Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) is a non-proprietary data format for the publication of a subset of building information models (BIM) focused on delivering asset data rather that geometric information. It is formally defined as a subset of the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC - the international standard for sharing and exchanging BIM data across different software applications), but can also be conveyed using worksheets or relational databases.
COBie was devised by William East of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, who authored a pilot standard in 2007 to improve the process of handing over information to building owners, occupiers and operators enabling them to manage their asset more efficiently. In 2008 it became COBie when it was revised to comply with international standards for data and classification.
COBie helps capture and record important project data at the point of origin, including equipment lists, product data sheets, warranties, spare parts lists, preventive maintenance schedules and so on. This information is essential to support operations, maintenance and asset management once the built asset is in service.
COBie does not increase the need for information, it simply structures it in a more accessible format, so that it is easier to use and re-purpose. The format is intended to be easy to manage by any organisation, irrespective of size and IT capability. Its simplicity means that all tiers of the supply chain should be able to contribute to the data set, even if just by entering it directly into the spreadsheet. The format also 'insulates' the client from unnecessary complexity, technology changes, interoperability problems and proprietary software issues.
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. The required submissions of BIM information for Level 2 are in the COBie format. These submissions, or 'data drops' are required at key milestones through the development of projects to ensure they are properly validated and controlled, enabling the client to check the available data in terms of technical compliance, compliance with the brief, cost / price, and so on.
Generally, data drops are aligned to project stages, and the information required reflects the level of development that the project should have reached by that stage. As it develops, the COBie file may contain data from consultants, the contractor, sub-contractors and suppliers, and even the client. Ultimately the data will provide information for the efficient operation and management of the facility.
COBie consists of multiple sheets documenting attributes of the facility, its systems and assets and details of their product types, warranties, maintenance requirements and so on. As the project develops so additional attributes, issues and documentation can be associated to specific items.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Asset information requirements.
- BIM for dummies - an interview.
- BIM Task Group.
- BS 1192-4:2014.
- Building Information Modelling.
- CIC BIM Protocol.
- Collaborative practices.
- Computer Aided Design.
- Data drop.
- Employer's information requirements.
- File formats for BIM.
- Government Construction Strategy.
- Industry Foundation Classes.
- Information manager.
- Level of detail.
- Open data.
- Open data - how can it aid the development of the construction industry?
- PAS 1192-2:2013.
- PAS 1192-3:2014.
- Soft landings.
 External references
- East, William. "Construction Operation Building Information Exchange". USACE ERDC.
- East, William. "Corps of Engineers Pilots COBie". Building Sciences Monthly e-Newsletter. NIBS.
- COBie UK 2012. (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange)
- BIM Task Group.
- BIM Task Group FAQ's.
- Government Construction Strategy.
--Eepaul 09:19, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
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