AbstractAdvanced information technologies provide an opportunity to radically improve the business process of the architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO) industry. The concept of interoperability, characterized as the representation of information and seamless exchange across interdisciplinary system domains, significantly influences the industry to leverage emerging digital technologies. However, just as representation and exchange contribute, an integrative method for organizing lifecycle information plays a vital role in achieving optimized interoperability. In a practical setting, breakdown structures have been used extensively to organize diverse types of project information for decades and are a vital tool for technical information integration. Nevertheless, their complex characteristics, user-specific ways of construction, and availability of heterogeneous classifications to refer to make integration less coordinated. To address this problem, this paper presents an integrative concept (named unified breakdown structure) and proves its viability. First, fundamental principles and characteristics of breakdown structures were discussed to examine their complexity. Then, an integrative concept was presented, and its viability was examined through an investigation of several cases incorporated with key assessment variables. The findings have revealed that the proposed approach is feasible enough to integrate lifecycle information and be used as a practical integration mechanism.Practical ApplicationThis paper proposes an approach to integrating facility lifecycle information by introducing a separate set of breakdown structures (named primary breakdown structures). This set of structures will help keep a consistent facet (i.e., identifiers used to construct breakdown structure) across the remaining secondary breakdown structures, thus making information integration more coordinated and exchange smoother. The case analysis validates the proposed concept, showing it to be a useful approach in terms of maximizing the integration within and across disciplinary domains in the industry. For practitioners, the approach minimizes the effort and time spent translating and exchanging the complex range of facility information by keeping homogeneous facets to construct information. Furthermore, as broader data linkage through common data environments is becoming more common, the proposed approach provides a meaningful insight toward simplifying the complexity of constructing secondary breakdown structures in an integrative manner. Additionally, the introduced approach would help the industry efficiently utilize advanced technologies through the advent of optimized integration mechanisms.

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