buildingSMART was formerly known as the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) and founded as worldwide interest in product modelling for the construction sector expanded.
The IAI started in 1994 as an industry consortium of 12 US companies advising on developing a set of C++ classes to support integrated application development. The founding members were Autodesk; AT&T; ARCHIBUS; Carrier Corporation; Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK); Honeywell; Jaros Baum & Bolles; Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory; Primavera Systems; Softdesk; Timberline Software Corp; and Tishman Research Corp.
In 1995 it became an open, not-for-profit industry-led organisation promoting the Industry Foundation Class (IFC) as a neutral product model supporting the building lifecycle. ‘ IAI’ was a somewhat cumbersome name for the public to use and understand, and in 2005 the name was changed to buildingSMART introducing the next phase of construction industry process benefits through smart model-based collaboration tools. Regional chapters of buildingSMART can be found across the world:
- China (Shanghai)
- French speaking
- German speaking
- Hong Kong
- North America (is a council of the National Institute of Building Sciences)
- UK & Ireland
With the publishing of IFC4 (the latest release of the ISO 16739:2013 standard) a new level of open data exchange collaboration has been achieved. Currently development work is focussed on the extension of IFC4 into infrastructure: roads, tunnels and bridges. This will allow modelling of urban precincts, cities and more complex built environment infrastructures.