metaTGA - Metadata and process models for open BIM in building service engineering

The objective of this research project is to design a methodology for developing data and process models and to apply them by modelling selected MEP systems. A particular but not exclusive focus is put on the renewable heating technologies, e.g. heat pumps, solar heat and biomass as well as ventilation systems. The data and process models developed in this research project will be scientifically evaluated in two pilot projects. The models, the approaches taken during development and the project team’s experiences with the pilot application of the models will be disseminated openly.

Short Description




The European Commission sees digital technologies as a key to achieving the "Green Deal" goals, especially in the construction sector. MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) systems play an important role in this context. Aspects such as energy efficiency, quality of use or the use of renewable energy are strongly influenced by the quality of the design, installation and operation of MEP systems. The use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) represents a fundamental technological leap in the construction business that will affect all players along the value chain in the medium to long term. Properly designed MEP models are crucial to successful BIM modeling and hence to the success of BIM-based construction projects and to the overall design quality of buildings. The state of the art shows that a continuous lifecycle-oriented application is hardly achievable with available openBIM data models of MEP components and systems. However, this is important in order to exploit the full potential of the BIM methodology and to help to achieve the goals in the building sector.

The overall objective of the research project was therefore to contribute to increase the quality and depth of metadata in BIM models for MEP and thus to strengthen the openBIM approach in this area. For this purpose, the project team developed a method which enables the systematic and structured compilation and mapping of MEP metadata by means of properties as well as process models, which show the application of the developed methods in openBIM projects. A particular focus was put on renewable heating technologies (heat pumps, solar heat and biomass) as well as on ventilation systems. These technologies are important for sustainable building designs. Active involvement of stakeholders in the identification of practical requirements was an important goal of this project, as was the broad dissemination of the project results.

In order to achieve these goals, a universal process for compiling and applying metadata has been developed in this research project. This process is divided into four parts: Requirements definition, metadata harvesting, structuring of metadata and phase modeling as well as application in BIM projects. By implementing this process in the metaTGA project, properties and project phase information (metadata) were developed for selected MEP components. Model checking rules for quality assurance were subsequently developed on this basis. In addition, the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) standard was used to model the investigated processes. The process models show how MEP components can be created and used in openBIM. The developed metadata and process models were evaluated in two pilot projects and the evaluation process was monitored by the scientific project partners. This enabled the project team to assess the practical applicability of the developed approaches.

Metadata for 56 heating and ventilation system components were developed and implemented in a database system for further application in openBIM projects. The selected heating system components included the following renewable energy technologies: heat pumps, solar thermal systems and biomass boilers. More than 800 structured properties facilitate the detailed BIM modelling of entire heating and ventilation systems. In addition, rules for automatic model checking were implemented for the components. BPMN models were implemented for the process of harvesting and mapping metadata as well as for the application of the data in openBIM projects. The main findings of the stakeholder process and the pilot application were summarized in a guideline. The guideline as well as the developed metadata and BPMN models were published after completion of the.

From the feedback received during the stakeholder process and dissemination activities, it can be concluded that there is considerable potential for the future practical application of the project results. Experience gained by the commercial project partners during the pilot application of the developed methods confirm this potential. These partners will continue to use the project results in the future. The application of the developed methods and metadata lead to improved internal processes and help to sensitize clients to the possibilities of openBIM. Furthermore, the use of the developed models leads to a better understanding of BIM processes in companies and facilitates the communication of BIM processes in projects. The processes developed are of universal nature and can therefore also be applied to other areas of the construction sector. The implemented metadata of the selected MEP components can serve as a starting point for the development of further components. Future research should aim at the automation of individual process steps in order to reduce the need for manual processing and also at applying the metadata in specific use cases. The project results can also be used by standardization committees to further develop BIM standards.

Project Partners

Project management

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Michael Monsberger, Graz University of Technology, Institute for Construction Management and Economics, Integrated Building Systems Work Group

Project or cooperation partners

  • AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
  • tbw solutions ZT GesmbH – Office for Digital Engineering
  • TBH Ingenieur GmbH

Contact Address

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Michael Monsberger
Graz University of Technology
Lessingstraße 27/I
A-8010 Graz
Tel.: + 43 (316) 873 6255