Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) and Facilities Management (FM) Markets

How OGC® Membership Benefits Businesses in Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) and Facilities Management (FM) Markets

Benefits of OGC Membership:

  • Develop needed CAD/GIS standards in an industry consortium with a proven track record and experience working with other standards organizations.
  • Work with all the major CAD and GIS vendors, who are already engaged in the OGC consensus process.
  • Processes that foster fast development and commercial uptake - Vendors are committed, so results appear quickly.
  • Take advantage of opportunities for business development, public relations, influencing the process and representing your company's and customers' needs.
  • Process features government and commercial users collaboratively setting requirements to shape the standards.
  • All stakeholders reduce risk and costs and cause the benefits of BIM to come to industry stakeholders sooner than otherwise possible.

Buildings cost more than they should to design, build and maintain and they take too long to deliver. Information system interoperability standards - Building Information Models (BIM) - provide an important means of correcting this situation. This was underscored by a 2004 US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study that found that lack of information interoperability costs the US capital facilities industry at least $15.8B annually, a number that doesn't take into account missed business opportunities.
The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC), in collaboration with other organizations, is positioned to help AEC stakeholders develop, approve and deploy the needed interoperability standards.
Internationally, public and private sector organizations are pushing for information processing standards that support productivity across the supply chains of the physical infrastructure, capital project and building management industries including:

  • Urban planning
  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • Facilities management
  • Real estate
  • Real property assessment
  • Mortgage services
  • Insurance

Productivity can be improved greatly through better information management and business process re-engineering to create more fluid information exchanges between stakeholders. Benefits of this BIM-enabled capability will include:

  • Designers and engineers will have lower costs and risks
  • First responders with better information will be able to respond more quickly
  • Timely monitoring information will lower operating costs
  • Flexible views of facilities will lead to better decisions
  • Flexible views will shorten sales costs for realtors, appraisers, and bankers
  • Compliance costs for regulations and codes will be lower
  • Lower management costs of subcontractors

In visual terms, imagine clicking on a 3D image of a structure or part of a structure to get whatever information you need: type of glass, name of subcontractor who did the work, duct dimensions, heating system specifications, inspection schedule, rental history, etc.


Solution = The Building Information Model (BIM)

AEC industry standards experts have determined that the Building Information Model (BIM) approach is the way to achieve these goals. A BIM is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility. It is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle, from earliest conception to demolition.

Basic premises of BIM:

  • Different stakeholders at different phases of the life cycle of a facility will insert, extract, update or modify information in the BIM to support and reflect the roles of those stakeholders
  • Information in the model should be interoperable (i.e.: allow computer to computer exchanges)
  • The exchange should be based on open standards
  • The requirements for exchange must be definable in contract language


Role of the OGC

The BIM standard will incorporate "business views" of information needed to accomplish a particular set of functions and will reference and build upon the relevant standards that are in use today - centering on:

  • The International Alliance for Interoperability IFCs,
  • Standards of the National Institute of Building Sciences,
  • ISO standards,
  • Standards supported by Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE),
  • Standards developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC),
  • The FIATECH capital investment roadmap, as well as
  • The emerging efforts like OmniClass taxonomies and harmonizing the OmniClass Elements table with Uniformat II and UniformatTM.

For US organizations, the US National CAD Standard will also be one of the corner stones as, for the foreseeable future, standards for 2D drawings continue to be required.

The OGC provides a proven, fast way to advance open BIM standards. Our streamlined process offers AEC stakeholders a place to cooperatively develop, test, and validate existing standards, and extend or develop new standards to meet stakeholder requirements.

In the OGC, leading CAD and GIS software vendor members, AEC community members and government agency members have already begun to develop geospatial portions of the BIM standard that support AEC and FM requirements. The OGC's efforts to date involve the development of specifications that support interoperable geospatial processing services for smart object modeling and virtual reality. These support building life cycle services, and the OGC is working closely with AEC standards organizations globally to harmonize work.

The OGC's current OWS-4 testbed incorporates an AEC-based thread featuring integration of OGC specifications, IAI's IFCs (International Alliance for Interoperability Industry Foundation Classes), existing commercially available BIM software products. The OWS-4 participants have scoped their effort carefully, recognizing the difficulties inherent in integrating technologies and information in the areas of CAD, AEC, geospatial, 3D visualization, and urban simulation. Activity is focusing on three general areas: Information Models and Encodings, Services-based Interoperability and Applications, and Demonstrations. The CAD/GIS/BIM thread of OWS-4 builds on the groundwork that has already been laid by the CAD-GIS Working Group (WG) within OGC's Technical Committee.


Become an OGC Member

The OGC brings the following to the global BIM effort: a well-defined and highly respected consensus process, a proven testing process, and procedures and programs to ensure that new standards become implemented expeditiously in products and services. The OGC also brings to the BIM effort more than a decade of experience working with other standards organizations to harmonize and converge standards that need to cooperate at both the machine and human levels.

Each year since 1994, the OGC's membership has grown. Because part of the value of membership comes from networking, cost sharing, and synergy between different projects, the value of membership has never been greater. OGC members are working many ICT issues that are of continuing interest to the sectors and markets in the AEC industry. We invite you to explore with us the benefits of becoming part of the global collaborative that crafts OGC standards.

To learn more about what the OGC is doing and how your organization can benefit from participation, contact:

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
Phone: (508) 655 5858
outreach [at]
George Percivall
Executive Director, Interoperability Architecture
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
Phone: (301) 560-6439
gpercivall [at]


Visit the OGC website at