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The Major Players in the ISO 15926 World


  1. Abstract
  2. POSC Caesar Association
    1. Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation (POSC)
    2. CAESAR Offshore Project
    3. POSC/Caesar Project
    1. 1983 Construction Industry Institute (CII)
    2. Breakthrough Strategy Committee
    3. Owner Operator Forum (OOF)
    4. Fully Integrated and Automated Technology (FIATECH)
    5. Capital Projects Technology Roadmap
    1. European Process Industries STEP Technical Liaison Executive (EPISTLE)
    2. Process Industries STEP Consortium (PISTEP)
    3. USPI
  5. International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
    1. ISO TC184/SC4/WG3/T25
  6. Next


The quest for the Holy Grail of interoperability of digital information goes back a half century. A number of organizations have had significant roles, but five deserve special mention:

  • POSC Caesar Association
  • USPI

As the various parts of ISO 15926 are written and approved, they are turned over to the International Organization for Standardization. ISO is responsible for many standards worldwide. To manage them all, it assigns groups of them to technical committees. ISO 15926 is managed by Technical Committee 184, Subcommittee 4, otherwise known as TC184/SC4.

POSC Caesar Association

The POSC Caesar Association is a global, non-profit organization founded to promote the development of standards that enable software integration and interoperability. POSC Caesar has a special responsibility for ISO 15926 and works now as a global standardization organization in close collaboration with other standardization organizations in Europe, USA and Japan.

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Fig 1 - The Origin of the POSC Caesar Association

The POSC Caesar Association was founded in 1997 as a global, non-profit, member organization to promote the development of openly available specifications to be used as standards for enabling the integration and interoperability of data, software and related matters for e-engineering and e-commerce.

POSC Caesar has a special responsibility for the maintenance and enhancement of ISO 15926 “Integration of life-cycle data for process plants including oil and gas production facilities". POSC Caesar works now as a global standardization organization in close collaboration with other standardization organizations in Europe, USA and Japan.

It is a collaboration between two other organizations going back to 1990:

  • Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation
  • Caesar Offshore Project


Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation (POSC)

The Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation is a non-profit, vendor-neutral corporation founded in 1990 with the aim of establishing open software standards to be used for sharing information through the asset life-cycle. Its original sponsors were BP Exploration, Chevron, Elf Aquitaine, Mobil, Saudi Aramco, Statoil, and Texaco.

By 1998 it had grown to 130 members, including large and small suppliers, government agencies, universities and research centers, other standards organizations, and oil companies. This consortium works to share information among its members and to promote useful software modeling, data, and application integration standards.

At the 2006 Standards Summit & Reception in Houston on November 8, 2006, POSC Rebranded itself as Energistics.

From its new website

Energistics' rebranding supports the new leadership goal of executing a market-focused business strategy. The mission of Energistics is to deliver to the upstream oil and gas industry the means to produce, deploy and maintain common information and data standards.

CAESAR Offshore Project

The Caesar Offshore Project started in 1993 as an industry driven research and development project under the name of Caesar Offshore Program. It was sponsored by The Norwegian Research Council, Aker, DNV, Kværner, Norsk Hydro, Saga Petroleum and Statoil. The purpose of the project was to develop a product model for life cycle information. The focus was on standardizing the technical data definitions for facilities and equipment associated with onshore and offshore oil and gas production facilities.

POSC/Caesar Project

In 1994 Caesar Offshore Program was reorganized and defined as a project of Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation (POSC), Houston, and changed its name to the POSC/Caesar Project.

The technical work of POSC/Caesar was more and more related to the ISO STEP standard and influenced by similar work in European standardization organization such as PISTEP in UK and USPI in the Netherlands through the virtual organization EPISTLE.


FIATECH is a North American organization who's purpose is to increase the productivity in the capital projects industry by introducing technology. It is one of the two sponsors of ISO 15926.

As of this writing, early summer 2009, FIATECH is in the midst of redesigning their website. Some of the links below may not work correctly, and some may lead only to a stub, with no actual content yet. Keep trying.

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Fig 1. The Origin of FIATECH

The name, Fully Integrated and Automated Technology, describes what FIATECH is all about. FIATECH intends to streamline the capital projects industry by introducing technology. In this definition, "Capital Projects Industry" includes all manner of capital construction, from roads and sewers, commercial buildings and shopping centers, ships, pipelines, and manufacturing and industrial plants. Although only eight years old, FIATECH has a long pedigree.

FIATECH's immediate forebears are the Life Cycle Management Project of the Owner Operator Forum, and the Breakthrough Strategy Committee of the Construction Industry Institute. Both of these organizations membership lists includes many of the same facility owners, consulting engineers, and constructors.

1983 Construction Industry Institute (CII)

The Construction Industry Institute is a research center in the College of Engineering in the University of Texas at Austin. It is a collaborative research organization of over 100 members representing Owner/Operators, Contractors and Suppliers from the engineering and construction industry, as well as over thirty Universities. Its mission is to carry out research projects to identify, disseminate, and educate its members and the public on best practices in the U.S. construction industry. In the late 1990s CII identified a critical need for the engineering and construction industry--the integration of technologies to bring about significant improvement in the effectiveness of construction and operation of large capital facilities through Fully Integrated and Automated Project Processes, or FIAPP.


