About $10.5 billion of that cost is incurred during operations and maintenance and is borne by owners and operators, the report concludes. It adds, however, that respondents to the survey used to generate the data said there are significant additional inefficiency and lost opportunity costs associated with the issue that were not included in the scope of the analysis. Thus, the report concludes, the $15.8 billion estimate "is likely to be a conservative figure."


The 210 page report into the cost of a lack of interoperability was prepared by RTI, a health, social and economics research firm located at Research Triangle Park, N.C. It was sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. A similar RTI study into the cost of a lack of interoperability in the automotive and electronics industry estimated the costs to those industries to be about 1.25% of the total value of shipments, or, in the case of the automotive industry, just over $5 billion per year.

The capital facilities industry study, which was released Aug. 6, can be downloaded at http://www.bfrl.nist.gov/oae/publications/gcrs/04867.pdf

The study focused on commercial, institutional and industrial facilities. The report notes that the industry is changing with the introduction of information technology tools that have the potential to revolutionize it by unifying historically fragmented operations. It examined electronic systems used during the various life cycle phases of facilities, going from the planning, engineering and design phase and on through construction, operations and maintenance to decommissioning.

The report identified CAD, 3-D modeling and Internet- and standards-based design and project collaboration technologies as examples of those tools of opportunity.

Those who stand to gain from increased interoperability are architects and engineers, general contractors, specialty fabricators and suppliers and owners and operators, the report states.


national study designed to estimate how much money is spent in the capital facilities industry to overcome obstacles created because computer aided design, engineering and business process software systems the industry uses cannot exchange data freely, has come up with a number: $15.8 billion in 2002.