While on of the benefits discussed ad nauseum about BIM is the ability to find and fix problems digitally the other is the hope of interoperability, that data will seamlessly port from one program to the next, energy analysis, to collision detection, etc. with that in mind we have the NIBS (National Institute of Building Sciences) and NBIMS (National Building Information Modeling Standard). NIBS NBIMS, kind or rolls of the tongue, like three month old jelly but it is available HERE. The reason for pushing the standard is for “the acceptance of an open data model of facilities.” The UK, has also published their own, available HERE which begs the question where is the International BIM Standard (IBIMS) because if we want to best put a lasso around this thing best to be under one big tent. Okay that’s a tremendous overuse of metaphors, and granted I have not gone over each on in detail to see where they may diverge but it would seem the manufacturers who sell globally would have a big interest in a single standard and the ability to produce an ‘object’ to one standard rather than many and that alone should push the agenda.
As for the data transportation between object we have IFCXML schema that is meant to be the open standard that will allow this, and if you want to get technical read the article from Dr. Mhamed Nour in the Journal of Information Technology in Construction (www.itcon.org), the title of the article Performance of Different of BIM/IFC Exchange Formats suggests that there is flavors within IFC itself, from a lay perspective this seems well too open.