Common Data Exchange (CDX)

What is a CDX

And why should we care?

Simply put, CDX provides a visual language for project teams to define their collaboration standards. Using CDX-Listed solution profiles born from CDX-Validated case studies, teams have more flexibility than ever to transform information exchange standards based on project specific requirement.

CDX is a discussion framework for AEC project delivery stakeholders to produce interoperability solutions that align the capabilities of technology with the requirements of contract, code, or standard. 

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To be clear – CDX is not a data standard. It’s a visual aid for AEC stakeholders to define people, process, and technology requirements that align with existing industry standards. When they tell you “data is the new oil,” remember that data requires its own refinement process called standardization. The drivers of data standardization include project contract, building code, and industry standard. 

Data standardization does not require that all projects agree on one standard. Rather, it requires that all stakeholders on a project agree to the standards that they will adhere to. Regardless of what standards must be referenced or translated between software applications, the CDX framework provides industry and technology with a human language for translating contract to code.

CDX-Listed profiles provide a clear picture of software integration capabilities and stakeholder data requirements enabling customers to match specific-use cases with purpose-built solutions. Whether it’s file-based “containers” like the Portable Document Format (PDF) or web-enabled platforms with open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), every exchange of mission-critical data across the lifecycle of the data asset can (and should) be documented using CDX.

The barrier to digital adoption in AEC is not a lack of technology, it’s a lack of motivation. Even the most proven solutions can lead to failed results when the needs of people and processes are neglected. CDX puts the decision-making power back into the hands of the individuals who create, manage, and share data. When utilized early in project execution planning, the CDX Playbook actively nudges AEC stakeholders to refine their process and data requirements in lieu of untamed digital chaos. 

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The CDX Playbook, whether in analog or digital format, facilitates a common understanding between project delivery stakeholders. CDX provides a visual language for project teams to define their collaboration standards. Using CDX-Listed solution profiles born from CDX-Validated case studies, teams have more flexibility than ever to transform information exchange standards based on project specific requirement. As stakeholders coalesce around industry-specific data reporting standards (i.e. XBRL, IFC), competing platforms will provide the ability to opt-in CDX-Verified project data for industry-wide benchmarking and performance analysis.  


How to Play

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Stakeholders &


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Systems & 


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Points of


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Risk &


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Step 1 - WHO

Stakeholders & Personas

There are many different project stakeholders across the informational supply-chain of a project — from the project owners and investors, the project managers, and the design professionals, to the contractors and subcontractors, and eventually to facility management and operations. 

Regardless of the name given to each project stakeholder identified below, the key is to identify when each "player" is responsible for producing, sharing, accessing, reviewing, or approving a given piece of data as it flows across the project delivery supply-chain. Despite the theory that all project data lives in a Common Data Environment (CDE), the reality is that most project data is duplicated many times over between our disparate project delivery stakeholders.

Stakeholders are a business or government entity legally bound to cooperate in the delivery of a capital project. An example of stakeholders would be:

CDX Stakeholders

Personas are the individual role(s) that perform an activity on a Document of Record (DoR) or System of Record (SoR). An example of personas would be:


Step 2 - WHAT

Systems & Documents

After the stakeholder and personas are identified, it is important to identify the system(s) currently being utilized as well as the document (s) of record.

System of Record (SoR) is a repository for legally discoverable information across the project lifecycle, e.g. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Project Management, Document management, Scheduling, Estimating, etc. 

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Document of Record (DoR) is a container of information that passes through multiple statuses (e.g. draft, open, submitted, responded, reviewed, approved)

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Step 3 - WHEN

Points of Exchange

In order to motivate players to change old habits, we must visualize the waste that exists in the current state. Only then, can we begin to align different perspectives around the shared vision of an ideas state solution.  This discovery occurs at each Points of Exchange (PoE), the point at which a Document containing project data is transmitted between Persona or System. Exchanges can be internal or external.  


External PoE (horizontal/diagonal) occurs between personas or systems representing two or more stakeholders. Internal PoE (vertical) occurs between personas or systems under the same stakeholder. CDX utilizes various plugs to indicate the PoE in a digital or analog environment and illustrate the activity performed at each PoE.  The chart below defines potential PoE's.


Step 4 - WHERE

Risk & Opportunity

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Step 5 - WHY

Shared Objective

The CDX Playbook provides a common language for project teams to communicate the workflow standards that led them to collaborate more effectively. Future CDX Playbooks should serve as a baseline template that project managers use to define project workflow and data standards.