Breakthrough Strategy Committee

The Construction Industry Institute formed the Breakthrough Strategy Committee with the mandate to identify research projects that may have a breakthrough potential for the construction industry.

In 1999, the Breakthrough Strategy Committee identified that efforts to realize the breakthrough promise of Fully Integrated and Automated Project Processes in the construction industry have produced only modest progress due to:

  1. The character of the industry:
    • Highly fragmented
    • Project-oriented
    • Multiple stakeholders
    • Low R&D investment
  1. The approach of FIAPP:
    • Sporadic
    • Independent
    • No critical mass

As a result, progress was stymied by a lack of common standards and protocols and by the inability to effectively integrate software and systems improvements.

With its unique position as a mature collaborative research organization of nearly 100 members representing owners, contractors, and suppliers, CII believed that it was up to the huge challenge of bringing the industry together and building the needed consensus for FIAPP to succeed. With that belief and commitment, along with the initial funding support from CII and its partner in the initiative, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), FIATECH was founded in late 1999.

Owner Operator Forum (OOF)

In late 1999, coincident to the formation of FIATECH, the Dow Chemical Company, DuPont Company, with Air Products & Chemicals, Inc., BASF Corporation, and Merk & Co., Inc., convened as a group, calling itself the Owner Operator Forum. They established a strategy to define and communicate software requirements related to plant life cycle activities in a manner that would encourage technology (software) vendors to adopt the recommendations as part of their ongoing technology development initiatives and investments. This effort was appropriately called the Life Cycle Data Management (LCDM) project.

Fortunately, both of the DuPont and Dow representatives were part of the leadership of both OOF and FIATECH. The two groups realized very quickly that they had very similar goals and decided to merge.

Fully Integrated and Automated Technology (FIATECH)

FIATECH's original staff was largely made up of volunteers from the member organizations. One notable original employee is the managing director, Dr. Richard (Ric) Jackson. With his 25 years at NIST and its predecessor, the National Bureau of Standards, he brought valuable, relevant, experience. In his position at NIST as Directory of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory he had responsibility for developing and deploying advanced technology to assist U.S. manufacturers in their efforts to integrate and automate their manufacturing processes. He brought considerable experience with completely integrated, fully flexible, automated manufacturing facilities.

FIATECH's membership roster includes many of the largest Owner/Operators, EPCs, Constructors, Equipment Manufacturers, Software Developers, and Universities. The most compelling reason for any of these organizations to join FIATECH is that at FIATECH they can get something done. Outside of FIATECH they are fierce competitors and must guard what they say to each other. But on a FIATECH project, top experts in a field can work together across organizational boundaries. For a portion of the development costs, all members can participate in all results.

Owner Operators (OOs) want to improve their bottom line. Collectively, OOs fund the entire operations of the other players, EPCs, OEMs, Software Developers, Constructors, and Universities, but they lack the expertise to do the basic research and apply it to day-to-day operations. In FIATECH they have a forum where they can explain their needs and work with others on solutions.

Engineer, Procurement and Construction organizations (EPCs) get involved with FIATECH to solve problems that their competitors and clients also have. Everyone can work together, share the costs, and share the results. EPCs can take research from universities, prove it in tests, then recast it in terms that others in their industry can understand.

Software Developers join FIATECH to assist on standards that make software development easier. For instance, on the subject of interoperability, software developers must be responsive to their customers and provide conversion between many competing standards. But if all industry players agree on a single standard, the work of the software developers will suddenly get much easier.

Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), with tighter margins, join FIATECH to participate in projects they would never be able to fund on their own.

Universities participate in FIATECH so they can see their research applied in the real world.

Capital Projects Technology Roadmap

The Roadmap, as it is known, is the primary tool FIATCH uses to organize projects. Member organizations can use the Roadmap as an aid to decide where they can participate. The Roadmap has nine elements

  • Element 1: Scenario-based Project Planning
  • Element 2: Automated Design
  • Element 3: Integrated, Automated Procurement and Supply Network
  • Element 4: Intelligent & Automated Construction Job Site
  • Element 5: Intelligent Self-maintaining and Repairing Operational Facility
  • Element 6: Real-time Project and Facility Management, Coordination and Control
  • Element 7: New Materials, Methods, Products & Equipment
  • Element 8: Technology- & Knowledge-enabled Workforce
  • Element 9: Lifecycle Data Management & Information Integration

For More Information


There are many consortiums worldwide dedicated to common standards for interoperation of digital plant information. For ISO 15926, the interesting ones are members of EPISTLE.

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Fig 2 - Relationship of Non-Profit Standards Consortiums

European Process Industries STEP Technical Liaison Executive (EPISTLE)

EPISTLE was formed in the early 1990s. At first it was a consortium of companies involved in the process industry, but later individual member companies withdrew, leaving only three consortia as members: PISTEP, POSC Caesar, and USPI-NL. (In 2000, PISTEP and POSC Caesar merged.) Members of these consortia work together to develop specifications and standards designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of information management in the process industries.

