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Description of WG

WG2 is responsible for the development of a roadmap of technologies and interoperability procedures that enhance the Heritage Buildings rehabilitation and daily operation. It aims bringing together that sparse knowledge and confined operations on HBs to develop a common framework providing an integrated multidisciplinary expertise, technology and know-how through a novel and independent global framework.

I2MHB provides with its WG2 a unique focused working group on current research and industry issues, and leading edge research developments that makes it a major activity for all who have an interest in, or wonder if they may benefit from, an understanding of the potential opportunities offered by enhanced interoperability in HB systems and applications.

WG2 will develop a White Book, to illustrate the synthesis of interoperability activities that will improve the sustainability aspects related with HBs preservation. This white book will result from the collaboration with local, regional, national and European authorities.

Main tasks and Goals

Topics and Tasks:

1. Semantic of interoperability

  • Reference Ontologies
  • Application of reference ontologies to HB management problems
  • Reasoning, methods and tools for model transformation and data reconciliation

2. Modelling

  • Requirements for the interoperable HB system
  • Methods and tools
  • Proof of concept and assessment in HB interoperability science-based

3. Applications

  • Resilient networks of HB systems
  • Collaborative management of HB systems and applications
  • Tools for Collaborative Decision-Making in HB Networks

4. Services for HB systems’ interoperability

  • Utility and value added services for HB interoperability
  • Service-oriented integrated development environment (IDE) for HB interoperability

5. Implementation of HB Interoperability

  • Sustainability of Interoperability Approaches and Solutions
  • Business Models for Interoperability
  • Tools for Collaborative Decision-Making in HB Networks
  • Interoperable Data Collection Frameworks for HB Networks

Interoperability roadmap for Heritage Buildings’ sustainability

The main aim of WP2 is to build an IT tool able to semantically merger all different languages. This system should answer to queries based on established common requirements (Fig. 1).

Fig 1 – Semantic Interoperability

We should consider the wider concept of cultural significance. For which we have to take into consideration how and why cultural significance is assessed and how it can be used as an effective focus and driver for management strategies and processes.

Effective management of the built cultural heritage requires a clear understanding of what makes a place significant and how that significance might be vulnerable and to ensure that what is important about the place is protected and enhanced.

The complexity of a Built Heritage unit can incorporate several addressable requirements in the field of: Conservation, Environment, Landscape, Maintenance and Valorization with all related specific technical languages.


We need to appoint a set of common requirements who everyone agrees in full consultation with all concerned interests. These should be derived by the general consensus of member of this Cost action, specialists or not in built cultural heritage. The requirements do not have to be highly structured, although it needs to be easy to read, and accompanied by supporting contextual data specific of what domain is concerned.

A domain ontology (or domain-specific ontology) represents concepts which belong to the particular field oh HBs.

Since domain ontologies represent concepts in very specific and often eclectic ways, they are often incompatible. Different ontologies in the same domain arise due to different languages, different intended usage of the ontologies, and different perceptions of the domain (based on cultural background, education, ideology, etc.).

The use of ontologies in supporting semantic interoperability is to provide a fixed set of concepts whose meanings and relations are stable and can be agreed to by users. We need to determine a set of Database in which terms are defined in semantic word (Fig. 2).


Semantic interoperability is the ability of computer systems to exchange data with unambiguous, shared meaning. Semantic interoperability is therefore concerned not just with the packaging of data (syntax), but the simultaneous transmission of the meaning with the data (semantics). This is accomplished by adding data about the data (metadata), linking each data element to a controlled, shared vocabulary. The meaning of the data is transmitted with the data itself, in one self-describing "information package" that is independent of any information system. It is this shared vocabulary, and its associated links to an ontology, which provides the foundation and capability of machine interpretation, inferencing, and logic.

Problems begin because every computer system stores data internally in a different way. This means that to communicate, data has to be translated from one format or internal language into another. The solution involves translating to a standard wire format (a lingua franca) that is understood by each party, but in computer interoperability, each and every message has to be translated from one format to another without error. The choice of interchange language is not sufficient to ensure Technical Interoperability. For computer processing, the information needs to be structured, complete, unambiguous, and validated.

Semantic-Symbolic & Conceptual representation

The CA members have to identify the most appropriate requirements. These will be sent to the stakeholders list with a dedicated survey for select those most appropriate to be inserted in the semantic database.



