COBie – What is it and Why is it Important?

COBie is the Construction-Operations Building information exchange. It was developed as a result of a 2007 study.

(Editors Note – Ben Wallbank at the Viewpoint Surveyor blog provided this explanation.)

COBie Spreadsheet

COBie Spreadsheet

“COBie is a vehicle for sharing what is predominantly non-graphical data about a facility. It was developed in the U.S. by the US Department of State, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Veterans Association and NASA – so don’t let anybody tell you BIM isn’t rocket science, because it is!

There was some UK involvement from both Nick Nisbet of AC3 and also Vinci UK were involved in the development too. The UK Government, when they came to look at what data formats to adopt for the whole life of their assets, looked around the world and saw that COBie had been developed and licensed its use.

COBie is a standard subset of IFC – the Industry Foundation Classes – it’s just that bit of data from IFC which relate to the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and Facilities Management (FM) of assets and this is delivered to client in the form of a spreadsheet.”

Picture of Handover Documents COBie

Handover Documents

COBie is a performance-based specification for facility asset information delivery. Two types of assets are included in COBie: equipment and spaces. While manufacturer data for installed products and equipment may one day be directly available (via the SPie project), COBie helps the project team organize electronic submittals approved during design and construction and deliver a consolidated electronic O&M manual with little or no additional effort.

COBie data may then be imported directly into CMMS and asset management software, again at no cost. The PDF, drawing, and building information model files that accompany it are organized so that they can be easily accessed through the secure server directories already in place at the facility management office. The federal government’s requirement for delivery of Real Property Inventory (RPI) information may be met by COBie.

While the technical details can appear complex, the files are not intended for end-users. COBie provides system-to-system exchange of the space and equipment information without user intervention. Consider COBie and similar “information exchange” projects to be a kind of “ASCII for buildings.” Today, people don’t need to know ASCII to use a web browser, email system, word processor, or other software; the words just come along because of ASCII. In the same way, once we have achieved COBie everywhere, only a very few programmers will need to give it a second thought.

For more detailed information click here.

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