WIT Press

A Comparative Suitability Study Between Classification Systems For Bim In Heritage


Free (open access)

Paper DOI



Volume 13 (2018), Issue 1



Page Range

130 - 138




The research outlined in this paper is part of a collaborative fund to propose an innovative classification framework for restoration of historical/cultural heritage assets. Most of the previous research/applications in applying BIM to Heritage have focused on the physical or geometric reporting of assets. This typically involves laser scanning for creating as-built models and recording asset components, for operations and maintenance. However to efficiently identify/record general asset component requirements, standardised classification systems must be used which categorise different  components, their characteristics,  attributes,  and  maintenance  requirements.  Furthermore as  will be demonstrated, current database, knowledge and classification systems available for new builds might not be suitable to categorise components in historical buildings, which differ according to historical eras and architectural periods, hence might render their restoration process inefficient. There  is currently no research dedicated towards investigating appropriate classification systems to be used for heritage buildings. This paper provides a comparative study between current international  classification systems within the construction industry, and investigates their suitability for heritage buildings. This includes CI/SFB, CAW, SFG20, Omniclass, Uniclass versions etc. Properties of suitability will also be investigated e.g. object types, hierarchy of tables/schedules, depth levels and appropriateness for different architectural styles and parametric geometries (e.g. origin, material, allowed stresses, proportions etc.). This study provides evidence for the lack of appropriate classification systems for Heritage and provides recommendations for a  taxonomical representation for suitable classification systems of Heritage assets from different historical and architectural periods. This includes information descriptors of hierarchical  classes, historical, social and technological context, allowing usage of standardised Heritage  BIM data for documentation, operations, maintenance and restoration management, and also allowing searching for similarities/differences between different buildings in the global  heritage  domain, replacement components and comparing artefacts, which might impact historical significance.


Building information modelling; CAW; CI/SFB; classifications systems; heritage buildings; omniclass; SFG20; typology; uniclass