Digital Building Information
Frequently Asked BIM Questions
A simple guide to BIM in relation to asset and facilities management.
What is BIM?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) – is a collaborative way of working that facilitates early supply chain involvement, underpinned by the digital technologies which unlock more efficient methods of designing, creating and maintaining our assets.
BIM provides a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of an asset (or portfolio of assets) to support reliable decision making and management of information during its life-cycle.
At its core, BIM uses 3D models and a common data environment to access and share information efficiently across the supply chain and so boost the efficiency of activities around asset delivery and operation.
By helping the entire supply chain to work from a single source of information, BIM reduces the risk of error and maximises the team ability to innovate.
What is a BIM model?
BIM models – provide a visual representation of your estates facility. They align the designed visual element of your project with the built physical reality.
In essence, a BIM model is simply a ‘container for data’. It just so happens that all the data within the container is about your building and that the container itself just happens to look exactly like your building.
Container (in computer science): a data structure whose instances are collections of other objects… they store objects in an organised way. (Wikipedia)
Data can be added to any of the objects within your building model. Each building model has its own data, but each building is also a master data container – it contains spaces that each have their own data. Each space contains objects and each object has data. So, we have data containers within data containers.
Your model provides a visual representation of the rooms within your facility and other elements within those rooms, such as ventilation ducts or boilers.
All these visual elements of your model can be used as containers for storing data. The whole facility – floors, common spaces, zones made up of a group of common spaces and individual components and assets – can be used for storing data.
Some data will only apply to your facility as a whole and only needs to be linked to the master data container. This could be information from the design and construction phase, site investigations or planning consents and it will usually consist of pdf documents. Information for the whole-facility master data container can be easily added to these pdfs – as hyperlinks – and added to Operance.
Each individual building component becomes its own data container for specific and detailed data. For example, building components such as an air-handling unit, can contain: the name of the manufacturer; a serial number; a warranty start date; a warranty duration; and countless other data attributes essential for the effective opertation and maintenance of the component.
What are the BIM standards?
A large part of the original 2016 UK BIM Level 2 mandate revolved around published guidance documents, primarily consisting of British Standards (BS) and Publicly Available Specifications (PAS). The PAS 1992 suite of documents (like all PAS documents) was a response to a rapidly developing industry need and was produced to provide immediate structure and guidance, in this case, to BIM.
The new ISO 19650 standard is an international standard for managing information over the whole life cycle of a built asset using BIM. It contains all the same principles and high-level requirements as BIM Level 2 and is closely aligned with the current PAS 1192 standards. In Q1 2019 the first two international standards of the series were published:
- BS EN ISO 19650-1: Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling — Information management using building information modelling: Concepts and principles.
- BS EN ISO 19650-2: Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling — Information management using building information modelling: Delivery phase of the assets.
These two standards are founded on the UK’s standards for information management using building information modelling, namely BS 1192:2007 + A2:2016 and PAS 1192-2:2013. The principles remain as per these standards with terminology changes being preserved via the UK National Forewords and National Annex.
The following document was also published alongside the standards:
- PD 19650-0: UK Transition Guidance, which will along with the UK National Forewords and National Annex aid implementation of the ISO standards in the UK and ensure BIM Level 2 within the ISO framework.
What is an EIR?
Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR) – A pre-tender document that sets out the information to be delivered, and the standards and processes to be adopted by the supplier as part of the project delivery process. (PAS 1192-2:2013)
Your EIR is the number one important document to have in place for any BIM project. You will lose out on those crucially important BIM deliverables if you do not have a project EIR.
An EIR provides clear guidance on your BIM requirements for your project. It details exactly what the BIM deliverables will be, when they will be provided and who will provide them.
It also details other aspects of BIM management and processes that you require for your project, such as your file-naming protocol, file formats and the project Common Data Environment (CDE).
The content of your EIR should detail all your requirements and no more. It should be as concise as possible. These documents can be complicated enough by just including the information that is important to you. Why would you want to risk your key requirements being misinterpreted, ignored or potentially introducing contradictory information by adding superfluous stuff?
To make sure your EIR is as concise as possible, appraise your content, does it:
- Include enough information and detail for your requirements to be understood, and exclude information that is surplus to your requirements?
- Include only information that is relevant and beneficial for the intended purpose?
- Avoid ambiguous requirements?
What is an OIR and an AIR?
Organisational Information Requirements (OIR) – Data and information required to achieve the organisation’s objectives. (PAS 1192-3:2014)
Asset Information Requirements (AIR) – Data and information requirements of the organisation in relation to the asset(s) it is responsible for. (PAS 1192-3:2014)
It is advised that organisations managing large estates should have an overarching OIR in place. From this, the specific detail of your AIR can be generated. Then, for each BIM project, you produce a project-specific Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR).
