Common BIM Files Now Available to Help Verify Exchange of Building Information

Several new tools are available through the National Institute of Building Sciences buildingSMART allianceTM to help building practitioners and software vendors improve their use and performance of open-standard building information models (BIMs).

The Common BIM Files are a free set of three building models: an apartment building, a medical clinic and an office building. Each model includes architectural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing information. (The clinic even comes with design drawings.)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) developed the Common BIM Files as a result of a research project to establish Life Cycle information exchange (LCie) standards for building models.

"These Common BIM Files will help vendors benchmark the performance of their software applications and practitioners reduce or eliminate manual repairs otherwise needed to meet requirements for information exchange standards such as COBie [the Construction Operations Building information exchange]," said Bill East, PhD, PE, F.ASCE, Research Civil Engineer at ERDC and leader of the Alliance’s information exchange projects. "Without standard models and tool sets, it’s difficult for researchers to evaluate and repeat research that requires building information. These new open models and tools can reduce the start-up time needed by researchers to do their work while improving the scientific merit of their results."

The new Common BIM Files are available to anyone for download. In addition to the open models and software guide, there are links to the free software needed to condense, evaluate, transform and report on building models. One of these tools, a new release of the open-source software, enables transformations of large building models (provided in Industry Foundation Class (IFC) Coordination View) to much smaller models containing only spaces and managed assets found in the COBie specification. The Common BIM Files can be used in the COBie Facility Maintenance (FM) Handover Challenge, which will be held as part of the National Institute of Building Sciences Annual Meeting and Ecobuild America Conference, Wednesday, December 7, in Washington, D.C. View the COBie Challenge information.

The Institute’s buildingSMART allianceTM oversees the development of the information exchange projects. The new Common BIM File tools are available through the Alliance website.

Learn more about the COBie Challenge and other Institute activities at Ecobuild America.


About the National Institute of Building Sciences

The National Institute of Building Sciences, authorized by public law 93-383 in 1974, is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that brings together representatives of government, the professions, industry, labor and consumer interests to identify and resolve building process and facility performance problems. The Institute serves as an authoritative source of advice for both the private and public sectors with respect to the use of building science and technology. For more information, please visit

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