We are a collective of AEC firms seeking to imagine the future tools that we need to shape the world around us.
Defined by industry, enabled by developers, we need to work together to create a toolset that meets the challenges that we face today.
Our aim is to set out an open-source specification for future design tools that facilitate good design and construction, by enabling creative practice and supporting the production of construction-ready data.
This specification envisages an ecosystem of tools, for use by large firms and single practitioners alike, with a choice of modular applications each with specific functions, overlaid on a unifying “data framework” to enable efficient collaboration with design, construction and supply chain partners.
As architects, engineers and contractors, we do not profess to have all the expertise needed to enable this ecosystem, but we do know what we need to do our work, and so we are looking to engage with the software community to deliver the best solution.
This specification has coalesced around 10 key features:
- A universal data framework that all AEC software platforms can read from and write to, allowing for a more transparent and efficient exchange of data between platforms and parties.
- Access to live data, geometry, and documentation beyond the restrictions of current desktop-based practices.
- Design and evaluate decisions in real time, at any scale.
- User-friendly, efficient, versatile and intuitive.
- Efficient modelling with increasing accuracy, flexibility, detail and intelligence.
- Enables responsible design.
- Enables DfMA and MMC approaches.
- Facilitates automation and the ability to leverage AI at scale and responsibly as and when possible.
- Aids efficient and intelligent deliverables.
- Better value through improved access, data and licensing models.
This specification has been put together with the following principles in mind:
- Modular approach over one single solution. We do not envisage, nor do we want, any proposed solution to consist of one single piece of software.
- Industry and vendor led. Whilst many aspects of this specification will be facilitated by software vendors, others will need to be led by industry.
- A specification, not a solution. We, as industry, recognise that we do not have all the knowledge or expertise to deliver on the topics set out in this document. Rather, we know what we need, and want to work with software developers and investors to enable it.
- Software as an enabler, not an obstacle. We need to shift the focus away from figuring out how to do a task, to focussing on the outcome of that task.
The intention is for this to be an open-source specification, open to contribution from any interested party. To this end, we see this as a first draft, not a final version.
A copy of the specification is online here and we welcome any commentary and proposed edits.
This specification has been developed by AEC industry representatives from UK large firms, with support from the Open Letter Group, the Nordic Open Letter Group, and members of the AIA Large Firm Round Table. We welcome support form across the industry, regardless of size, discipline or geography.
To lend your support to this specification, please get in touch via the contact form below.
Authors + Contributors