Federated Building Models in collaborative AEC/FM settings using IPFS

Jyrki Oraskari, Jakob Beetz, Seppo Törmä

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientificpeer-review


The highly dynamic composition of actors, processes, and products in the building industry imposes significant challenges on the organization of data and information flows. The coordinated transmission and synchronization of information across organizational boundaries are facing severe scalability, reliability and security challenges. The concept of Linked Building Data has been identified as a potential means to overcome some of these challenges by shifting the paradigm of collaborative information creation from traditional file-based approaches towards dynamically composed graphs federated across networks. However, even though core technologies such as interoperable Building Information Models have reached the level of international standardization (ifcOWL), efficient, domain-specific methods and tools for processing this information have received only a little attention so far. For example, in the context of Linked Building Data, the odds of a broken link can limit the potential of the Building Information Models.

In this context, the permanent web of data created by the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is promising. IPFS is a peer-to-peer distributed file system that uses the cryptographic checksums of file content for addressing and linking data. It has its roots in GIT, BitTorrent, distributed hash tables, and Self-Certified Filesystems. IPFS addresses the typical availability problems of Internet data, i.e., the limited lifespan of the content, limited resources, blocking firewalls, and services that are out of business. IPFS has been designed to be interoperable with the existing Web protocols: it aims to put them on a more solid footing by replacing underlying technology layers with more advanced solutions.

In this paper, we analyze the benefits and limitations of IPFS technology to implement linked building data compared with RESTFul architectures. A use case in distributed collaborative settings in the AEC/FM sector using evolving multi-domain models is used to evaluate the work.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventInternational Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering - Tampere Hall, Tampere, Finland
Duration: 5 Jun 20187 Jun 2018
Conference number: 17


ConferenceInternational Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering
Abbreviated titleICCCBE
Internet address


  • BIM
  • RDF
  • IPFS
  • ifcOWL
  • Linked Data
  • Web


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