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A Guide to BIM (Building Information Modeling) Standards and COBie

Infrastructure
Posted by James Donovan on 25 January 2017 Connect with James on LinkedIn Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Outlining the U.S. National BIM Standards (NBIMS-US™)

In the U.S., the national BIM standard (NBIMS-US™) was published by the buildingSMART alliance® (a council of the U.S. National Institute of Building Sciences) at the end of 2007. Since then, it has undergone several revisions.

The finalized NBIMS-US™ V3 was released in July 2015. NBIMS-US™ is supported by many software vendors and several big design firms and construction companies. This standard is based on Industry Foundation Class (IFC or ifcXML), which is an ISO standard (IS 16739) for sharing data information, and PDF/E (IS 24517) for geometry (including 3D). It also includes embedding IFCs in the PDF.

The IFC openBIM format was originally developed by the buildingSMART alliance to facilitate interoperability in the architecture, engineering and construction industries and is an object-based file format tied to a specific data model.

BIM Standards Guide – U.K. PAS/BS 1192 Series

In 2007, the U.K. published the BS 1192 standard—Collaborative Production of Architectural, Engineering and Construction Information. This BIM standards guide forms the basis for achieving Level 1 BIM.

Recently, the U.K. BIM Task Group—in collaboration with the Construction Industry Council—published three additional BIM standards:

  • PAS 1192-2:2013 — Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modeling.
  • PAS 1192-3:2014 — Specification for information management for the operational phase of assets using building information modeling.
  • BS 1192-4:2014 — Collaborative production of information—Part 4: Fulfilling employer’s information exchange requirements using COBie—Code of practice.
  • PAS 1192:2 specified an information management process to support BIM Level 2 in the capital/delivery phase of projects—setting out a framework for collaborative working on BIM-enabled projects and providing specific guidance for information management requirements associated with projects delivered using BIM.
  • PAS 1192:3 acts as a partner to PAS 1192:2 and supports the Level 2 BIM objective by setting out a framework for information management for the whole lifecycle of asset management.

It offers guidance on the use and maintenance of the asset information model to support the planned preventative maintenance program and the portfolio management activity for the life of the asset.

It addresses the operational phase of assets irrespective of whether these were commissioned through major works, acquired through transfer of ownership, or already existed in an asset portfolio.

BS 1192-4 defines a methodology for the exchange of information throughout the lifecycle of a facility. It defines expectations for the design and construction project phases prior to handover and the subsequent in-use phase.

This code of practice helps the portfolio managers, asset managers, and facility managers specify their expectations while helping information providers—including the lead designers and contractors—prepare concise, unambiguous and accessible information.

How is COBie incorporated?

The use of COBie ensures that information can be prepared and used without the need for knowledge of the sending and receiving applications or databases. It ensures that the information exchange can be reviewed and validated for compliance, continuity, and completeness.

Since BIM is a collaborative approach based on shared information models—and enabled by Web services—there is a need to address cyber security in the implementation of the collaborative processes and systems.

The British Standards Institute and the U.K. industry are currently developing a BIM security standard that will eventually be published as BS 1192-5.

What is COBie? “Construction Operations Building Information Exchange”

COBie stands for “Construction Operations Building Information Exchange” and was a specification developed by the U.S. Army in 2007. It specifies how information may be captured during design and construction and provided to facility operators.

It is a data schema for holding and transmitting information around handover to support the client’s ownership and operation of a facility (both new and existing).

The Main Purposes of COBie

Thus, COBie has two main purposes: as a data exchange format and as a checking tool in the design process.

The original document was revised by the U.K. government in 2012 to include energy and CO2 impact on building constructions.

The process for importing data from BIM models has been extended to four data drops during the delivery stage of the project to manage cost and carbon1:

  • Data drop 1: This deals with models that represent requirements and constraints
  • Data drop 2: This deals with models that represent outline solutions
  • Data drop 3: This deals with models that represent construction information
  • Data drop 4: This deals with models that represent operation and maintenance information

The revised document is the COBie-UK-2012. The objective of this document is to explain the organization of the COBie worksheet and identify who provides what information within the requirement as the project proceeds from planning, to design, to commissioning, to occupancy, to handover.

COBie is simply a subset of the integrated BIM focused on the owner. COBie can be exported to BIM and vice versa.

What Can We Expect From the Future of the Architecture and Construction Industry?

The future of architecture and the construction industry is digital—and BIM is the future of design and long-term facility management and building analytics. It is government led and technology driven and it is implementing change across all industries.

However, there is still much confusion on how it should be utilized and implemented. BIM is a digital model that helps everyone understand the building. However, it is a new technology introduced into an industry typically slow to adopt change. Nevertheless, BIM will grow to play a crucial role in building design and documentation.

BIM reduces errors in the transfer of information and helps build better value constructions. By identifying clash detection, BIM prevents errors creeping in at the various stages of development and construction.

In addition, BIM offers a detailed computer visualization of each part and assembly in relation to the total building. As hardware, software and cloud applications herald a greater capability to handle increasing amounts of data and information, the use of BIM will become even more pronounced than it is in current projects.

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