Imperial College London

CSEI Seminar Coping with heterogeneous information in building and construction



Coping with heterogeneous information in building and construction projects – Big Open BIM with Linked Data

On Wednesday 15th August 2018 the Centre for Systems Engineering & Innovation hosted Prof Jakob Beetz, University Aachen for our seminar series.



Building projects need the close cooperation of diverse stakeholders with different information requirements. Throughout the entire lifecycle of built artefacts, data and information is measured, generated, consumed and processed that stems from a wide spectrum of domain experts. While many of the respective digital tools these experts use are highly sophisticated, the information they capture are locked away in silos with specialized data formats and interfaces. This makes bringing together heterogeneous information in collaboration scenarios hard and results in miscommunication, missed opportunities and wasted resources.

Past and current attempts to address and overcome these interoperability challenges have often been focused the notion of a single, monolithic information model that is able to capture all relevant information in a single shared model. Efforts like the buildingSMART Industry Foundation Classes IFC have come a long way to enhance collaboration in distributed collaborative work environments. But the need for dedicated and specialized information sources still persists and complementary means to open and link information items across these resources are needed.

In his presentation, Jakob Beetz introduces concepts and applications of Linked Data to string together and integrate heterogeneous building information using Open technologies and evolving standards. He provides a brief overview of fundamental principles, past and ongoing R&D efforts in the international construction informatics community and practical use cases to tackle some of the urgent challenges of the industry.


Prof. Dr. Jakob Beetz, holds a Diplomingenieur degree from the Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany and received a PhD at the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands for his work on the application of Semantic Web methods and technologies in the context of Architecture, Engineering and Construction. In 2017 he was appointed as a Full Professor for Design Computation at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

Jakob Beetz’ research interests are focused on the facilitation of Building Information Modeling with open standards. In 2005 he proposed the use of W3C Semantic Web technologies to capture knowledge and information in the building and construction domain, which among other efforts helped to standardize the ifcOWL Linked Data representation of the Industry Foundation Classes ifcOWL by buildingSMART. Jakob co-founded the Open Source model-server platform in 2009. He has been active in national and international research fundamental and industry-driven projects (Port of Rotterdam, German Railway, German Road Authority, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and others), as well as standardization efforts. He published more than 70 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers and is the co-editor of the upcoming handbook Building Information Modeling - Technological Foundations and Industry Practice appearing in 2018 at Springer.


Tim Gordon

Tim Gordon
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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