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Graph-Based Retrieval of Building Information Models for Early-Stage Design Support

Christoph Langenhan; Markus Weber; Marcus Liwicki; Frank Petzold; Andreas Dengel
In: Advanced Engineering Informatics Journal, Vol. 27, No. 4, Pages 413-426, Elsevier, 10/2013.


Building information modeling (BIM) principles are transforming today’s communication and working processes in the field of construction, however the early design phases are only rarely supported and information technology is therefore not exploited to its full potential. The early design phases are characterized by an iterative process of searching for plausible solutions. A common approach is to refer to similar examples, which are conventionally found using keyword-based search strategies. To this end we propose a method for indexing spatial configurations along with a sketch-based input method for search strategies that uses so-called semantic fingerprints of buildings. The topology of spatial configurations is extracted from building information models and represented as graphs. For both building information models and the user sketches, the extracted graphs are used as the basis for a subgraph-matching algorithm facilitating an intuitive novel query method for researching similar reference examples. The system is able to present corresponding existing solutions to even rudimentary sketches or fragments of a design idea. In addition to graph matching and sketch-based interaction, more recent BIM-based approaches are also taken into account.