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ECLASS for BIM: Gerald Lobermeier in an interview

As a specialist for the digital infrastructure in Phoenix Contact, Mr. Lobermeier focuses on the consistency of digital data and data continuity. He has also been active in committees such as ECLASS for over 15 years and is since December 2022 the head of the cross-expert group “Building Information management”. We ask Gerald our questions.

Gerald Lobermeier in interview, Photo: Phoenix Contact
Gerald Lobermeier in interview, Photo: Phoenix Contact

Gerald, you took over the leadership of the Cross Expert Group BIM in December 2022. What are the tasks / goals of this Expert Group?

BIM stands for Building Information Management and means that all relevant information of a building is mapped digitally. This facilitates both the planning, the technical building equipment and the facility management of a building. Our goal in the CEG BIM is to enable all partners involved in this process to access standardized ECLASS data. For this purpose, we will develop concrete use cases. Based on the requirements, we can then derive where ECLASS can be applied. In addition, we will be involved in the BIM initiatives of other bodies such as VDMA and DKE and organizations such as buildingSMART.


To what extent does this influence the further development of the ECLASS Standard?

If you look at the different phases in building design, both the depth of information and the way in which information is used vary greatly. If a room is to be air-conditioned, requirements for an air-conditioning system, for example, must be described with ECLASS properties. In later operation, the operating data for that air conditioning system are then recorded - with the same ECLASS properties, but in a different context. This problem will certainly lead to enhancements of ECLASS.


Your employer, Phoenix Contact, is very involved in the topic of BIM. What is the motivation behind this?

Phoenix Contact's distinct strategy is the All Electric Society. The vision of the future of the AES describes a world in which energy from renewable resources is available in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices. In addition to the consistent generation and use of renewable energy, the reduction of primary energy demand through efficiency measures and the creation of intelligent and networked systems are the keys to a sustainable future.


How can this work?

In order to use the regeneratively generated energy according to demand, this requires solutions and technologies for electrification, networking and automation to realize sector coupling. Of course, this also concerns buildings, their infrastructure and the relevant processes - i.e. BIM.


… and what role does ECLASS play in this?

We see the Digital Twin, the Asset Administration Shell and, of course, ECLASS as enablers for the above-mentioned sector coupling. Without standardized data, it will be very difficult to realize digitalization across sectors.


Can you give us an outlook on how ECLASS will be used in Building Information Modeling in the long term?

I am convinced that the concept of the Asset Administration Shell - as the Digital Twin is precisely called - can become established for buildings as well. In the Asset Administration Shell, all aspects of an object are described by partial models. These in turn contain ECLASS. I will go into details in my presentation at the congress: "AAS-powered Digital Twins: The Future of Building Information Management", September 27, 2023, 13:30 pm.

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