Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Abidemi Owolabi


Development of an Integrated Product Information Management System

Project Title

Development of an Integrated product Information Management System




Professor CJ Anumba
Professor A El-Hamalawi

Ms Xiu Feng

Director of Research:
Professor Andrew Price

Research period

2000 - 2004

Development of an Integrated product Information Management System


Product details including design, properties, history, costs, availability, installation and maintenance information, are needed for building projects. Manufacturers maintain their product details using different hardware, software environment, storage media, representation and presentation. Research organisations and testing agencies also produce and individually maintain some details about specific products or materials. Designers, specifiers and facility managers require these details to assist in selection of appropriate materials and components, assessment of viability of design options, production of specifications, completion dates forecasting, costings, etc.

Product libraries should not only involve creation and acquisition of product information but also transfer and modification of this information to reflect new knowledge and insight, that is, product libraries should possess some intelligence. With the current system, a great deal of information is lost and a lot of time is wasted in searching from one source to another. This project would exploit the use of intelligent product libraries designed to conform to emerging standards for representation and exchange of product data.

Aims and Objectives

To develop frameworks and prototype applications for maintaining product libraries that incorporate intelligence.

To investigate current approaches to the development of product libraries

  • To establish construction industry requirements for intelligent product libraries
  • To develop a prototype applications that meets the identified industry requirements
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of the prototype applications using real cases

Methods and Current Status

Building Information Warehouse (BIW) Limited currently provides web-based environment for sharing of building information and management of building projects. This knowledge base and information gateway would facilitate the development of a centralised or a single-entry point to manufacturers product libraries. The following methods would be used to achieve this:

  • Extensive literature research with evaluation of existing systems
  • Requirement engineering for intelligent product libraries
  • Appraisal of applicable software technologies and platforms
  • Design, implementation and testing of prototype applications

Benefits and Expected Outcomes

The results of this project would assist manufacturers in communicating product information and provide designers, specifiers and facility managers with relevant, qualitative information.

Owolabi, A. A., Anumba, C. J. and El-Hamalawi, A. (2003). Towards implementing integrated building product libraries. Construction Innovation 3(3), 175–194.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14714170310814927

Owolabi, A., Anumba, C. J. and El-Hamalawi, A. (2003). Architecture for implementing IFC-based online construction product libraries. ITcon Vol. 8, 201–218. Special Issue IFC - Product models for the AEC arena, Edited by: Vaino Tarandi.

Owolabi, A. ... et al. (2004). Development of an Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) Assembly Viewer. ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering. 10.1061/(ASCE)0887-3801(2006)20:2(121), 121-131.

Owolabi, A.A. ... et al. (2004). ifcEXPRESS.NET: Mapping EXPRESS to .NET for IFC Development, Proceedings: Concurrent Engineering: The Worldwide Engineering Grid, Sobolewski, M and Cha, A, 11th ISPE Conference on Concurrent Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing China, August, pp. 1181-1186, ISBN 7-302-08802-0.



Contact us

+44 (0)1509 222623

The Centre Administrator
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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