After years of chugging along, the development of the nation's first consensus-based standard for the use of building information modeling is finally picking up steam. The buildingSMART alliance, which is releasing the National BIM Standard-United States, or NBIMS-US, says a version of the standard will be out by year's end. Beginning on Aug. 3, the 30-day public-comment period will broach the 45 topics that form the core of the standard.

“We're out of the back room,” says Deke Smith, executive director of the alliance, which is a council of the National Institute of Building Sciences, Washington, D.C.

Smith and his colleagues have been working on the standard for a decade. The alliance released the first version in 2007, but it was not really a helpful standard because, at that time, “there really wasn't much to standardize,” says Smith. “[But it] prepared the industry to develop an infrastructure for creating the standard.”

As BIM use spread, momentum for a consensus standard picked up, reaching a tipping point last year, says Smith. The alliance currently has 190 members.

The new version of NBIMS-US will include best practices and guidelines, such as the “BIM Project Execution Planning Guide,” in addition to the standards, which can be verified. NBIMS-US is likely to contain data exchange information on steel BIM as well as several other information exchanges. These include the “Construction Operations Building information exchange,” or COBie.

Instructions on how to comment on the subject ballots, on which eligible members will vote starting on Sept. 21, is available at

The third version of the standard is already in the works. It will likely include standards for sharing digital data with facilities managers as well as BIM standards for precast and poured-in-place concrete.