Elasstic EU research project report available

As mentioned before (here, here and here) the team was highly envolved in the EU supported research project Elasstic.

The ELASSTIC concept is about the communication between these three main technology groups:

  • Building Information
  • Simulation models
  • Sensor information

A fourth technology called ‘Multi Criteria Analyses’ (MCA) is providing the end-user the interface to evaluate safety and security of the building design.

bim concept elasstic

The concept is best described with an example. Let’s focus on the case of a fire in a building.
In case of a fire in a building, the sensors from the Building Management System (BMS) pick it up. The BMS probably responds with the classic sprinkler system. A notification of the fire is also send to the evacuation simulation. The location of the fire, smoke and maybe intensity are available data at this moment in the process.

With advances in building management systems the number of people and their location might also be available as data. The evacuation simulation calculates the most effective evacuation route for the people in the building. To do this, it needs to calculate the spread of the fire so it also triggers the fire simulation. For these simulations information about the building is needed. This data comes from the (static) BIM. In case, parts of the building are destroyed, even this new information is available in BIM and have to be read by the BMS. When the BIM data shows installations with high risk of explosions, the ‘explosion simulation’ can be triggered. The structural integrity of the building might also be evaluated due to the effects of the fire and/or explosions.

The most effective evacuation route, due to the recent state of the building, is send to the building management system. By using signs the people in the building can be evacuated via the safest route in the most effective and efficient way. When people don’t use the suggested route, sensors (like cameras) can pick up this deviation and start a new simulation. Resulting in a recalculated optimum evacuation route that is send to the building management system.

Other information from sensors can also influence the process flow. For example when walls break down due to fire; the BIM data set gets updated and this new dataset is used as the base for evacuation simulation. In this case new evacuation routes may come available. Or when parts of the building won’t provide structural safety anymore (found by a combination of sensors in load bearing columns and beams) this part might be prioritized in the evacuation (and the BIM data updated).

To get this theoretical idea into practice, the ELASSTIC project was started. During this project we tried to implement the concept with open source and closed tools, simulation models and open data standards. The research methodology was that of applied research.

During the project the concept of ‘BIM Bots‘ was tested with the following setup:


The workflow between BIMserver and the simulation models is ‘event driven’. Every simulation model can subscribe to events on the used BIMserver in which they have interest. When this event occurs the BIMserver sends a notification of the event to the subscribed simulation service(s). The simulation services most probably run on a separate (remote) server. This server can then perform actions on (using a token as login) and send the results back to the BIMserver, or to any other service. This way a chain of event driven services can be triggered on an event (like ‘new revision’).

The ELASSTIC BIM concept proved to have great potential to the industry. Due to the automation of simulation models (with or without supporting services) the designer is provided with direct feedback of the performance of the building during the (early) design phase.

To optimize the usability of this concept additional features are introduced like model-checking, pre-processing of data (called ‘supporting services’ in this report), post processing of data (in this project to facilitate the MCA tool), advanced query/filter functions, etc. Some results of Elasstic are already published in previous BIMserver releases. Others will be in the upcoming 2.0 release that has a new API and interface to support the ‘BIM Bots’ concept that was tested in Elasstic.

The final “REPORT ON IMPROVED USAGE OF BIM TECHNOLOGY” is written by projectpartners TNO, ARCADIS, SIEMENS, and SCHUESSLER-PLAN. Since the status of the report is ‘public’ we are proud te be able to offer it on our website.

Download the report here.

More info is available from Léon van




First release candidate version 1.2

bimserver logoWe have launched the first release candidate of the 1.2 version of the BIMserver platform. It is available on our development website at Google code.

Some of the new features include the ability to add non-IFC data to the database. Users can now add ‘extended data’ to revisions and projects. Not all data can be added. This is controlled by the server administrator. Every BIMserver administrator has to authorize data schemas first so users, or external services can add extended data according to an authorised schema.

As beta-testers already saw, there is a new plugin type called ‘query plugin’. Wiet Mazairac created a plugin for the open BIM Query Language ( which is included in the BIMserver build. We also added an ‘internal service’ plugin that lowers the threshold for developers to build custom BIMservers for a specific feature. The clash-detection feature is now an internal plugin that will trigger on every ‘new revision’.

