Software incompatibility bar to interoperability

In the US, McGraw-Hill Construction has just published its Interoperability SmartMarket Report, providing insight into the interoperability of AEC software applications and platforms (see news release) – a key issue given that “interoperability costs add 3.1% to a typical project budget” (not dissimilar to previous US estimates – eg: back in 2004,a NIST report estimated interoperability cost the US capital facilities industry between one and two per cent of its annual turnover).

The report reviews research conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction Analytics in late Spring 2007, aiming to assess the interoperability of AEC software applications and platforms, and based on a representative sample of 295 architects, engineers, contractors and owners. The study’s major findings included:

  • Software incompatibility is the largest obstacle to interoperability.
  • Costs are another obstacle to interoperability, with the largest expenditures coming from training and time spent on translation when switching to programs allowing interoperability.
  • The costs of not improving interoperability primarily come from manual data re-entry.
  • The most frequently used interoperability software is 2-dimensional CAD. Also important are scheduling software and Business [don’t they mean ‘Building’?] Information Modeling (BIM). In fact, use of BIM is increasing so rapidly that the study foresees a “tipping point” by the end of 2008, when a majority of architects are expected to be using BIM.
  • BIM has emerged as a critical catalyst in the effort to create innovation within the building community.

Norbert W. Young, president, McGraw-Hill Construction says: “The lack of seamless flow of information – or interoperability – is one of the primary factors holding the entire industry back from quantum leaps forward. This study gives us a full picture of the real challenges we face. We need this baseline in order to map out the important work ahead to create solutions for the entire industry.”

Technorati tags: AEC, US, interoperability, NIST, BIM

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