Date of Award

Fall 12-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

Dia Ali

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Mohammed Rahman

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Ras Pandey

Committee Member 3 Department

Physics and Astronomy

Committee Member 4

Ray Seyfarth

Committee Member 4 Department


Committee Member 5

Jian Chen

Committee Member 5 Department



The author developed a unified nD framework and process ontology for Building Information Modeling (BIM). The research includes a framework developed for 6D BIM, nD BIM, and nD ontology that defines the domain and sub-domain constructs for future nD BIM dimensions. The nD ontology defines the relationships of kinds within any new proposed dimensional domain for BIM. The developed nD BIM framework and ontology takes into account the current 2D-5D BIM dimensions. There is a synergy between the 6D and nD framework that allows the nD framework and ontology to be utilized as a unified template for future dimensional development. Future dimensions for BIM are referred as nD dimensions. The Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Facility Management (AEC/FM) industries are suffering from many problems in the area of interoperability among BIM dimensions. All nD dimensions must be interoperable. The congestion between interoperable dimensions and communication among AEC/FM stakeholders are the main problems to be resolved. The objective of the research is to solve these problems by utilizing one single nD framework and ontology for nD BIMs. The AEC/FM industries can benefit from the developed 6D framework, nD framework and nD process ontology. nD dimensions must have ontological rules that clearly define the new dimension. The AEC/FM needs non-abstract dimensions to succeed in the areas of seamless dimensional integration, interoperability, round tripping of dimensional data, and precise collaboration among stakeholders. Defined dimensions allow future dimensions to be implemented in an integrated workflow. nD ontology demonstrates new dimensional domain K' shall be defined while also explicitly defining its subset-domains {K1, K2…Kn}, and subset domains K shall contain some x information for interoperability among dimensions that are within K'. The research contributions are the framework and ontology for nD BIM. The author conducted case studies that validate the nD methodology. The case studies show that the methodology of the input, output, control and mechanism are correct and the theory can be utilized in application for the AEC/FM and is applicable for other industries. Other contributions include the custom web-based BimServer that serves as the central repository for harvesting all control data within nD BIMs and allows all stakeholders to participate on projects in real-time via an embedded virtual environment in the BimServer. The nD BIM methodology consists of one object-oriented parametric product data model as the input and the output. A relational database is the mechanism for the nD BIM process that distributes the dimensional data. The database is the crux of the nD BIM and it allows the interoperability between the nD dimensions and querying of the nD parametric product data.