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Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

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Highlights from the FIATECH Member Meeting

These have been a couple busy, challenging days at FIATECH, extremely dense in information and conversation. FIATECH is the consortium for the application of IT to Capital Projects. FIATECH was instrumental in the rapid progress of the National Building Information Model Standard (NBIMS). FIATECH is also a national clearing house for information about applying developing technology to construction, including the use of mobile computing and RFID. I am not going to write of either of those today.

FIATECH is home to a far reaching project, now known as IDS-ADI. The IDS (Intelligent Data Sheet) defines coherent collections of data about classes of equipment. These data sheets include ontologically significant metadata to define the contents and meaning of each attribute. ADI project is an effort to complete and deploy systems based upon the ISO 15926 standard describing process control plant and equipment. ADI stands for Accelerated Deployment of ISO 15926. ISO 15926 also includes all 3 dimensional information on system components. These groups merged and you can read about them at

The team has developed a generic data model and reference data library to manage and store this information, including OWL/RDF supplying ontology for each of the attributes. They now report that other data sets, non 15926 data sets can be stored in the same library. By referencing the RDF, the system can automatically translate between one data set, or group of data sets, into another, mixing and matching until there is a match. This is ambitious work.

The next step for the IDS-ADI team is to re-write the code into what they call the industrial strength version. They want the repository to be strong enough to generate three -dimensional visualizations of the ISO1529 process control systems, with all knowledge still attached, fast enough for someone to respond in an emergency. This moves from ambitious to astonishing. To my OWL and Ontology readers, please drop me a line on what you think of this work.

I am not in the process control world, and I do not work at a chemical plant, so my attention was elsewhere, on the whole series of projects that are missing the same keystones of information. The projects need business oriented definitions of the services provided by building systems and a lightweight, far lighter than BIM, set of abstractions for building information.

Scenario-Based project planning aims to capture and formalize the pre-design goals of capital projects. What are the business deliverables of the project, can we track them, and, perhaps, can use them to judge the project's success. I think these deliverables should include the services the building systems should provide and their performance goals. For example, a high end office space might specify a higher than standard health index to justify higher than market rents. For a green project, the same building might specify lower than normal energy use. The higher than normal rents are part of the business justification of the project, and the performance requirements become overarching design goals for the project, incurring costs, but perhaps also mitigating project risk.

These service performance goals can then become the basis for evaluating the project energy model, effectively commissioning the design. The same goals become the basis for performance contracting of building systems, and of commissioning the building. They also provide a baseline for ongoing building system analytics.

For a business to make any but the smallest response to grid-based signals about energy usage, the business manager must be able to understand the consequences of his decisions. A lightweight BIM could describe which systems and which areas would be affected. The effects would be described in terms of degradation of the business services described above. Knowing, in business friendly terms, what the consequences of decisions would be would free the business manager to make more effective and bigger decisions than he is willing to today.

In emergency response scenarios, information from building systems must be presented up though a lens of simplified structural and use information to provide easily understandable information to the first responder. To support building owners who have security concerns, this information needs to be filtered based upon policy assertions that can be implemented in code. Business rather than engineering experts would apply these assertions to something that must be simpler than the BIM.

Autodesk has indicated some interest in submitting GBXML (Green Building XML) to a standards organization. GBXML is a lightweight derivative of the IFCs in NBIMS used to support energy modeling. The GBXML specification, if promoted to a standard, could perhaps be the lightweight BIM I describe above.

This would leave only the semantic service definition for building services for advancing these projects.

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    Response: ISO 9001 Audits
    ISO 9001 standard is not product specific and can be used by a wide range of manufacturing and service companies. Long time ago, I saw a flag-size poster on a theater in Singapore bragging about its registration to the ISO 9001 standard. One of my European colleagues recently mentioned that he ...

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