Building Data Ownership

The plunge into PropTech may have overlooked one important question. Who owns building data? By this we mean information provided proptech platforms and data produced by those platforms.

It also raises additional questions about what property data is, what value it has and how data value translates to different users or data consumers. Is PropData an extension of the building as a business entity and revenue center?

Property Data Ownership Ecosystems
Today we use the term Building Information Model (BIM) loosely but there is a difference between Build data outlining construction of structures, references to building information related to operation and management and how real estate industry’s use or create property data.

These are separate from independent platforms that use public data to create new data sets, products and property related solutions. Including platforms and applications that use private build/building data to generate enhancements but there’s a fine line between immediate use, deliverables and long term retention or storage for use by these third parties.

Property Data Types

  1. Property Service Provider Ecosystem [PSPE]
  2. Build Data: Original and Improvements
  3. Operational / Business Data
  4. Systems and Equipment
  5. Technology (not S&E)
  6. Maintenance Activities
  7. Service Provider Data [Property & Mgmt]

Property Data Sources

  1. Owners (via build)
  2. Tenants (via Improvements)
  3. PSPE Authored BOM Data*
  4. Platforms and PSPE’s using build data
  5. Platforms and PSPE’s using building data
  6. Regulators publishing build data
  7. Platforms and apps using public data~
* Commissioned by the former
PSPE User Access Benefits [Rule-Based]
~ Third party commissioned and owned
BOM = Build, Operation, Management
Building data begins to emerge when a concept is explored. Most concept stage data is considered proprietary and the intellectual property of individual investor and design teams.

Data most valuable to the property ecosystem begins to take shape when AEC professionals design structures and construction documentation.


Generally speaking, investor’s or building owner’s commission works for nearly all building data on a for-hire basis with certain copyright and proprietary rights attached to deliverables.

Developers may be in-house producers but they too can commission works by third parties as do tenants, general contractors and property management firms hired to perform renovations.

Work-for-hire relates to the physical asset so it’s natural to conclude build and operational data are assets of current ownership.

Digital Transitions

It’s a very important distinction as we transition towards a digitally documented and enabled property ecosystem. Some PropTech platforms counting on collection of big data may use predatory or stealth practices in reaching their goals.

There is no warning to users who unwittingly disclose confidential business and personal information. And users have no recourse in a world where technology unanimously violates one user groups’ privacy by offering another user group cloud services.

A Service Provider Ecosystem

There may be hundreds of service providers linked to a single property. They represent specialized fields in build, operation and management of infrastructure and buildings. Collectively they comprise the property’s “Service Provider Ecosystem” and many survive changes in ownership and management.

A property’s SPE is the primary source of current and updated property details stored in building information models (BIM). Digitized specifications combined with continuous review practices allow service providers to directly update performance parameters stored in modern O&M records.

Property Data Service Provider Ecosystems
The digitization of systems, equipment and maintenance details are significant advancements in management and build. The addition of an identity infrastructure can automate routine user processes that consume significant time and manpower while protecting property data ownership.

Emerging application environments will leverage strategic accessibility to update building data, notify personnel, execute schedules and forecast maintenance budgets.

Independent Identity Infrastructure as a Solution to PropTech Challenges
Platform and user enhancements will routinely upgrade BIM data extending usability while improving valuations over the serviceable life of property assets.

The property’s BIM may be the most valuable data container in the PropTech arsenal.