  1. Upgrade to modern needs.
  2. Define grades of compatibility between upgrades and protection of Heritage
  3. Define the interests of each organisation towards the heritage building in discussion;
  4. Define data about the nature and subject derived from research, such as comparison with similar places or features;
  5. Define management needs related with research gaps and research application
  6. Collect archive items (photos, documents, plans, will most frequently contain inherent information and context – for example, within a collection – to allow them to be documented appropriately;
  7. Existence of information standards
  8. Urban planning



  1. Life Cycle oriented approach which includes preventative management. BIM
  2. Understanding the building before carrying out the upgrading works
  3. Assessment of existing performance of the building, materials, Monitoring, Testing, Calculations.
  4. Assessment of construction of the building
  5. Assessment of services.
  6. Assessment and evaluation of expected risks to renovation. Calculations.
  7. Assessment of user’s needs.
  8. Assessment of building preservation status.
  9. Planning maintenance management, alterations and intervention strategies, upgrading energy efficiency. Computer Modelling. Lifecycle management.
  10. Impact Assessment of the chosen strategy.
  11. Impact Assessment of new uses.
  12. Inspection Activities.
  13. Inter Institutional Coordination – responsibilities, tasks, share of resources
  14. Diverse organisations to commit for working together and to embed their technical solutions in real-world working practice.
  15. Technical development of tools for interoperability.
  16. Existing of "information ecology". The ecology metaphor emphasises that information systems and data standards can only succeed where they also relate to the needs and experience of all parties involved. As in a biological community, no one organisation can predominate to the exclusion of others without an ensuing catastrophe.
  17. Existing of "Standards of standards".
  18. MIDAS XML is a set of World Wide Web Consortium compliant Extensible Markup Language (XML) schemas, based upon the MIDAS data standard.
  19. CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (ISO 21127).
  20. The Data Validator Tool (DVT) is an application developed to validate the content of MIDAS XML files. This tool will check the content (i.e., presence or absence) of the elements in MIDAS XML data against defined standards.
  21. Structure of residential quarters, public spaces, the scale of the building and its architectural features (colour, windows, doors, balconies, and other details).
  22. Landscaping and surroundings documentation.
  23. Make use of the new/emerging IT technologies for the HB.
  24. Make use of already existing 3D measurement/survey/techniques in a user friendly manner.
  25. Use virtual/augmented reality tools for the user experience enhancement.
  26. Include innovative technical tools for community side extensions (user displays/interactive agents/community space).



  1. Energy Consumption, Environmental impact of the construction and of the Demolition phases
  2. Evidential value, Historical value Aesthetic value, Cultural value, Communal value, Environmental value. Character and significance. Sensitivity of the buildings. Authenticity and integrity values.
  3. Energy efficiency, dynamic behaviour, latent heat, permeability, moisture barriers, hydro thermal behaviour, pores and capillarity, decay description.
  4. Type of Construction, special elements, Thermal bridging.
  5. Heating, Ventilation, Electronic control systems, Energy sources.
  6. Fire, Security, Construction risks, Natural risks (earthquakes, etc), Hazardous materials, Technical conflicts between traditional construction and required changes, Material compatibility.
  7. User requirements, Function of the building.
  8. Restoration of original performance, Conservation, Alteration, Maintenance, enhancement, removal of damaged alterations, Upgrading building elements.
  9. Energy, Heating, Ventilation, Adding Insulation, Draught proofing, Repairs, Electronic control systems, Energy sources.
  10. Users and Functions of the building
  11. Data accuracy and consistency;
  12. Data availability and accessibility.
  13. Degree of portability and scalability.
  14. Sustainability indicators (environmental indicators such as energy consumption, presence of on-site renewable energy).
  15. Grids and numerical scales and other features identification.



