Product model-based data management in a construction project connects the information needed for design, product manufacturing, construction, and the use and maintenance of the building. Product modelling transforms building design from traditional line-drawing to 3-D design combined with other product information. Design is done with the help of product structures and components. The spatial model contains information about the spaces, their location, area, and other desired characteristics of the spaces. Product structures such as walls and slabs contain information about, for example, materials, measurements, thermal insulation, strength and environmental qualities. When the schedules are linked with product structures, the result is 4-D design.

Product model: Product data of a specific building, structured according to the definitions of a Product data model, and represented in a computer interpretable format. E.g. Product data of a specific Building XYZ in an IFC data exchange file.

Product model data (Product data): Computer interpretable data about a product and related things. E.g. Product data about a building and the construction project in IFC exchange format.

IFC (Industry Foundation Classes): An international enabling specification for the interoperability of the computer applications for AEC/FM. IFC defines an application independent format for the data exchange between different computer applications.

The aim of product model -based data management is to:

  • improve customer service by generating useful information to support decision-making and by visualising and comparing alternatives functionally and in terms of costs.
  • enhance and speed up design by generating more precise information and by reducing design errors, by improving the plans’ compatibility and by promoting collaboration between various designers
  • improve construction quality and productivity by generating more practically usable information for production planning, cost management and scheduling, and the manufacture and procurement of building products.
  • promotes life-cycle management by improving the product data management and generating information about the building’s entire life cycle, making it easier to consider life-cycle costs and environmental impacts in the design phase, and can be used in many ways to support the use and maintenance of buildings.



April 23, 2003   Kristiina Sulankivi