The application of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the assessment of existing structures can contribute to a more realistic assessment of infrastructure facilities and thus to their longer and more sustainable use. Diagnostic or Structural Information (SI) data is an important component of BIM models in as-built assessment, especially when as-built documents are not available or the structures show damage and defects. As part of the openSIM research project, we are working with five project partners to develop solutions for using SI data more efficiently. The aim of the project is to define standards for the integration and supply of SI data across the entire process of inventory assessment and to test them in practice. In particular, these will also form the basis of future predictive maintenance of infrastructure facilities with digital twins, based on a wide range of data sources (structure monitoring, diagnostics and structure inspection).

The openSIM project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport within the framework of the mFUND innovation initiative with a total of € 2.1 Mil.


A reliable way to obtain information about the current condition of an existing structure is to examine it using a wide variety of diagnostic methods. However, the SI data obtained in this way is very heterogeneous. Usually, this is delivered in the form of a report as a PDF or printout. Digitization in the construction industry and, in particular, the BIM methodology offer a basis for rethinking and restructuring this analog way of working. This is because the SI data obtained hold great potential for an even more precise and efficient evaluation of the existing building stock that goes beyond the purely external impression. The data provides a view into the interior of the building. On the basis of this expanded databasis, it is usually possible to achieve more economical repair solutions for problematic structures, including extended use. However, there has been a lack of consistency in terms of supply, processing and use of SI data up to now. Standards in the form of uniform data schemes or data formats are missing.

Project goal

The goal of the openSIM project is to standardize supply and processing of SI data. In this way, when applying the BIM method in connection with existing structures, all participants along the entire process chain can use the SI data included in the BIM model as efficiently as possible. To this end, uniform standards, processes and methods for processing and visualizing the data are to be defined. In addition, the definition of uniform open interfaces, data formats and data provision tools based on the Open BIM approach is necessary. In the long term, the project thus contributes to the preservation of the existing infrastructure. The results will be summarized in a pre-normative guideline.


First, the status quo around the use of SI data in the assessment of existing structures will be identified. For this purpose, topics such as the requirements of clients and users of the corresponding data, which are usually present in the context of diagnostic investigations, will be addressed, and national and international BIM standards will be examined. Among other things, an overview of the usual investigation methods for obtaining SI data as well as practice-relevant investigation objectives and the requirement for SI data with regard to their integration in the context of the digital twin will be provided. From an IT perspective, possible data interfaces and data processing requirements are defined. In addition, a structured process chain is created with the individual responsibilities and their respective information needs for task fulfillment in the context of the inventory assessment.  

From this, the subject-specific requirements for the results to be developed as part of the project are derived. With the help of a SWOT analysis, the further project phases are specified. Based on this, possible solutions are developed, which are tested and further developed iteratively on real structures and issues. Given the objective of defining maximum uniform and scalable standards, infrastructure facilities from the road, rail and waterway sectors will be taken into account. During the project, an intensive exchange with partners from practice and science will take place.

Expected Results

As a project result, a prenormative guideline in the form of a code of practice of all process steps of the as-built assessment will be developed. This guideline is intended to provide holistic and practice-oriented assistance for diagnostic projects in which the BIM method is applied. The guideline is aimed at clients, building owners, planners and inspectors. The relevance of the guideline and the entire research project is significant and will continue to grow steadily since as-built assessment is an essential component for efficient, sustainable, and resource-saving infrastructure management.

Project partners

Six interdisciplinary partners from science and practice have teamed up for the openSIM project. In addition to our professorship, these are:

  • Marx Krontal Partner: experienced in building diagnostics (non-destructive/low-impact material testing), building monitoring, innovation driver in the field of digital transformation of the building industry and project coordinator of the openSIM project.
  • Bau-Consult Hermsdorf GmbH: Experienced engineering company with the use of BIM in new construction and as-built evaluation
  • customQuake: Implementation of cloud-based applications, specification and development of service-oriented data interfaces based on open standards
  • Hamburg Port Authority, AöR: BIM methodology in numerous new construction and existing projects, infrastructure operator and facility manager for engineering structures
  • MFPA life cycle material engineering: Application, evaluation and assessment of wave-based measurement methods in civil engineering

Project advisory board

In order to achieve broad networking in science, administration and practice, a project advisory board was initiated, whose members include the following institutions and facilities:

About the mFUND of the BMDV

As part of the mFUND innovation initiative, the BMDV has been funding data-based research and development projects for the digital and interconnected mobility of the future since 2016. Project funding is complemented by active professional networking between stakeholders from politics, business, administration, and research as well as by the provision of open data on the Mobilithek.

Schickert, Martin; Artus, Mathias; Koch, Christian (2022). Integration and Visualization of NDE Data in Digital Building Models - A conceptual view at International Symposium Non-Destructive Testing in Civil Engineering.