Phase II - Masonry Unit Model Definition

In this first project, BIM-M will work with a workgroup of masonry suppliers to develop requirements for digital representation of masonry units.

The goal here is to develop a data structure to capture geometric, aesthetic, and non-geometric data needed to select, specify and purchase masonry units. This database foundation can act as a downstream basis for digital product catalogs, web-based product selection applications, masonry e-commerce, cost- estimating and the BIM applications to be developed later in the masonry project. The masonry unit model definition can be compared to the database of structural steel shapes, created by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) that forms the data foundation for structural steel modeling and fabrication software.

Project Tasks Completed

  1. Survey masonry unit suppliers to determine all of the information that should be included in the model definition.
  2. Review and critique existing internal data structures used by masonry manufacturers.
  3. Host face-to-face working group meeting for stakeholder input.
  4. Develop interface requirements for the input of new and custom masonry types.
  5. Prototype initial data structure.

Tasks to be Completed

  1. Provide a first generation of this data structure with selected masonry units instantiated in the database.
  2. Deliver data structure to stakeholders for their input of masonry units.
  3. Demonstrate input of masonry unit into CAD software from the database.
  4. Revise data structure based on stakeholder feedback.
  5. Publish specification for data structure.


The project has been led by Georgia Tech with participation by NCMA, BIA, WSCPA and the Cast Stone Institute. Future efforts will include the cut stone industry.

Masonry Industry Project Manager

Jeff Elder, Interstate Brick

Prime Contractor

Digital Building Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology (GT)
Russell Gentry - Project Manager

Industry Committees

Material Suppliers Working Group (MSWG)

Milestones Anticipated

March 20, 2016 - Receive RFPs from software developers to create a Masonry Unit Database (MUD) using generic units.
March 28, 2016 - possible award of contract for MUD development
June 2016 - Delivery of MUD, MUD Input and Validation Module and 200 units: 23 May 2016
July 2016 - Delivery of MUD website
September 2016 - Delivery of MUD geometry export module
November 2016 - Delivery or Revit Plug-In for MUD
July 2017 - Transition of website to BIM-M