Data is held in a central ‘hub’ where geometry and other data (parametrically defined or otherwise) drives processes related to the holistic design of the building.
Changes from the structural analysis, testing, construction-staging, fire engineering and architectural coordination are held centrally in the ‘Central Data Hub’. Changes are not undertaken at the branches, but instead fed back to those managing the model held in the hub.
The organisation of this workflow is much like a client-server model seen in many IT systems.
The benefit of this method of working is that all changes are synchronised across disciplines and all consultants, contractors, etc. are working on the most up-to-date and fully federated model which is consistent between all designers.
Interoperability does not need to be complicated or involve high-end programming or scripting. It can often be as simple as using a spreadsheet as a container to move data between different software packages. Many commonly used programs have already developed strong interoperability links, for example between analysis and documentation/BIM products.
There are often discontinuities in these processes as they are rarely perfect, but there are always work-around solutions so getting familiar with the software and knowing the limitations is an important part of the process. By defining workflows and understanding the capabilities of software, an initial investment of time will bring efficiencies in delivery.