The IFC Model Server project aims for practical use of the model server technology. The IFC model server technology enables the sharing of IFC building model data over the Internet between heterogeneous software applications used during the entire lifecycle of buildings.
The IFC standard is defined by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI). The vision of IAI is to enable software interoperability during the entire lifecycle of the building. IAI has the international chapters in Australasia, China, the French speaking countries, the German speaking countries, Iberian countries, Italy, Japan, North America, the Nordic countries, Singapore and the United Kingdom. IAI is also working with ISO to standardize IFC as an international standard. In 2005, the IFC specification became ISO/PAS-16739. SECOM ISL has been working very closely with the core IAI technical team to standardize the IFC specification, and in collaborating to develop IFC related technologies with enterprises and research organizations.
The IFC is the object data model containing the 3D geometry information, object attributes, material information, and building elements such as doors, windows, walls, sensors, controllers, etc.. The IFC model can be shared between heterogeneous software applications in the building lifecycle such as 3D CAD systems, quantity take off software, various simulation tools, and facility management systems.
The necessity of an IFC compatible model server has been demonstrated by the worldwide experiences of IFC pilot projects in recent years. The large file sizes and the exchange of the files itself limit the flexible data sharing that the IFC model provides. The IFC Model Server is necessary to provide server functionality over the Internet, and provide an IFC model database for IFC model data storage, creation, updates, and import and export functionality.
In the SABLE project, Secom contributed in defining the XML Web Service API for the common IFC model server. On top of the common IFC model server interface, SABLE project defined the domain specific APIs on the SABLE server. This architecture enables communication between the IFC model servers and software applications in heterogeneous domains. Web based technologies such as XML and SOAP are used as the communication protocol between server and client application.
Figure 1: Overview of model servers and client applications