Utilizing CIS/2 Interoperability

The use of software enabled with CIS/2 Interoperability, providing electronic exchange information from the engineer to the detailer to the fabricator, can radically accelerate the speed of project delivery and reduce project costs.

CIS/2 is a standard data format enabling 3-D modeling design/analysis software to pass required information to 3-D detailing software. 3-D steel building models can be rapidly generated and individual connections designed and structural components detailed. CIS/2 data can then be passed on to shop management programs and numerical control files downloaded to shop fabrication equipment.

Software firms specializing in products for the structural design and fabricating industries have embraced the standard CIS/2 formats and are actively integrating this capability into their products.

What is EDI?

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is the generic term used for the electronic transfer of data from one software program to another.

What is CIS/2?

CIS/2 (CIMSteel Integration Standards/Version 2) is a protocol through which seemingly stand-alone programs, such as structural analysis, CAD and detailing systems, can communicate with each other. By providing a neutral data format, CIS/2 allows data interchange between a wide variety of program types—as long as these programs have translators written to interpret the CIS/2 neutral data into the programs’ native format.

Why do we need this protocol?

“The challenge before the construction industry is to create a means for collaboration and data sharing between the various parties: owner, architect, engineer, supplier, and contractor,” explained P. Bradford Vaughan, P.E., Manager of Power Operations, Black & Veatch, LLP, in Overland Park, KS, and a member of AISC’s EDI Review Team. “Each has their own specialized software that limits the industry’s ability to work together using common data."

How does CIS/2 make structural steel more competative?

Added Vaughan: “The adoption of an accepted protocol for electronic data exchange will provide both horizontal (exchanges between software performing similar functions) and vertical (exchanges between products that rely on results from another as inputs) integration. This will result in data exchange throughout the steel construction process—engineering, bidding, procurement, detailing, fabrication, transportation, and erection—creating efficiencies that will help lower the installed cost of structural steel construction.”



If you have additional questions or comments about how AISC can provide project assistance for teams wanting to use CIS/2 data interchange, provide presentations, PR in the form of advertisments and promotional videos, or to learn more about our bi-annual technical workshops, monthly conference calls, and on-demand technical support, please contact [email protected].

We encourage you to explore the identified resources, learn of projects where CIS/2 has been successfully used and discuss the benefits of how using electronic data interchange can benefit your project with an advisor in the Steel Solutions Center at 866.ASK.AISC or [email protected].






CIS/2 Key Resources


CIS/2 Online Technical Resources:

CIS/2.org (The Steel Construction Institute - UK)
CIS/2 and VRML Research at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
University of Leeds (Historical Information on CIMSteel)