Domain Problems and Motivations

Every aspect of the built environment is subject to conformance throughout its entire life-cycle with a diverse range of requirements from the design brief, legal norms and standards, construction specifications, to operational policies. The compliance auditing task involves an enormous amount of information to share and process.

The conventional practice in the AEC/FM (architecture, engineering, construction and facilities management) domain is to exchange building information via paper-based drawings and written specifications. The compliance auditing task has been a manual undertaking to check information gathered from these drawings and specifications against voluminous paper-based legal texts written in natural language intended for human interpretation. The current practice is inefficient, resource-intensive, and error-prone, which has contributed to many costly remediation of problem buildings and even loss of lives. It has also been identified as a factor for declining productivity in the industry (see the graph below that shows the productivity improvement in the manufacturing domain globally over the years in comparison to that of the construction domain).

low productivity graph

vol of consents
Ref. Trading Economics (

A Practical Solution

The ‘ACABIM’ approach takes advantage of the recent technology of sharing digital building information via ISO16739 building information modelling (BIM), which promotes better collaboration and provides opportunities for automation in the compliant building design and approval processes. The key aspect of the approach is utilising the strengths of human experts and machines as appropriate: human experts assign trivial yet tedious tasks for machines to execute but remain responsible for final compliance decisions. This human-guided automation approach allows existing compliance audit procedures (CAP) (e.g. checklists and flowcharts) to be formalised to guide the auditing process.

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An innovative and practical automated cloud-based compliance audit system that supports the ISO-standard building information models (BIM) and other open standards