2.0 Data exchange in the real estate sector

2.1 Data exchange processes

A wide range of core processes are associated with the life-cycle of a property. The individual processes are divided into nine life-cycle phases or core processes in GEFMA Guideline 100-1. A large amount of information is exchanged between changing specialist service-providers and owners, from conception of a property or investment vehicle (1), through planning (2), construction and subsequent refurbishment of a property (3 and 7), marketing and procurement (4 and 5), ongoing operation, incl. any vacancies (6 and 8), to utilization (9). The questions and answers therefore always depend on the objectives and tasks of the parties asking and answering the questions. For all communication processes to run successfully, it is largely dependent on whether the parties involved are in agreement about the content and qualities to be supplied. The exchange of information between the actors is therefore closely linked to the reason for the exchange or task to be performed by the actors. The objectives associated with the processes define the content and methods of the data exchange. This guideline is based consistently on the life-cycle phase in accordance with GEFMA Guideline 100-1, which is divided into six core processes (conception, planning, construction, marketing and procurement, operation and vacancy, and utilization) involved in the real estate sector as shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2: Core processes, subsets, and roles according gif-IDA

When defining subsets in this version 1.0 of the guideline, gif focused on the main core processes of Purchase, Management, and Sale of properties, in accordance with Tab. 1. The guideline will be continuously updated and have further subsets added to it.

Tab. 2 Core processes and subsets according to gif-IDA
No. Processes and subsets
1 Conception
2 Planning
3 Construction, refurbishment
3.1 Reporting on construction projects
4 Investment/Desinvestment
4.1 Provision to sales channel
4.2 Commercial due diligence
4.3 Lease benchmarking
5 Operations and vacancies
5.1 Ongoing operational reporting
5.2 Ongoing accounting reporting
5.3 Ongoing financial accounting reporting
5.4 Portfolio benchmarking
6. Removal

2.2 Roles and role model

A "role" in the process model according to gif-IDA is a function that a sender or recipient assumes within the core process. The allocation of roles among the actors is a changing variable in the various processes. In this respect, nearly all actors take on different roles in the course of the property life-cycle. For instance, a company purchasing a property may assume the role of buyer as a "recipient," whereas when selling the same property, they may act as "sender." Within the guideline, the following roles were identified as relevant for the exchange of real estate data in accordance with Fig. 2:

  • Owner, Fund/ Investment Manager
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Asset Manager
  • Property Manager
  • Facility Manager
  • Financial accountant
  • Sales channel
  • Valuer
  • Benchmarking service-provider
  • Architect
  • Building contractor
  • Financial supervisory authority
  • Tenant

This traditional role model can also be applied to service capital investment companies (German: Service-KAGs). The capital investment company can take over the role of an Owner and an Asset Manager.

As all actors generally assume changing roles, in other words they sometimes act as recipients and sometimes as senders, it must be possible to process as well as provide process-based data depending on the respective business model of all actors. The above role model is thus built on the basis of gif guideline on Real Estate Investment Management (REIM).

2.3 Data model and entities (data objects)

The guideline is based on a hierarchically built real estate data model. The real estate character is particularly apparent in the allocation of each data field to a data object. To this end, the "data object" in a data field ensures the hierarchical allocation of the data field within the data model. Only one data object can ever be allocated to a data field. For example, the data field "land area" is uniquely allocated to data object "land." Data objects may occur a number of times at different levels in the data model. According to Fig. 3, a total of twelve data objects can be identified. Each data object to be taken into consideration in the data exchange requires a unique identification number. The identification number is a fixed component of each subset in each case. If the identification number is exchanged frequently (e.g., monthly), it is assigned as follows:

  • Property identification number: This is always assigned by the recipient.
  • Handover of management: If the property was already owned by the recipient, before the sender was assigned responsibility for administration/ management, the sender initially accepts all the recipient's identification numbers New identification numbers for new information objects (e.g., for new lease contracts, leasable space) are assigned by the sender and accepted by the recipient.

Any different arrangements must be explicitly agreed between the sender and recipient.

