Interoperability refers to; ‘A characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, at present or in the future.’ Ref The Gemini Principles. Centre for Digital Built Britain. December 2018.
It can also be defined as; ‘The ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information.’ Ref ICE, Interoperability: The ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information.
The report of the BIM Interoperability Expert Group (BIEG), published in March 2020 offered a range of altenrative definitions of interoperability.
|ability of systems to provide services to and accept services from other systems and to use the services so exchanged to enable them to operate effectively together||
Sustainable cities and communities — Vocabulary
|the capability of devices of different types and from different manufacturers to exchange information and commands via the communications network||
Building automation and control systems (BACS) — Part 2: Hardware
|a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, at present or in the future, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions||AFUL.org Interoperability Working Group|
|the ability of computer systems or programs to exchange information||Oxford Dictionary|
|the capability of two or more functional units to process data cooperatively||
Information technology — Vocabulary — Part 18: Distributed data processing
BIEG itself adopted the following definition in terms of systems that are employed to implement the UK BIM Framework: 'the ability of two or more systems to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.’
NB DfMA Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work, Mainstreaming Design for Manufacture and Assembly in Construction, 2nd Edition, published by the RIBA in 2021, defines interoperability as: ‘A characteristic of a product, component, assembly or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, which allows it to work with other products, components, assemblies or systems, at present or in the future, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions.’
See also: An interoperable construction industry.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings
- An interoperable construction industry.
- Building information modelling.
- Construction's interoperability challenge.
- Continental Automated Buildings Association CABA.
- Data portability.
- Industry Foundation Classes IFC.
- Internet of things.
- Interoperability: The ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information
- ISO/TC 211 Geographic information/Geomatics.
- Open data - how can it aid the development of the construction industry?
- PAS 1192-2:2013.
- The golden thread and BS 8644-1.
 Building Information Modelling (BIM)
 Information Requirements
Employer's Information Requirements (EIR)
Organisational Information Requirements (OIR)
Asset Information Requirements (AIR)
 Information Models
Project Information Model (PIM)
 Collaborative Practices
Industry Foundation Classes (IFC)