Two Columns, One Subject?  
More on aecXML

by Sheldon Wolfe, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA

electronic documents

considering the potential impact of aecXML on specifications and other construction documents, CSI should be an active participant rather than an observer

part 1 - intro 

part 2 - HTML 

part 3 - XML 

part 4 - e-docs 
and CSI

part 5 - aecXML developments 



While at the convention in Atlanta, I was asked "Why are you writing two computer columns?" and "What's the deal with aecXML?"

As many readers know, I write at least two articles every month. "GUI Bytes", my longest-running column, does indeed address computers, software, the Internet, and related issues. The other, which usually appears under the title "TechNotes", discusses issues that are technical in the sense used by CSI. In other words, the second column is about technical construction documents, CSI's technical document policies, and technical committee issues.

Looking back at the last few months, it does appear as if both columns have been about computers. The reason is that the technical columns have been about electronic documents, rather than paper documents. It is becoming increasingly difficult to discuss any subject today without including computers, and we are now at the point where construction documents are becoming electronic.

behind the curve?

In a news release dated 30 September 1999, it was reported that "The first meeting of the aecXML Project occurred September 15, 1999, simultaneously in Dallas, Texas and Reading, UK, via Microsoft's satellite teleconference facilities. Participants hailed the meeting as an unqualified success, and were quick to sign up to serve on five working groups to continue the work of creating aecXML as a new Internet framework for project communication."

Included in that news release was a list of nearly forty companies and organizations who participated in this seminal event. Among them were AIA, ARCOM, Autodesk, Bentley , BidCom, Blueline Online, BricsNet, BuildNet, Build-Online, BuildPoint, eBricks, IAI, McGraw-Hill, Owner/Operator Forum, Primavera, and R.S. Means.

Notably absent from the list of attendees was CSI. We were represented to some degree, as CSI is participating in IAI (International Alliance for Interoperability), but this is a tenuous connection at best. Considering the potential impact of aecXML on specifications and all other construction documents, CSI should be an active participant rather than an observer.

The press release also included a summary of objectives, which further illustrates the need to be involved. The objectives were to:

  • Establish an organizational structure and operational procedures for the Project

  • Form a Board, Technical Committee(s) and discipline/domain-specific working groups

  • Review all contributions to date regarding the aecXML draft specification

  • Refine and expand aecXML use scenarios and implementation strategies

  • Provide overall information and feedback on the initial progress, present schedule and future direction of aecXML.

And with that, I'll move on to other subjects, at least until there is more news about aecXML.

2000 Sheldon Wolfe, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA
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