One of the biggest challenges with embracing BIM (building information modeling) throughout concept through completion on a construction project is often the lack of interoperability among the various software platforms used by the different companies. But this challenge is beginning to be addressed by new initiatives and technology developments aimed at helping improve BIM in the construction industry.

This week, at Ecobuild in London, NBS,, London, England, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Institute of British Architects, is unveiling a new National BIM Library, which is a platform-neutral database with generic BIM objects. The library is accessible online and free of charge for architects, contractors, interior designs, and other construction professionals in the U.K.

The models will initially be available in IFC, but will be delivered in a number of proprietary formats in the future. The library will offer manufacturers the opportunity to have objects authored to the new standard and hosted in the National BIM Library. According to NBS, in the U.K., 75% of construction professionals currently aware of BIM predict they will be using BIM on some projects by the end of this year, and 95% expect to be using BIM within five years.

This announcement follows last week’s news about the official launch of buildingSMART’s,, Washington, D.C., Open BIM initiative for the AEC industry. Open BIM is a universal approach to collaborative design based on open standards and workflows, and many software providers are already using the open buildingSMART data model. With an Open BIM Certification from buildingSMART, AEC software vendors can test and certify their data connections to work with other Open BIM solutions.

For the construction industry, initiatives such as this will improve workflow from one discipline to the next, which means team members can continue working in their native solution without risking incompatibility with other pieces of software.

Tekla,, a division of Trimble, and one of the technology providers involved in the Open BIM program, also came to market last week with an updated solution to improve collaboration and workflow within the construction industry. Tekla Structures 18 improves workflow through better connectivity to machinery and more export options to IFC format, among others.

Another member of the Open BIM initiative also released a new product last week. GRAPHISOFT,, Budapest, Hungary, announced the availability of ArchiCAD STAR(T), which will allow smaller companies to create and manage the building model and automatically generate project documentation.

Initiatives such as Open BIM, and others, look to address interoperability challenges in the AEC industry. As BIM technology begins to ‘open’ up, so to speak, and more software providers find new ways to allow platforms to talk to each other, the AEC industry will continue to move toward a more collaborative approach to doing business.