  1. Leading professional body doesn’t have a strong focus on the building fabric
  2. FM qualification structure doesn’t explicitly refer to historic buildings.
  3. Lack of conservation awareness across other professions involved with FM - e.g. building control, structural engineers.
  4. Lack of property data.
  5. Lack of Formal Guidance from Contractors, Trade literature, Certification Schemes, Building Regulations.
  6. Work to be done: best way to measure the energy performance of older buildings (now are not measured).
  7. Good practice in retrofitting are not communicated well
  8. Impact of retrofitting and the resulting environmental changes on older materials and finishes are not assessed.
  9. Information about properties is often not collected in one place.
  10. Computer-based solutions are frequently home-made and based on the IT knowledge of one person.
  11. Poor communication skills - facilities managers may not be good at sharing information.
  12. Hard to find examples of full BIM implementation for historic buildings.
  13. Lack of understanding that there is a difference between full BIM and 3d surveys.
  14. Lacking of a common language among different experts.
  15. Lack of national strategies for Heritage buildings connected with guidelines to apply at different scales (regional, local and building or surroundings).
  16. Lack of inter institutional coordination
  17. Lacks of standard and optimal electric/electronic products/systems for heritage buildings in some areas (as renewable energy generation, mainly photovoltaic).
  18. The existence of recommended practices when adding doing engineering in heritage buildings, with the aim of adding facilities related with comfort, security or lighting for maintenance or adaptation to tourist visits.

21-22 March 2017 TELECOM Nancy School of Engineering Campus Aiguillettes, 193 avenue Paul Muller

Objective and foreseen outcomes for the next period May 17- April 18

The final objective of such WG is to develop a proposal for a "white book" that will illustrate the synthesis of interoperability activities that will improve the sustainability aspects related with HBs preservation. This white book will result from the outcomes of other WGs and by the collaboration with local, regional, countries and European authorities. It will synthesize and merger a large variety of aspects, from:

  1. sustainable care and maintenance of HBs,
  2. buildings energy efficiency (zero-emission buildings),
  3. preservation of sense and cultural role of HBs integrated into the urban and natural landscape.
  4. evolution of HBs preservation at European level
  • Stakeholders
    The actual list of stakeholder contains about 135 names from Italy, Slovenia, United Kingdom. Romania, Malta and Portugal. This could be improved with the collaboration of members of other WGs.
    May 2017 . Stakeholder's list implementation.
  • Glossary / Cultural Heritage terms and definitions
    The glossary contains more than 400 terms. It should be increase directly on line if the xls file is present in a dedicate space inside the web page (or link to a dropbox page). Further, we can also consider a Glossary and Bibliography for Controlled Vocabularies from J. Paul Getty Trust (by Patricia Harpring, 20 July 2009), and another 5 pages Glossary from the Reference book of Bath University, UK (by Alice Tavares).
    May 2017 . Glossary implementation
  • Ontologies
    Two ontologies (one for HB, other for materials) with some 42 classes (concepts), app. 100 data and object properties and 10 HB as individuals, are under development and translation into English by a PhD student of A. Tibaut. For what concern the IT Dictionary it consist of a list of web link.
    May 2017 . Ontologies implementation
  • Requirements
    A list of preliminary Objectives, Enablers (Technological and Non-technological), Relevant Indicators and Barriers have been defined and these will be finalized for the questionnaire.
    August 2017 Requirements definition
  • Questionnaire
    The selected requirements will be the starting points for its definition. These once approved by MC members will be used for the dedicated survey to be sent to the stakeholders.
    September 2017 Requirements approval by MC

  • Stakeholders Survey

    Possible questions:

    1. Which technique/s would be selected to document the Heritage Building object or site?
    2. Reasons behind the selection of the technique/s?
    3. Name of the Heritage Building object or site you might have considered or effectively examined (if possible please add a figure of the BH object)
    4. What was the aim of such documentation, multiple answers possible (state of conservation of the building as a whole and/or inside its landscape, material analysis, and valorization).
    5. Please clearly explain what are the main addressable requirements and restraints for the Conservation, Maintenance and Valorization of a BH object. Please explain terms which are inherent of your own discipline and might not be clearly understood by other domains.
    6. What is the dimension and importance of the documented Building Heritage object or site.
    7. What are your main challenges for the HB management: Accessibility -Comfort – Research – Funding -Preventive conservation – Restoring – Retrofitting,… other (specify).








    Preventive conservation










    October 2017 Survey form sent to stakeholders

    January 2018 Survey data elaboration

  • Domain based inference rules.

    Once gathered, through the expert questionnaire, comprehensive quality knowledge information from several sectors involved in BHs historical, architectural and conservation, these will be structured for elaborate the knowledge model creating domain based inference rules.