It provides you with a quality assurance (QA) reference document, which acts as a baseline to allow you to compare the information you collect and use against what you have detailed that you require. This allows valuable lessons to be learnt, and improvements made to your systems and processes. It’s only by comparing your planned requirements against what actually happened that you will be able to either change your requirements or improve your systems.
Developing an OIR also provides a platform for integrating the whole of your organisational information requirements. This ensures that the information you obtain and manage is effective for all your departments and users. It can be too easy to just focus on obtaining data just for your own area of expertise.
You will have a good understanding of what data will be useful to you and how you can use it. But applying this approach to other parts of your organisation will require the support of experts within each department.
What is a BEP?
BIM Execution Plan – plan prepared by the suppliers to explain how the information modelling aspects of a project will be carried out. PAS 1192-2:2013
The BIM Level 2 guidance documents gave us structure, it required projects to have an Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR), the details of a clients BIM deliverables and a BIM Execution Plan (BEP), a statement of how the BIM requirements will be delivered.
The plan, often abbreviated as BEP or BxP, is developed both pre- and post- contract and is prepared as a direct response to the Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR).
The BEP will detail the project deliverables stipulated by the contract and the information exchange requirements detailed in a BIM protocol, such as the CIC BIM Protocol (a supplementary legal agreement that is incorporated into construction and professional services contracts via a simple amendment).
- Pre-Contract BEP – At tender stage, before a contract is agreed, a prospective supplier will develop a BEP with the aim of demonstrating their proposed approach, capability, capacity and competence to meet the EIR in general terms.
- Post-Contract BEP – Once a contract has been awarded then the winning supplier is required to submit a further BIM Execution Plan. The focus of this post-contract document is to confirm the supply chain’s capabilities an may be supplemented with further documentation setting out when project information is to be prepared, who is responsible for preparing the information and what protocols and procedures will be used to develop the information.
What is a COBie?
Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) – A non-proprietary data format for the publication of a subset of building information models focused on delivering asset data as distinct from geometric information. (NBS)
In essence, COBie provides a method for exchanging information in a structured format. It is general enough that it can be used to document both Buildings and Infrastructure assets. It is simple enough that it can be transmitted using a spreadsheet.
It is means of sharing structured information. The data is exchanged using spreadsheets to keep the complexity of systems and training to a minimum.
COBie is often described as a subset of an information model. This means it contains a defined and limited set of model information, the data within the model. This is an important point, as the larger set of data for which COBie is a subset of, is your model.
So, it’s a relatively simple approach to produce a COBie spreadsheet from your data model, should it be required. But, you also have the advantage of having a model with a richer and more comprehensive set of data than can be delivered through COBie alone.
Should BIM Data be Maintained?
Everything requires maintenance and this includes your data as your data model (of your new or existing building/estate) should be considered as an asset.
Yes, it is a model of your facility and it is only useful because it provides a model representation of the facility. But this doesn’t prevent the model from being of value and anything of value should be considered an asset.
Your physical asset: imagine you have a new building, just finished with everything working, fully commissioned and balanced, your facility is at its maximum value. Nothing has broken, nothing requires maintenance, cleaning or replacement. Over time as the facility is used, surfaces will become worn, doors will become damaged, valves will require opening and closing or they will become stuck.
It’s just the natural way that as time progresses, stuff will stop working, or will become worn out due to constant use. As more time passes and as your facility continues to be used, it will devalue. The only way to reduce this decline in value is to expend money to maintain your asset.
Your digital asset: Exactly the same process applies to your data model. The data within the model, the information about the installed assets and the design of your facility, will be correct and validated at the time that of handover or delivery of the model. This is when your model should provide a fully accurate representation of the physical (graphical) parts of your facility and the information about the parts and use of the facility.
This data will also start to devalue over time. As the parts of your facility are altered, maintained and replaced, the model representation will start to differ from the actual facility. The more the information model differs from your facility, the more the model will devalue. The only way to prevent your data model from devaluing is to invest in maintaining the data, in exactly the same way as your physical facility requires continual investment.
The data should be regularly checked for consistency and accuracy, particulary if have collected data for the anticipated life of an asset for forecasting future costs for maintaining your physical asset. As you swap or change assets, you will be required to also add new anticipated life data to correctly maintain your data. And unless you are using this data effectively, this would be a wasted activity and a devaluing asset.
Frequently Asked ISO19650 Questions
A simple guide to ISO 19650 standards and how we can help.
What is ISO 19650 Certification?
The ISO 19650 standard is the international standard for managing information over the whole life cycle of a built asset using building information modelling (BIM). It contains the same principles and high-level requirements described in the UK BIM Framework and is closely aligned with the original UK 1192 standards.
