Real estate investments usually have long investment horizons and involve large transaction volumes. There is a substantial need for data about the structure, condition, equipment, operation and contractual relationships pertaining to a building. Data are essential to gain information and, ultimately, knowledge, competence and competitive advantages.

Investors require that all relevant information is sought, proved, saved, processed and made accessible efficiently from anywhere and anytime over the entire lifecycle of a building. However, due to the lack of widely acknowledged standards (e.g. methods, tools, structures) for managing real estate data, the structuring, providing and managing of a lifecycle-oriented building documentation still remains challenging. A recent survey of real estate practitioners (n=108) has shown, that the processes for filing and structuring documents are based on a multitude of policies and company-specific guidelines. This complicates data migration and data exports in real estate transactions as well as exports for audits or certifications of buildings (Bodenbender/Kurzrock 2015).

This paper highlights the relevant documents and information for specific cases in real estate investment (e.g. due diligence, building management). In particular, the focus is on the consistent structuring of an information inventory, on determining information sources and on the identification/standardization of relevant information and their underlying data in unstructured documents (e.g. service provider contracts, maintenance protocols, planning documents etc.). This will provide the basis for software systems to process relevant data and create timely information and knowledge over the entire lifecycle of a building. In particular, the completeness and accuracy of data can be improved from the perspectives of all participating parties even in partial processes. 

The paper presents a model that will unify existing approaches for the structuring, storing and exchange of documents and lead to the development of a document classification standard. This consistent, unambiguous and overlap-free document standard shall make possible the migration of documents and data across building lifecycles when different parties, structures and software systems are involved.