Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a modern working method for the planning, construction and operation of buildings in the digital age, which is based on the active networking of all those involved. At the centre of BIM is an intelligent building data model,which contains not only the 3D geometry, but also all the relevant data about the building.
As long as all those involved in planning work with the same software, cooperation is simple and the exchange of data is loss-free. This process is called native BIM.
However, for larger projects and complex team structures BIM specialized software from different manufacturers are often used.
To support open collaboration across software platforms Autodesk, along with twelve other industry-leading companies founded the Industry Alliance for Interoperability (IAI).
The main concept developed by this consortium is the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes).
In 2005, the IAI was renamed BuildingSMART.
IFC is the basis for the openBIM data exchange.
According to buildingSMART, IFC is "a general data schema that enables the exchange of information between different proprietary software applications. This data schema includes information from all the disciplines involved in the construction disciplines involved in the construction project throughout its life cycle."