An investigation of concepts for the specification of graphical exchange information requirements in building information modelling

Murillo A. Piazzi, Haibo Feng, Mohamad Kassem

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Previous studies have investigated frameworks for the specification of Exchange Information Requirements (EIRs). So far, these efforts have concentrated on the specification of non-geometrical data. Graphical information specification is often carried out through the application of subjective criteria. Moreover, the definition of variables used in existing specification frameworks has acquired various meanings among practitioners and organisations. To address this gap, this study's aim is to identify and analyse the concepts that influence the specification of the graphical data in BIM-enabled projects. The BIM literature tends to consider problems from a technological standpoint. The current dichotomy in the BIM body of knowledge demands research that account for the context of industry practices and organisations in which the specification of graphical data is performed. To address its aim, this study adopts a qualitative strategy, employing a cross-sectional design and a grounded theory approach for data collection and analysis. The iterative nature of the grounded theory approach, particularly of its theoretical sampling feature, was addressed by dividing data collection and analysis into two stages. In exploring the concepts that define the specification of graphical data in EIRs, six main themes were identified: model use, project stage, project actors, processes and objects definitions, graphical granularity, and model attribute. Moreover, the findings support the suggestion that contextual factors play a role in the implementation of these variables and associated processes. There is a suggestion that practices at the industry and organisational context level, such as the existence of mandates, could be influencing the way practitioners specify information. These results can be employed to extend the understanding of the considerations made in the definition of graphical information in EIRs documentation. Moreover, this work could inform the activity of practitioners and the development of new technologies focused on the automation of information specification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-684
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Information Technology in Construction
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2022


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