Report from the Construction Classification International Collaboration seminar in Tallin

Public seminar of the Construction Classification International Collaboration (CCIC), an international non-profit organisation, was held in Tallinn in December 2022. CCIC develops and promotes the Construction Classification International (CCI) classification system. There are plans in several European countries to use CCI as part of their respective BIM mandates. The seminar featured speakers from various countries where the CCI classification system is being actively developed and implemented. Although the seminar was held a few months ago, the development in the field of classification systems is not progressing so fast, that the information from the seminar would not be up to date. This article summarizes what the various speakers presented and provides an interesting insight into the situation regarding classification systems and BIM mandates in each country.

Jaan Saar giving his opening speech at the CCIC 2022 seminar

Jaan Saar, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of CCIC, opened the seminar with a brief description of the CCI classification system and the reasons why it was created. CCI is based on ISO 81346 tables augmented with some elements of the Danish CCS, while following the ISO 12006-2 standard. CCI was created as a single language to unify communication across all AEC professions and also across borders. In addition, Jaan Saar stressed that the facility management and operations sector is an integral part of the use and focus of CCI. In terms of the use of CCI, it is important that CCIC organization guarantees that any entity can use CCI free of charge, as the tables are licensed under Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.

Subsequent contribution from Jaroslav Nechyba presented CCI from a more technical point of view and with a broader description of the reasons why a uniform classification in the construction industry is necessary. Particularly interesting was the answer to the question why to create a new classification system and not use an existing one, such as Uniclass or OmniClass. Mr. Nechyba gave the example of a window that has dozens of classes in the previously mentioned classification systems, whereas in the CCI classification it is one class. This more simple approach enables use of the same class for one element throughout the whole lifecycle process from design, through construction, to facility management and operations without having to change the classification.

Jaroslav Nechyba at the CCIC seminar

The next speaker, Raido Puust from Tallinn University of Technology and The Chair of the Technical Committee of CCIC, described the current situation of CCI implementation in Estonia. In Estonia, the requirement of The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to develop a building classification system was established in 2018. Over the following years, the CCI-EE system was developed, using CCI as a basis and extending it with the Estonian data standard (CCI-EE). Raido Puust then presented two pilot projects. This is an existing cruise ship terminal where CCI-EE has been tested for cost management. The second example is the digitalization of the Tallinn University campus, where CCI-EE will be used in digitization of 15 buildings and will be further used for facility management and operations.

The description of the current situation with adaptation of CCI in the Czech Republic was again taken up by Jaroslav Nechyba. The national BIM strategy was presented, including CCI and the Data Standard for Buildings (DSS). Plans for linking CCI to other governmental agendas, such as use within the Czech Office of Surveying and Cadaster, The Register of Territorial Identification, Addresses and Real Estate or the Czech Statistical Office and subsequent use for example for construction management or tax collection, were also mentioned.

This was followed by a presentation of Elzbieta Wielechowska from Poland, where the situation with the BIM mandate is a bit less advanced compared to the situation in the Czech Republic or Estonia. In Poland, it was only in 2022 that discussions have started with the state apparatus to envision the requirements for a BIM mandate and a working group will be formed in 2023. However, buldingSMART Poland representatives in this group will promote the use of CCI and CCI-PL, which is extended Polish classification system. The Polish colleagues are inspired by neighboring countries where the preparation of digitization of the construction industry is a little further along, such as the Czech Republic.

The presentation by Martin Mišún from BIM Association Slovakia shed light on the situation in this country. The support from the state apparatus here is also not at the same level as in Scandinavia, for example, but the situation is starting to move in the right direction. In 2021 four working groups have been established to work on digital building standards. The Slovak association is working closely with their Czech colleagues with the expectation that CCI will be used as a standard classification system. The translation of the CCI tables into Slovak language was completed last year and the plan is to create a similar website with CCI classification and API interface as in the Czech Republic. A new specialized plugin for classifying elements with CCI classes in Autodesk Revit software, Class Feeder by Arkance Systems CZ, was introduced. CCI tables available in Class Feeder are currently localized in English and Czech languages. The BIM Association Slovakia is planning to create an open API for the Slovak CCI translation database so that similar tools could use Slovak language CCI tables. As a brand new application, Class Feeder will be available free to use until the 30th June 2023. Users can access the Class Feeder application currently for free, just by filling the request form. After June 30th, commercial sales of this application will start.