    To improve the ability of BH stakeholders to develop innovation across their value chain, there is the need to make available fully interoperable multi-lingual data products and services. To achieve this, it is necessary a framework for the interoperability between the heterogeneous source of information (data, knowledge, models, languages), supported by a reference ontology management system for data mining and analysis. In the core of this framework, there are the methods for semantic interoperability in assorted contexts of usability, comprising ontology harmonization of blended applicational context. This will result in the mining of large volumes of heterogeneous data (including multi-linguisms) into semantically interoperable data assets, and knowledge libraries for holistic management of the data BH environment in terms of in/outs, along their life cycle, i.e., adaptation, feedback, monitoring, update, prune, merge, etc.

    Interconnection with standards for data models and knowledge representation is necessary to fully achieve this objective. Model, data and knowledge morphisms and respective transformations are required for the adaptation and then global knowledge usage depending on language and user profile (very important in this project context, considering the large number of different potential users and applications profiles that will use the data.

    The harmonized BH data should be put available with normalized access services that will provide a seamless interface to the harmonized knowledge, independent of the language in use and tuned with the user profile.  Knowledge-based service composition, for clear understanding of uplink/downlink information, and knowledge-based services management will be available to support the unified access and global management of the BH data.

    In the specific case of this industrial sector, interoperability and (seamless) integration of data is very much important considering that most of the sources/consumers of such data is largely distributed and described using different models. This would represent a set of heterogeneous source/consumers of heterogeneous data, as most of them will have their own data model representations. They need a suitable framework to assist them to access to the data in the same way, independently of the data model, semantic and language (as many sources of data is stored in native language). Nevertheless, most of the applications store the data in local native language, even under a specific reference model. To be interoperable and manageable in a seamless way in global scale (e.g., big data in the “BH Cloud”), such harmonization and are required for a common understanding of such data in an independent but holistic form.

    The knowledge extraction and analysis from BH data, requires semantic annotation and a reference ontology. Thus, most of the (big) data need to be semantically annotated to support its universal (re)usability. This would be achieved through the development of a services-based platform for big data management, and data transformation for universal seamless access and exchange of information, independently of the user/application language and the reference models in place.

April 2018 IT tool definition

WG2 Meeting                         June 2017 Madeira                                                   by R. Goncalves

TS                                            October 2017 Rome                                                  by P. Tiano

2 STSM                                    To be defined and managed by WG2



Activities of the WG2 in 2016

Activities of the WG in 2016

The actions for the next period are assigned as:

1. 31 Dec 2015: Establishment of interoperability sub-­working group areas and requirement analysis for the White Book for interoperability (per sub-­working group area)

2. Roko Zarnic coordinate the areas, and nominate the coordinators of each sub-­area. Each coordinator will manage the collection of the following bullets:

  • Identify Stakeholders
  • Identify Issues / Problems / Case studies
  • Identify requirements
  • Identify Relevant Indicators
  • Impact, Barriers, Time to happen,

Recommended actions

  • Methods, tools, concepts, ideas
  • Elaborate on the vision
  • Documentation relevant, papers, etc.

3. 28 Feb 2016: Define and identify:

  • Glossary and Dictionary for HB (Giacinta and Piero)
  • Glossary and Dictionary for Interop on ICT (Giacinta and Piero)
  • Ontologies (later)

4. 28 Feb 2016: Identify enablers

  • Technological enablers – Paul Borza
  • Non-­technological enablers -­ Styliani Sylaiou

5. 28 Feb 2016: Proposal for specific standards and reference protocols (Hervé Panetto and Andrej Tibaut)

6. 28 Feb 2016: Initial proposal for Training School (Manuella Kadar and Dalik Sojref)

M2 - COST meeting on interoperability 7-8 Oct 2015, Casa das Artes, Porto, Portugal

InteroperabilityThe objective of this session was to present the strategy to develop the COST Action’s Interoperability roadmap for Heritage Buildings’ sustainability. The session was moderated by Piero Tiano, and included several presentations that enabled to better establish the best methodology for the work to be developed. The speakers were Ricardo Gonçalves, Andrina Granic, Stella Sylaiou, Massimiliano Guarneri and Sasa Mladenovic.

At the end of the session, the panel of presenters discussed with the participants the adequate methodology. The session continued in the day after, with several WG2 members doing presentations, proposing and discussing aspects of the methods to be put in place for the development of the roadmap.

Ricardo Goncalves with Piero Tiano (WG2 chair and co-­chair) prepared a concrete proposal for the WG2 session.

The slides of the presentations are in the annex