Tag Archives: Newforma

Flashback 2005: IFC Becomes a “Newforma” Interoperability Standard Across in the Building Industry

Flashback 2005.  Jim Forester, as President of Marinsoft, is one of the six members of the then IAI  (later to become buildingSMART) that is developing the initial framework of the IFC model. Assisting in the effort is Ian Howell, the then V.P. of Business Development at Citadon and one of the original founders of the global consortium of commercial companies and research organizations that became the IAI in 1995, whilst Ian was a Director of Autodesk.

In 2005, as directors of a new startup called Newforma, Jim and Ian wrote an article that was published by AECBytes outlining the opportunity that IFC presented to “revolutionise” the building industry. The scene was set to image a Utopic era of 3D vendor neutral collaboration, and Jim and Ian where leading the charge with a “new form of” interoperability standard across the building industry.  That article can be found at this link.

Why the history lesson?

In 2011, I had the opportunity to work directly with Jim and Ian whilst I was account director for Newforma in ANZ. After several meetings with them in Australia and America, I can attest to their drive, enthusiasm and obvious technical insight and vision for the entire AEC industry.

Now, as I  work with Solibri utilising IFC across all sectors of the building industry, its a great thing to see that their initial idea has now developed into a truly international open BIM standard featuring a rich set of  definitions designed specifically to enable unambiguous exchange of data between approximately 150 registered software applications.

With the upcoming release of IFC4, which will see new features including NURBS geometry, constraints, libraries and mvdXML, the IFC project commenced some 20 years ago by Jim and Ian will continue to facilitate interoperability across the building industry and beyond.


Newforma is a venture-funded software development company serving architecture, engineering, construction, and owner-operator (AECO) companies. Newforma aims to dramatically increase the effectiveness and productivity of the AECO industry by developing software that enables the seamless flow of information between every building project team member, in support of both project and business processes.

Jim Forester is Chief Data Architect of Newforma.  Jim is a registered mechanical engineer and his professional background includes software development, design content, and consulting services to the AECO industry.

Ian Howell is Chief Executive Officer of Newforma. Ian is an Australian architect, a co-founder of the International Alliance for Interoperability (now buildingSMART), and has extensive experience in applied technology in the building industry, both as a director at Autodesk and as vice president of Citadon.