Electrical Information Modeling

Electrical design is just one of the industry sectors for which information exchange is supported by the IFC model. It has become one of the most significant IFC domain models over the past few years as a result of the keen interest that has been taken in its creation and extension to support projects in Norway and Germany.

Development of the electrical model has not just been the result of a single project nor has it been driven by a single company. Since 2002, it has become a showcase for how IFC development should happen by bringing together clients, designers, equipment suppliers, trade association, software developers and information modeling specialists. It is also a showcase in that the results of development have been implemented into operational software and applied to real projects.

AEC3 have been engaged as information modeling specialists in the development of the electrical domain model from the beginning. Starting off with low voltage circuits (12V to 1000V DC/1500V AC), the first electrical design project provided detailed capabilities for lighting and power components and systems. A significant side benefit of the work on lighting design was the provision of a photo-accurate simulation model within IFC able to deal with shading and textures. This is not yet widely used but it is there and available for when there is a significant business need.

A second wave of electrical development focused on extending and refining the specification of electrical properties and on providing effective support for electrical protection. This work also covered detailed specification of conductor, core and cable components including busbars.

Support for the development of electrical models has come from a wide range of organizations. These have included DDS, Febdok, MagiCAD, DIAL, Relux and Lightworks as software providers; the Norwegian electrical trade association NELFO; Statsbygg (HITOS College in Tromsų and HIBO College in Bodų) and Akershus Hospital together with their architectural and engineering designers; Schneider and Siemens as component providers.

In November 2007, demonstrations of electrical information exchange based on IDM exchange requirements were shown at an international meeting in Brisbane, Australia. Most significant in this demonstration was the application of business rules to validate that an information exchange was carried out at an appropriate quality level. The validation was performed using the AEC3 Xabio software. This represents the first ever data quality monitored information exchange ever carried out in the construction industry and was only possible due to the strong support for electrical model development.

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