Last edited 08 Jul 2016

BS 1192-4:2014. Collaborative production of information Part 4: Fulfilling employer’s information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice

BS 1192-4:2014, Collaborative production of information Part 4: Fulfilling employer's information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice was published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in September 2014.

Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) is a non-proprietary multi-page, spreadsheet data format for the publication of a subset of building information models (BIM) focused on delivering asset data rather that geometric information.

In May 2011 the UK government published the Government Construction Strategy, announcing the government's intention to require Level 2 BIM (collaborative 3D BIM with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) on its projects by 2016.

Level 2 BIM requires that information is exchanged between parties involved in developing or operating a built asset at key milestones, or 'data drops'. The British Standards Institution suggests that BS 1192-4:2014 '…defines expectations for the exchange of information throughout the lifecycle of a Facility.'

Information exchanges must be made following the COBie schema, as well as BIM models and PFD documents.

COBie is a spreadsheet format that includes information about the spatial locations, equipment and components that make up a built asset. This simple format ensures that BIM information is easy to create by suppliers and easy for the employer to assess and use. BSI state, '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.'

The need for information during the development and operation of a built asset should be clearly defined by in the employers information requirements (EIR). Very broadly, this may include information for:

  • Overall management of the asset.
  • Support for business questions.
  • Support for compliance or regulatory responsibilities.

During the briefing and operational stages, information may be provided by the employer and received by suppliers. During the design and construction phases, information is likely to be provided by suppliers and received by the employer.

COBie deliverables will become more complete as the project develops, with a finalised COBie exchange at handover. It may then be amended or updated as a result of post-occupancy evaluations or operational changes.

BS 1192-4:2014 includes guidance about:

  • Terms and definitions.
  • Business process.
  • Purposes.
  • Management and quality criteria.
  • Implementation.
  • Example COBie entries.
  • Diagram of the COBie schema.

BS 1192-4:2014 is closely aligned with:

NB PAS (Publicly Available Specifications) are fast-track standards, that meet an immediate market need. Within 2 years, they are reviewed to assess whether they should be revised, withdrawn, or whether they should become formal British Standards or international standards.

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