EPISTLE's first project was to complete a research project to develop a data model for lifecycle information of a facility that would suit the requirements of the process industries. Initially this involved a standard known as ISO 10303-221. Eventually this became a library of object classes and their relationships known as STEPlib. Work on data libraries forked and followed two paths for awhile. USPI continued the development of STEPlib, while POSC Caesar started its own Reference Data Library (RDL) adding some classes necessary for the process industry. Both libraries were merged back together into ISO 15926 part 4 (ISO 15926-4). Part 4 now acts as reference data for ISO 15926-2 as well as for ISO 10303-221.

The EPISTLE Core Model, a generic data model for the process industries, is now standardized formally as ISO15926-2. The EPISTLE Reference Data Library, a standard set of classes, properties and specifications for the process industries, currently up to 17,500, is being prepared for publication. The EPISTLE Templates is an initiative just starting to develop specific templates for specific purposes.


Process Industries STEP Consortium (PISTEP)

PISTEP was created in 1992 to further the awareness of STEP in the process industries. The first phase culminated with major presentations at conferences in London, England in 1993 and 1995. The second phase, until the end of the decade, continued with raising awareness of STEP, by then known as ISO 10303, as well as ISO 15926.

In 2000, PISTEP merged with POSC Caesar, with PISTEP becoming the UK chapter.



Uitgebreid Samenwerkingsverband Procesindustrie-Nederland , a.k.a. The Dutch Process and Power Industry Association, was formed in 1997 by a group of plant owners and EPC contractors. USPI-NL’s mission is to serve national and international companies in the Netherlands by coordinating a programme for the development and implementation of electronic de facto and ISO standards for the process and power industry, and to improve the industry’s competitive strength and position in the world market.

Vision of USPI

Companies in the process industries shall be able to share and/or exchange electronically the information needed to design, build, operate and maintain process and power plants using internationally accepted standards.

USPI supports ISO 15926 part 4 and ISO 10303-221.


International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

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Fig 1 - The Relationship of ISO 15926 to ISO

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Organization for Standardization was founded in 1947. It is composed of some 160 member bodies, 43 correspondent members, and 11 subscriber members, although the numbers vary by a few each year. The various members are agents of their respective countries where the ISO standards often become law. Every nation on Earth is eligible for membership, and the overwhelming majority have joined.

The range of standards covers most every human endeavor. For instance:

  • ISO-1, "Standard reference temperature for geometrical product specification and verification", defines the temperature (which happens to be 20C) at which materials must be when taking measurements that will be used for comparison in different places.
  • ISO-2 is a standard for the direction of twist in yarns.

ISO cooperates with a great many other standards organizations world wide.

Individual standards are written and managed by representatives of the industry affected by the standard, not ISO staff. The role of ISO is more to make sure individual standards are developed with as wide and fair as possible representation.


ISO TC184/SC4/WG3/T25

The International Organization for Standardization organizes its work with a hierarchy of Technical Committees, Sub-Committes, Work Groups, and Teams. The chain of command for ISO 15926 is:

  • International Organization for Standardization
    • Technical Committee 184
      • Sub Committee 4
        • Work Group 3
          • Team 25

Technical Committee 184

Technical Committee 184, "Automation systems and integration", is responsible for ISO 15926. To date the committee has published almost seven hundred specifications and has over one hundred work programmes in progress.

From the TC184 website, its scope is:

"Standardization in the field of automation systems and their integration for design, sourcing, manufacturing and delivery, support, maintenance and disposal of products and their associated services. Areas of standardization include information systems, robotics for fixed and mobile robots in industrial and specific non-industrial environments, automation and control software and integration technologies."

TC184 further subdivides its scope between several Subcommittees.

Subcommittee Title
TC 184/AG Advisory group
TC 184/SC 1 Physical device control
TC 184/SC 2 Robots and robotic devices
TC 184/SC 4 Industrial data
TC 184/SC 5 Architecture, communications and integration frameworks

Subcommittee 4

Subcommittee 4, "Industrial data", coordinates standards for Automation systems and integration with a focus on Industrial Data. Meetings are held three times a year.


  • Develop and publish international standards for the representation of scientific, technical and industrial data.
  • Develop methods for assessing conformance to these standards.
  • Provide technical support to organizations seeking to deploy such standards.


  • A business environment with a network of enterprises, inter-related by producer-purchaser and partnership interactions.
  • A data model that:
    • Includes product and process data to support the enterprise.
    • Is easily partitioned.
    • Implementation of software, independent of schema to share and exchange this data.

Work Group 3, Team 25

  • Team 25 coordinates the development of ISO 15926 and ISO 10303 (a.k.a. STEP). Individual groups within the teams manage their own work. For instance, the IDS-ADI project jointly sponsored by POSC-Caesar and FIATECH does much of the actual work developing ISO 15926 and reports to the Team 25 meetings held within the SC4 tri-annual meetings.



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