardisation, has released a position paper highlighting the urgent need for enhanced compatibility in Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). The paper addresses the concerns of SMEs, emphasising the significance of backward and forward IFC compatibility, as well as the comprehensive compatibility requirements across the entire IFC standard.

IFC serves as the primary format for information exchange in digital construction projects. However, the rapid release of new IFC versions, each incompatible with its predecessors, has created significant challenges for SMEs. These compatibility issues lead to time-consuming and costly re-entry and redrawing of information into software, hindering the flow of data across the project life cycle. Emphasizing the importance of compatibility, SBS stresses the need for long-term compatibility to foster the adoption of IFC by construction SMEs.

To address these challenges, SBS makes several recommendations. Firstly, it calls for the initiation of a Technical Report (TR) by ISO, aimed at addressing IFC compatibility policy comprehensively. Secondly, SBS urges the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) for coordinated efforts in creating a fully compliant EU dictionary.

By emphasizing the needs of SMEs and advocating for enhanced compatibility, SBS aims to create a more inclusive and accessible standard that would encourage the active participation of SMEs in the development of IFC to achieve a comprehensive solution that benefits the entire construction sector.

EBC is a founding member and partner of SBS, representing SBS in construction-related fora and coordinating its sectoral approach for construction.

To read the SBS position paper “Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) compatibility policy”, click here.