Fiatech 2014 Conference and technology showcase (May 2014)

Shell and Dassault’s recognition of need for standardization in construction echoes past conferences. Analysis of full cost of JORD reference data project comes up with some scary numbers.   

The US Fiatech organization includes members from the engineering/construction community and spans plants (including oil and gas facilities) and regular large buildings. It is therefore home to a broad church that includes building information management (BIM) systems and standards that have relevance to major offshore construction projects. The need for standardization in construction was emphasized in presentations from Shell and Dassault Systèmes, although what is puzzling is that the arguments are indistinguishable from those made at plant information management conferences twenty years ago. Shell’s contribution of a ‘advanced work packaging information mapping’ standard is new but seemingly unrelated to prior art.

Julian Bourne provided a status report on the flagship joint operations reference data (Jord) project which addresses a perennial problem of standards initiatives, that of populating and maintaining reference data. The ‘large and diverse’ group that is Fiatech means that its constituent communities protect their own interests which leads to many tensions in terms of needs and priorities. ISO 15926 needs to accommodate as many needs as possible. Bourne walked through the work required to complete Jord and the ‘irreducible costs’ which are rather eye watering. It costs about $5,000 for one complete definition. Further multiplication sees an overall investment of around $1.5 billion dollars, spread over a 20 year period. Bourne dutifully ploughed on with proposals for workgroup organization and funding. But (in our opinion) the likelihood of the construction industry a) coming up with $75 million per year for one standard initiative and b) engaging collectively on a 20 year project is small to vanishing. More from Fiatech.

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