The unique hierarchical allocation of individual data fields within a subset allows data on a single property as well as data on one or more portfolios to be transferred.
Section 3 specifies the requisite data object types per process, geared to the respective process.

  • I.1 Client (COM): The client is the top legal level of the data to be transmitted.
    Example: ABC GmbH
  • I.2 Asset (PROP): The asset combines a number of materially connected commodities. It incorporates one or more plots of land and/or one or more buildings. The asset generally comprises an asset number, country, postcode, city, and street, including house number. If an asset incorporates a number of buildings with different addresses (e.g., City Caree), and the corresponding ERP system requires a main address to be specified, so the primary address for the asset must be entered.
    Example: 1200, Deutschland, 12345 Musterstraße 45, Müllerstraße 10-14
  • I.3 Land (LAND): In German property law, land is described as a discrete part of the Earth's surface that is entered on a separate page in the land register (§ 3 of the GBO (German Land Registration Act)). Land can consist of several land parcels.
  • I.4 Building (BUILD): A building is an enclosed space comprising individual or several rooms and stories. Buildings within an asset are numbered consecutively. A building may comprise a separate street, postcode, and city.
    Example: Building 17 or Müllerstraße 12
  • I.5 Rental unit (UNIT): The rental unit is the smallest leasable unit. A rental unit is generally characterized by a rental unit no., various types of space (e.g., leasable space based on measurements, service charge billing area), type of use, story, and location.
    Example: 12345676 Office 1. top story li
  • I.6 Lease contract (LEASE): The lease contract interconnects one or more contractually leased rental units. A rental contract generally comprises the rental contract number and the name of the tenant.
    Example: 233-12223-22344; ABC GmbH
  • I.7 Term (TERM): The term corresponds to the contractual conditions relating to a rental unit. It connects the lease contract to a rental unit. In the data object "term," a distinction is made between different types of term (e.g., basic rent, revenue-based rent, service charge prepayment, etc.).
    Example: Office 1, top story, ABC GmbH
  • I.8 Loan (LOAN): A loan is a promissory contract. The loan generally comprises the loan no. and lender.
    Example: 1234 Musterbank GmbH
  • I.9 Project (PROJ): A project is a specific one-off operation, with a defined start and end date. A project within the data model according to gif-IDA comprises a project no. and brief description of the project.
    Example: 1234 external wall cleaning
  • I.10 Valuation (VAL): The valuation data object is used for exchanging the established expert report, incl. underlying data, on a specific date. The expert report number and brief description form part of the valuation.
    Example: 12356 expert report 1Q 2012
  • I.11 Account (ACC): The account or account balance represents the total of all book entries performed in a financial accounting account within a book entry period. An account balance comprises individual book entries. An account balance comprises the amount entered, the corresponding currency, and a code to indicate whether it is a debit or credit.
    Example: EUR 456.78
  • I.12 Book entry (BOOK): Each book entry is a transaction on the account. A book entry comprises the amounts (net, gross, etc.) and corresponding currency. More than one record may exist for one book entry.
    Example: EUR 632.95
  • I.13 Record (REC): The book entry record may incorporate several book entries. Several book entry records in a financial accounting account within a book entry period will generate a book entry balance. A book entry record comprises the amount entered and corresponding currency.
    Example: EUR 678.90
  • I.14 Service contract (CON): A service contract is a contractual agreement to which a creditor, service (e.g., maintenance of elevator systems), and service contract number are assigned.
    Example: 1234-13 Muster FM GmbH maintenance elevators

The position of a data object in the data model is defined by the hierarchical relationship between the various data objects. For example, a building is only assigned to one asset. The identification number of each data object provides information on its position within the data model. According to Fig. 3, the hierarchical relationship between the various data objects is as follows:

Fig. 3: Hierarchy of data objects

There may be further allocations to interim levels not mapped here (property companies, portfolios, sub-portfolios, loan installments, etc.) above the asset. These are mapped by entering attributes or codes in specific data fields under the asset. Within the scope of data exchange according to gif-IDA, the corresponding identification numbers (e.g., client or company numbers) are assigned and transmitted by the recipient.