An open and neutral data-exchange format is crucial to conducting business on a construction job. Interoperability ensures a seamless experience, which is important because contractors adopt software solutions to ease business processes, not make them more complex.

The AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction), www.aisc.org, Chicago, Ill., announced it has developed a three-step interoperability strategy that, it hopes, will benefit the construction industry by making it easier to exchange data among project team members across multiple software platforms.

Since construction companies generally invest in technology to save time and improve the level of collaboration on the jobsite, the ability to have project information available to each team member in a usable format is important to ROI (return on investment).

AISC, which is a trade association that serves the construction industry as well as the structural steel design community, says it is working to advance interoperability by assessing and enhancing today’s data exchanges and integrating that knowledge into IFC (Industry Foundation Classes)—a common data schema that makes it possible to hold and exchange data between proprietary software applications.

The three-part strategy includes: ensuring model data can be exchanged as needed by the structural steel industry, regardless of format; promoting IFC to make the format more accessible and understood; and ultimately, facilitating the development and implementation of IFC.

Meanwhile, two solution providers in the construction industry—Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., and Gehry Technologies, www.gehrytechnologies.com, Los Angeles, Calif.—recently announced a partnership that will further the level of interoperability between their two products.

The goal is to help AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) professionals more fully realize the benefits of the BIM (building information modeling) process. Under the new agreement, Autodesk will provide support to Gehry’s consultants using Autodesk BIM solutions, including Autodesk Building Design Suite, the Revit family of products, Autodesk Navisworks, AutoCAD Civil 3D, and Autodesk Vault Collaboration AEC.

Therefore, Gehry Technologies will be able to provide architects, engineers, contractors, and owners with a better value proposition from its design and project-management technology and consulting services.

By integrating the two companies’ offerings, AEC firms will be able to more easily transition to a BIM process. As the number of technology solutions available to construction professionals proliferates, interoperability will be an important factor that can strengthen the industry as a whole.