Adoption of European Standards for Building Information


The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) have just adopted three international standards for building information.

The standards listed below aim to build a more competitive and sustainable construction industry in Europe.

These standards are now available to purchase online from the NSAI (

  • I.S. EN ISO 16739:2016 Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) for data sharing in the construction and facility management industries (ISO 16739:2013)
  • I.S. EN ISO 12006-3:2016 Building construction – Organization of information about construction works – Part 3: Framework for object-oriented information (ISO 12006-3:2007)
  • I.S. EN ISO 29481-2:2016 Building information models – Information delivery manual – Part 2: Interaction framework (ISO 29481-2:2012)

What do these standards cover?

These standards deal with the process for structuring electronic or digital building information, using Building Information Modelling (BIM).  BIM refers to the use of a shared digital representation of a built object to facilitate the construction and operation process including buildings and infrastructure. BIM facilitates design, construction and operation processes to form a more reliable basis for decisions.

What is the significance of this?

While the use of standards is not mandatory (unless referred to in regulation), it is important to note that once CEN adopts a standard at European level, member states are precluded from developing or maintaining separate or conflicting national standards.  Since there are currently no national standards in this area, these will become the applicable standards in Ireland.

How do these standards affect construction professionals?

The standards above are quite technical, and are primarily written for software developers in the planning, construction, facility and asset management sectors, dealing with issues like data schemas, data dictionaries, and data delivery methodologies.  However, professionals working in these sectors, who are involved in the production, management, exchange and use of digital building information, should be aware of the standards, and should also confirm that the software they use, complies with these standards (ie can import and export to these standards).  We would also recommend that anyone developing software in Ireland, within the planning, design, construction and facility or asset management sectors, also make themselves aware of these standards.

Further development of standards

The CEN Technical Committee (CEN/TC 442) is continuing to develop standards in this area, working closely with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (ISO/TC 59), and the NSAI have established a National Mirror Committee, to continue to monitor this work.  We will keep you informed of further developments.

Engage with the NSAI Technical Mirror Committee

If you, or your organisation have any particular queries, please feel free to address these to the National Mirror Committee.  Equally, if your organisation wants representation on the National Mirror Committee, and have the technical expertise who would like to participate and contribute to the work of monitoring and evaluating the standards being developed in Europe, please let us know.

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