Attaching Requirements Management to IFC Product Model

Janne Porkka, Juha Hyvärinen, Pekka Huovila

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


    In this paper, preliminary results from the ongoing Finclad2 project are described. Finclad2 is an enterprise driven synthesis of two bridging projects coordinated by the Finnish Constructional Steelwork Association (FCSA). The focus in these projects is on the development of design and decision support tools and on combining requirements management with product model environments. Foundations for the current work date back to the earlier Finclad1 project (2002-2003). The requirements management process is to ensure that we know the customer needs and that the solutions efficiently meet those requirements, thus increasing the final products value. Even though life cycle approach has become increasingly popular, an illusion of sequential process phases still dominates esp. in construction industry. In practice, due to the parallel nature of design and construction phases (and to some extent, even operation), requirements setting, updating and verification have to take place throughout the project. Recently, the open international standards for building design information exchange have become more robust and more widely used. In particular, the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) is continuously developing the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) open model based information exchange specification. The coverage of IFC product model has enlarged during past few years, and nowadays it contains project information related to, for example, actors and assets; elements and spaces; structures and zones; systems and environmental impacts; schedules and costing; equipment and work plans; associated documents and classifications. Focus has also started moving towards service life and requirements management. This shift is expected to enable and motivate developers and practitioners moving towards consumer driven process. In the present IFC version (IFC 2x2) expressing product requirements is supported in a modest way. However, it is evident that product model technology has developed to a level where extensive requirements management could be enabled. This progression leads to increased interoperability between customer needs and design solutions, by defining explicit “requirement”-objects and their relationships to design objects. The authors highlight though that there are still many open questions needing answers. The results from Finclad2 project define classification for requirements managed in product model environment, as well as guidelines for their attachment to IFC product model design object. It is apparent that in this approach requirements are set in various levels, such as component, system, space, zone or building (or even project) levels. Traditionally, requirements have been captured on a very generic level (project or building), whereas in the Finclad2 case the target is on exterior wall level, which introduces challenges in linking of space requirements to wall properties and production planning; also, design application developers have challenges in including requirements management in their software. In result, a test environment for requirements management is created and set of requirements is exported in an IFC file.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCombining Forces - Advancing FacilitiesManagement & Construction Through Innovation Series
    Subtitle of host publicationICT in Construction and Facilities Management
    EditorsSami Kazi
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Print)952-5004-67-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
    Event11th Joint CIB International Symposium 2005: Combining Forces - Advancing Facilities Management and Construction through Innovation - Helsinki, Finland
    Duration: 13 Jun 200516 Jun 2005
    Conference number: 11


    Conference11th Joint CIB International Symposium 2005


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