For a long lasting effort and collaboration among several actors, there is a need for integration and consolidation of the building information in a common information hub, a model server. A standardized exchange format, like IFC today, in its own is not enough. If the standardized format is only used in point to point exchange situations, the project and building information will not be integrated neither consolidated.
The IFC standard can manage snap-shots of the information, but to manage the whole life cycle, there is a need for a standard like PLCS, Product Life Cycle Support, ISO 10303-239, www.plcs-resources.org, which supports some critical business needs faced by companies as they seek to implement Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and other broad enterprise-based initiatives. The model servers shall secure collaboration both within an organization as well as throughout an extended enterprise and its various participants. One implementation of an open BIM based model server is the BIM Collaboration Hub based on the model server Share-A-space from Eurostep. The BIM Collaboration Hub was the foundation for the web-based Open ICT Platform in InPro, a 4 year European R&D project which finished in November 2010.
At its core, Share-A-space is a standards-based data consolidation and exchange solution. It is built on PLCS, a standard which promises to become a key enabler for process improvements in several service-focused industries such as aerospace and defense.
This paper presents the BIM Collaboration Hub, the technologies and how it was used as the web-based Open ICT platform in the InPro project. It presents the next paradigm in virtual collaboration in construction, where the full lifecycle is supported. The discipline specific definitions of objects and relations of the IFC standard are put into this framework and related to the extended functionality of PLCS.