Standardized Building Information Exchange with COBie

Jul 30, 2015 -- BIM is being used across building design and construction projects for a long time now. Earlier, when implementing BIM solutions for construction projects was relatively low, a lot was said about why the BIM uptake is slow and why businesses are reluctant in adopting BIM.

In addition to lack of knowledge and training and lack of BIM expertise across the industry; an important point that was raised, was lack of standards.

Some argue that standardization stifles innovation; however this is not always true. In fact when industry develops standards, it sets up stage for healthy competition, increased buyer choice and technical progress. It also facilitates improved quality, permit compatibility and aids integration. These set standards are minimum requirements; providers may offer more than the minimum requirement and hence enable higher levels of performance.

Now it is important to understand that Building information modeling, is not only about visualizations, it is a process that involves leveraging the information. It deals with data management; i.e. management of vast amount of information generated across a construction project. In order to seek the right kind of information and use it exactly as and when required, it is important to set standards.

A COBie spreadsheet is the answer. This spreadsheet contains structured information from across the construction teams and improves the handover of processes to owners and operators.

What is COBie 2012 UK?

Construction-Operations Building Information Exchange, COBie is a standard data spreadsheet. Here the digital information about a building is entered in a given format and is further used by experts for construction planning and operations.

In order to improve the management of assets, clients should request specific information from the supply chain. This specific information that is requested is COBie. When information is received in a specified standard format, it becomes easy to analyze this information and take informed decisions.

Why adhering to COBie is helpful?

In a construction project where BIM is implemented, a lot of construction professionals collaborate to put documentation together, and further this documentation is updated as the project progresses. Now this documentation might be supplied in the form of PDF’s, paper documentation, etc. Now understanding and extracting information from these sources and populating models with this information can be extremely time consuming and difficult. Hence there is a need to standardize information exchange by using a specific format for the documentation, in the form of spreadsheets. Hence all the key information gets pulled into these spreadsheets, and shared between all the teams.

Comparing and choosing the best BIM objects via COBie spreadsheets

Let us cite an example of mobile phones. While buying one, don’t you go to price and specification comparison site where you can easily compare various features of the two devices side by side? This happens when the information for the make and specifications of the device is entered in a specific standardized format.

Similarly when BIM object information spreadsheet format is standardized, it becomes easy to compare and choose the best objects for the construction project.

UK BIM Mandate

This kind of standardization, led by COBie data drops lies at the core of the UK BIM strategy. It dwells on the fact that easy comparison and analysis of information can lead to better and informed decisions and hence improved project outcomes.

Being able to compare construction data across built assets will help professional generate higher value and influence project outcomes. In addition to ongoing management of construction project, standardized information exchange will also be pivotal in influencing maintenance and operation activities in a project.

About Author:

Bhushan Avsatthi is an Associate Director at Hitech Outsourcing Services. Bhushan imbibes the prophecy of efficient and prudent use of energy in his day to day life and advices his team to do so as well. He is also involved in green initiatives like nonprofit tree plantation project and promotes using cycles for commuting small distances. Bhushan, handles a team of architects, Structural and MEP engineers, LEED consultants and Energy modeling experts.

Image Credit: http://www.solibri.com/journal/cobie-enables-owners-get-serious-asset-management/




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