A big change we are very enthusiastic about, is the ability to subscribe (link) to external services. External services are webservices that run on a separate server (could be closed source) that handle a specific feature. At this moment there are services that do clash-detection (and return a BCF file); make a 2D HTML floorplan; do logging (for KPI project analyses); and there is even an external service that sends out an e-mail to all project members when there is a BCF returned from a clash-detection service. An external service can be triggered at a ‘new revision‘ and ‘new extended data’. In the future these triggerpoints will include all BIMserver log actions (like new user, new project, user added to project, etc) and we are working on data specific changes triggers (trigger only when doors are changed, or when a specific object with GUID is changes). In practice BIMserver sends out a notification to the external service and includes a token for authorization and authentication. Users can edit the subscription to external services and give out very specific tokens and authorizations. A list of external services will be hosted on our new plugin directory The list is dynamically loaded from any running BIMserver so it will be up-to-date all the time.
At this moment only a few external services are on the list, but many are in the making. The BIMserver team will not make any external services, but encourages developers to do so. The interface between BIMserver and the services is build according to the open standard BIMSie. This means that external services can also interact with each other and are not specifically build for This way the BIMserver team tries to innovate the industry and stimulates actual working in a federated web service environment (in contrast to spending marketing budget to use the word ‘cloud’ as many times as possible).

The biggest change that end-users will notice is that there is no GUI included anymore. Any BIMserver that starts will get a configuration screen (to create an administrator, add smtp server, the usual stuff that was already in 1.1), but after that it will show the BIMserver logo with the status indicator ‘running’. This is a big change for all of us, but specially for end-users, that simply cannot use BIMserver out of the box. Yet we feel this is a necessary step we have to take. As our loyal followers know, BIMserver is an open platform to use and build on top. The GUI was always a reference implementation of ‘how a GUI could look like’. We always stimulated developers to build specific GUIs. Guys like BIM Surfer and bimsync did, but we hope more will follow. To accelerate the development of several different GUIs we decided to remove the one we made. With the 1.2RC1 release we invite developers to build as many new GUIs as you like. We think we made it a bit easier by adding a JSON protocol to the rich Service Interface. This might lower the threshold for Javascript developers to make a really cool looking GUI for BIMserver.

Wrapping up the 1.2 release of BIMserver is even more focused on positioning BIMserver as an open and stable platform for others to build on. BIMserver is becoming a platform more and more, and less a product ready for end-users. This is also why the 1.2 RC1 has two developer libraries in the download section.

We feel BIMserver has made some huge steps again. This time taking some risky decisions on the GUI part, but on the other hand innovating the industry again with the introduction of a staggering concept to easily link federated BIM services. This blogpost is an open invitation to all developers to reap the fruits and create your own product build on top of our platform.

Third release candidate for 1.1.0

bimserver logo Today we are proud to release the 3rd 1.1.0 release candidate for Some new bugs, found by the community, are fixed. This release also has the ‘clash detection’ feature working again (although it will be obsolete after 1.1.0 final). This version has a major update for the ObjectIDM configurations and is tested intensely in a multiuser environment. Please read the full 1.1.0 release notes in our previous blogpost.

Download the 1.1.0-RC3 on or on our development site

Quick note on the ‘common BIM files’

Just a short and quick note about the ‘common BIM files‘. Some websites are mentioning that they are on, but this is not the case. Read the original, full story about the common BIM files on

As you will notice, the BuildingSMART alliance has used the software to create a special (unsupported) version of to support COBie data exchange. This feature will probably be in the next official BIMserver release as well. More on this in our next blogpost (in a few days).

For those of you who visit this site for the first time and want to know more about the initiative, feel free to see what our users think of the project:

BIMserver Breakfast + openBIMweek 2011

breakfastlogo After the successes of the previous BIMserver breakfasts we intent to expand this year. The concept is simple: attendees get together to try out the BIMserver software, share ideas, or anything else related to BIM and the open source BIMserver software. There will be breakfast, coffee and some short presentations from advanced users. Last year 130 enthousiasts participated. This year there will be room for (only) 150 people.

This year the BIMserver Breakfast won’t be a single event, but part of the international openBIMweek 2011 in Amsterdam (the Netherlands). is present in multiple events during that week.

More info and registration on…