||IntroductionOrganisation of the information needed to design, construct and manage a building is still based upon traditional trades and classification tables. European countries have established sources of information: specifications, element tables and product databases, based on categories, such as SfB, defined 50 years ago. The Danish Centrecontract on Building Classification is following projects in several other countries, to update its systems, provide greater integration of data, and keep up with new information technologies. This paper presents experience from studying developments in several countries, relating them to the needs of Denmark, and anticipating the future demands of IT.IT contextThe possibilities with IT for more flexible searches on advanced representations of building entities require fundamental changes in integrating, exchanging and accessing information. There is a proliferation of web portals and project webs, and some common structure that relates to international practice is needed. Methods of searching are changing from traditional categories to full text and structured keywords. New methods of representing building data such as the IFCs and XML are having a major influence alongside standards for building data. The Centrecontract is relating these to the current practice in many types of firm in the Danish building industry.ObjectivesThe Centrecontract is due for completion in 2002 but the research being carried out by DTU will be presented at the end of 2000 and 2001. The broad objectives are for the partners to develop tools for building elements, schedules of rates and product classification, within a common framework, and to promote these and provide education. The research has defined the needs of Danish industry, is learning from experience in other countries, and will predict the likely influence of IT developments in future. This paper reports on some of the information systems being developed in other countries.MethodologyThe approach taken was to talk to experts rather than to collect new statistical information. In each country at least one developer of new information systems was interviewed, one researcher and one user organisation. They were asked about the systems currently used in their country, new systems being developed, and any experience of their use. They were also asked about how changes had been, or could be, made in the general organisation of information about building. Relevant standards and the many building information services on the Web were also studied to find the common elements, and see how Denmark could develop systems to suit local needs.Some preliminary findingsFactors from Denmark include the need to link to the familiar SfB system, using the same structure right through the process, the importance of the client and resistance to standards. Other countries studied so far are developing improved systems, with Sweden leading the way with BSAB 96, the UK with Uniclass to unite its different classification systems, and Holland and Norway proposing Lexicon and BARBI respectively. Common factors are the list of tables defined in ISO 12006-2, the work of EPIC in product classification, the influence of the IFCs and the use of the Web and XML. This work will be completed at the end of 2000 and recommendations made to the other partners in the Centrecontract for the systems that will help meet the needs of the Danish building industry.