Bridge Information Modeling is a relatively new technology for the bridge industry. In order to avoid the problems industry faced in the past, there are many efforts to develop the BrIM process in the right direction. One of the efforts is to develop a unified standard and format for the BrIM model. Many stakeholders have different purposes and interests. However, a unified US national standard can make the connection among different stakeholders easier than ever. IFC is the common specification currently being discussed to be a unified model type for the 3D BrIM model.
TPF-5 (372) Project is funded by 22 US Agencies to establish a standard for bridge semantic and geometric information that is common in the United States. It is a continuation of the IFC Bridge project to create international standards. It is a 5 Year project from 2019 to 2023. The main focus of the project is to work with software vendors to produce a model with the same national standard so that models can be accessed flawlessly between different software. This will resolve the dependency on one software and also increase interoperability between different disciplines.
However, several challenges need to be overcome. IFC Standard is originally designed for the building structure. Therefore, many of the specifications are not designed for the bridge or alignment structure. IFC is making progress by implementing necessary specifications such as alignment and bridge components lately. At this time, IFC is fully released to IFC4.2 with some bridge components implemented. It is hard to develop a full standard with the existing IFC standard. The other challenge is software development, All software is developed in a different way and method. If the standard was given before the software developed, It might have been easier to adjust. Given the standards that will keep changing for the next few years, It takes great resources and time for developers to implement. Therefore, clear guidelines and discussion are needed to produce an outcome that all bridge industry will benefit from. We will continue to update the progress of the project and share challenges on the road.