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Alliance to create common data model for built environment

by Mark Cantrell
Founded by Dr David McKee in 2019, the startup's software builds digital twins of real-world objects, assets and systems.

A global alliance has formed with the aim of creating a common data model intended to unlock a digital transformation in the buildings and infrastructure sector.

NBS has teamed up with Standards Australia, and the International Code Council (ICC) in an effort to harmonise standards and frameworks to create a data model that can be adopted by various stakeholders and platforms.

The alliance will also engage directly with other stakeholders with different protocols, to ensure alignment and compatibility with the global standards landscape. The work will also take account of other initiatives across the life cycle of a building to support a transition to a low-carbon and circular economy.

Phil Simpson, head of technical content and classification at NBS, said: “As custodians of Uniclass, NBS is honoured to join hands with Standards Australia and the International Code Council in forging this global alliance for digital transformation in the built environment.

“Our commitment to standardisation and interoperability through Uniclass underscores our dedication to facilitating global progress. The common data model will serve as a catalyst, enabling seamless collaboration, innovation, and efficiency throughout the lifecycle of construction projects.

“By embracing this initiative, we affirm our dedication to building a future that is not only sustainable and resilient, but also inclusive and interconnected on a global scale.”

At the core of the initiative is an understanding that the buildings and infrastructure sector must move quickly, and be positioned to share data across platforms, standards and systems to meet global climate and other reporting standards.

According to NBS, the alliance is working to develop an open, truly global common data model that would serve as an end-to-end thread of trusted and reliable data over the complete asset lifecycle.

It has set an ambitious goal of having a first release ready before the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 29) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will take place in November 2024 in Azerbaijan.

The alliance says it believes this will demonstrate its commitment and contribution of the buildings and infrastructure sector to the global climate action agenda.

Adam Stingemore, chief development officer of Standards Australia, said: “We are delighted to partner with the International Code Council and NBS on this important project. We believe that a common data model will unlock the full potential of data and digital technologies in the buildings and infrastructure sector, and help us achieve our vision of a safe, sustainable and resilient future for Australia and the world.”

Dominic Sims, chief executive of ICC said: “ICC has long focused on the importance of providing consistency to support achievement of sustainability and resilience goals. It is natural for us to work with like-minded organisations to develop a global common data model that helps deliver a decarbonised built environment.”


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