Martin Mišún presents Class Feeder for Revit at the CCIC seminar

After the lunch break, the presentation by Gunnar Friborg from Denmark started. The presentation was very interesting, as Denmark started working on the requirements for the use of classification systems in the public sector back in 2007 and the author of the presentation was there from the beginning. Thus, in the framework of the Cuneco project, between 2011 and 2015, they developed a CCI classification system based on international standards. The development happened in collaboration with representatives from the public and private sector. One of the main requirements was for the classification system to work well in coordination with IFC. Most publicly funded construction projects today thus require the use of CCI or the Danish version of this system, CCS. CCI/CCS is adopted in many software solutions and is also used for facility management. On top of the CCI/CCS classification system, a system of standardized entity properties called the Molio dictionary has been developed. In the last four years work has started on the use of CCI in infrastructure projects, where CCI is now starting to be used on pilot projects in both the public and private sectors, such as in the design of the Femern tunnel, Denmark's largest infrastructure project. Gunnar Friborg points out that the implementation of CCI to production has taken a long time and a long time horizon should not be feared.

Gunnar Friborg presents At the CCIC seminar

The subsequent presentation by Andreas Persson from Sweden was conceived from the perspective of a property owner (AB Familjebostäder is the public real estate company owned by the Stockholm municipality) and generally described the use of the CoClass system for these purposes. CoClass is a classification system used in Sweden, similar in structure to CCI.

Jiří Buneš then presented experiences with pilot projects from the Czech Republic. He presented not only the experience with the use of the classification system, but also the identification part and use of data templates. The first two pilot projects shown were road construction infrastructure projects, followed by examples from the building environment. Practical application was shown mainly on the examples of property management and a renovation project of Prague Airport. This was followed by a demonstration of the idea of using CCI for construction management, technical infrastructure construction and urban planning. Jiří Buneš concluded by emphasizing that currently the deployment of CCI depends mainly on the personal initiative of individuals. He also added, that companies which have deployed CCI on pilot projects will continue to use it in the future after positive experience with the classification system.

A presentation on the use of CCI in Lithuania was given by Mindaugas Kiriejevas from The Construction Sector Development Agency and Darius Pupeikis from Kaunas University of Technology. In Lithuania, BIM mandate is being prepared for oversized construction contracts (contracts over 5 million Euro). Furthermore the NSIK, which is the Lithuanian national classification system, is under development and is based on the CCI. This classification system was presented by Darius Pupeikis in depth.

At the end of the day Mindaugas Kiriejevas signed the accession documents and Lithuania became the fifth member of the CCIC.

Mindaugas Kiriejevas signs Lithuania's CCIC accession agreement with Jaan Saar

It is evident from the whole seminar that in all concerned countries, the application of the BIM mandate and consequently the CCI classification system faces the same challenges and individual countries can learn a lot from each other. The CCI classification system appears to be a good basis for classification and subsequent work with data within the requirements of both the public and private sectors from design, through construction to facility management and operations. A broader data system is being developed in each country, with CCI as a basic building bloc, whether it is Czech Construction Data Standard (DSS), Estonian CCI-EE, Lithuanian NSIK, Polish CCI-PL, Estonian CCI-EE or the Danish Molio dictionary. These systems have different names and are adapted to the needs of different countries, but the purpose is the same with all of them. The most advanced country with regards to BIM mandate and classification is obviously Denmark, but positive developments can be seen in all countries which were presented on the seminar.

If you are interested in learning more about CCI and the situation regarding the standardization of BIM classification systems in different countries, the full seminar was recorded in the video below.