Schema architecture 1.1

Flexible architecture

COINS is characterized by flexible schema architecture. The core-schema contains the backbone structure (an object tree of function fulfillers) and directly associated information objects (functions, requirements, performances, documents and catalogue parts).


The core schema can be extended by a set of so-called reference frames: sub-schemas that extend the COINS systematics core schema for specific application areas. At this moment three reference frames are published:

  • Reference frame Functional specification
  • Reference frame Quantity estimation
  • Reference frame Object type library

The reference frames listed above and in the figure are sub-schemas that are recognized by the COINS Consortium. However, there are no objections to third parties that introduce other reference frames probably with a limited scope (within a company or during a specific project). Possibly such an external reference frame could be successful and migrate later to an "official" reference frame. COINS compatible applications may decide to support zero or more reference frames depending their specific functionality.

Object libraries

The COINS core schema is designed as a minimal schema, i.e. the semantics of the schema is not particular rich. To compensate for this shortcoming the COINS core schema explicitly supports linking with object libraries. For example the COINS core schema defines only a physical object class to specify the various tangible parts of a building. There are no more specific classes like column, wall or door. However, the physical object "door set" may link to an object library that specifies a sub/supertype class hierarchy (taxonomy). For example the buildingSMART IFD library contains a class description "door-set" [ID=3vHRQ8oT0Hsm00051Mm008]. Referencing this particular class definition from a COINS model is an efficient approach to add the desired semantics. Object libraries may have a (inter-)national scope but a temporary object library during the execution of a specific project may also be of service for example to hold the set of standard catalogue items for that project. For this last application a COINS model with catalogue part items is very convenient.

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