The principles remain the same as BIM Level 2. There are small changes in terminology but some Level 2 wording is still included in the UK National Forewords and National Annex.
To achieve certification, we help organisations understand their ambitions and develop their own bespoke BIM systems and process whilst training key people. Once you are ready (normally taking around 8-12 weeks in total), we employ, coordinate and assist you through third-party accreditation and your first year’s audit.
What's the difference between ISO 19650 and PAS 1192 (BIM Level 2)?
The new ISO 19650 standards replaced PAS 1192 in 2019. The ISO standards were founded on the UK’s 2016 mandated standards for information management using building information modeling (BIM), namely BS 1192:2007 + A2:2016 and PAS 1192-2:2013.
The principles remain similar in large, with slight terminology changes, but even terminology was preserved via the UK National Forewords and National Annex.
Whilst the UK’s BIM Level 2 standards provided a solid foundation in which to develop ISO 19650, it does differ beyond terminology and language. The key differences could be highlighted as:
- BIM maturity now determined by stages, not levels, meaning BIM Level 2 should no longer be used by the industry.
- The Employer and Supplier are now referred to as Appointing and Appointed parties.
- ‘Roles’ are now called ‘Functions’ to avoid the age-old myth that new job-titles and team members are required, which was never the case.
- Takes into account full lifecycle information principles through the project and asset operation phases.
- Includes a clearer step-by-step project information process.
- There is now an explicit requirement to consider risks.
- Inclusion of ‘Level of Information Need’.
- Common Data Environment (CDE) ‘States’ replace ‘Areas’ and ‘Status’ replaces ‘Suitability’.
- More detail of delivery team documents.
- Now two types of responsibility matrix including ‘Management Activities’ and ‘Information Management Delivery’.
- Container ID [file naming] adjusted following industry feedback.
- ‘Volume Strategy’ now a ‘Federation Strategy and Container Breakdown’.
How many parts of ISO 19650 are there and which is relevant to us?
ISO 19650 is currently available in four parts:
- BS EN ISO 19650-1: Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works. (Concepts and principles)
- BS EN ISO 19650-2: Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works. (Delivery phase)
- BS EN ISO 19650-3: Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works. (Operational phase).
- BS EN ISO 19650-5: Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works. (Information Security).
Accompanying the standards is the following document also:
- PD 19650-0: UK Transition Guidance.
Why did the UK move from 'BIM Level 2' to the ISO 19650 Standards?
The UK’s BIM Level 2 was game changing for our industry, and the rest of the world wanted to benefit too.
To do this the British Standards (BS and PAS) needed to be recognised internationally – hence the move to ISO. The changes in wording reflect less British-centric terminology that make it easier to translate the ethos of BIM into other languages.
What happened to the BIM Level 2 standards following the introduction of ISO 19650?
As they are reflected in the new ISO 19650-1 and 2 documents, the following PAS 1192 documents and requirements have now been withdrawn;
- PAS 1192-2: Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using BIM which specified Level 2 maturity during the project phase, its framework, roles and responsibilities for collaborative BIM working. It was originally built on the existing standard of BS 1192, and expanded the scope of the Common Data Environment (CDE).
- PAS 1192-3: Specification for information management for the operational phase of assets using building information modelling.
- PAS 1192-5: Specification for security-minded building information modelling, digital built environments and smart asset management.
- BS 1192:2007 + A2:2016: Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information.
We have no prior certification, how do we achieve iso19650 certification?
You do not need any previous knowledge, experience or prior certifications to achieve ISO 19650 accreditation, you simply need a guide to help you get there.
Our team will walk you through our easy-to-follow 5-Step BIM Implementation and Certification process following a scoping call and ‘Introduction to BIM’ presentation (either online or in-person – we can even provide the facilities and refreshments).
- Implementation Phase: includes the development of your BIM roadmap, systems and processes and staff training.
- Certification Phase: the final accreditation, delivered by one of our nationally recognised third-party accreditation bodies. Don’t worry, we’ll still be there to coordinate the process and guide your team through this phase, meaning you only have only one organisation to call at any one time, ours. We will even accompany you and provide any required revisions on your first annual audit.
How much does it cost and how long will it take to gain ISO19650 accreditation?
At Operance we like to keep it simple, including the price. We therefore offer two options based on whether or not you currently hold existing PAS 1192 certification;
- PAS 1192 to ISO 19650 Certification Upgrade: Prices start from £7.5k.
- ISO 19650 Implementation & Certification: Prices start from £14k.
Prices can vary depending on the size of your business (number of employees, locations, turnover etc) and we provide guaranteed maximum prices (GMP).
Timescales normally range between 8-16 weeks, again this is dependant on the size of your organisation and the number of people you wish to involve in the process.