The main barriers for advanced IT in construction industry are caused by the fragmented organisation and temporary business relationships. Information flows between actors are not aligned with contractual relationships. No single actor has a dominant position to impose compatible IT solutions among project participants.
In this situation there seems to be no other solution that wait for emerging standards, such as IFC, to solve communication in construction projects. However, such standards are still under development and are not yet supported by common IT applications.
In many cases architectural, structural and building services design is available in a CAD format, most usually as AutoCad files. However, these files are created with heterogenous applications and are not directly convertible into a common model. In some cases still only paper documents are available.
COVE was originally developed as a rapid product modeller: it allows (re-)modelling of a building using available data in heterogenous formats. It is used to integrate design with estimation and construction planning.