Open BIM Standards – COBIE, OMNICLASS – IFC / COBIE Report 2012

BIM adoption remains a challenge due to the fact that its many supporters don’t focus upon it’s true relevance, the efficient life-cycle management of the built environment.

While any new technology has  barriers to adoption, changing the “status quo”, the fundamental nature of how a business sector does business requires a major event.   The cultural and process changes associated with BIM, namely the need for all stakeholders to collaborate, share information in a transparent manner, and share in risk/reward, remain chasms to be crossed by many/most.    Fortunately, those currently or previously involved with Integrated Project Delivery and Job Order Contracting (the latter a form of IPD specifically targeting renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction) have experience with these “novel” business concepts.  Both IPD and JOC have proven track records and have clearly demonstrated the ability to get more work done on-time and on-budget to the benefit of all involved parties.

A key aspect of BIM, collaboration, can only be efficiently accomplished with a commonly understood and shared taxonomy including terms, definitions, and associated metrics.

So called “open BIM”, such as buildingSMART International’s Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs), are important to enabling collaboration as well as interoperability between BIM software applications.     COBie, a naming convention for facility spaces/components, etc., and its counterparts OMINCLASS, including MASTERFORMAT and UNIFORMAT,  etc. … can be leveraged and generated by IFC appears a goal worth additional focus on a local and global level.   That said, support for COBie, OMNICLASS, IFC, etc. varies and,  far from mainstream.

As noted in the IFC / COBIE Report 2012, BIM’s success depends upon the ability to:

  1. Create model data in a consistent format
  2. Exchange that data in a common language
  3. Interrogate the data intelligently.

There are multiple knowledge domains, technologies, and process involve in the life-cycle management of the built environment, all of which need a common data architecture, taxonomy, set of metrics, etc.

The IFC / COBIE Report 2012 correctly points out that pressing needs remain:

  1. The need for standards

  2. The need for guidance

  3. The need for enhanced IFC import export routines from BIM applications

  4. The need for agreed descriptions of who requires what data and when

  5. The need for an improved audit trail to allow greater confidence in collaboration.

Also, and I paraphrase / embellish…

  1. “Enforcement” of IFC by buildSmartalliance and all BIM “proponents”  is required.
  2. Domain experts must leveraged and queried to deliver structured data templates accordingly.  The industry needs well defined model view definition for each COBie data drop. From this can come clear guidance on the “level of detail” required at each COBie data drop. This will give a shared understanding of what information is required from and by whom and at what stage.  For example needs of Facilities Managers are required to inform the content of the COBie data drops. Facility management must be considered as early as the briefing process.
  3. Weaknesses in the IFC import /export processes exist in current software product implementation. These weaknesses make manual checking necessary and reduce confidence.  Improvement  is vital here.
  4. While IFC can be used when generating COBie data, people will use whatever works and is available. The market requires.  complete flexibility to choose what systems they use. Innovation should not be stifled by mandating a process to achieve the required data.
  5. COBIE is far from complete, but a good starting point.
  6.  Microsoft Excel  provides a view of the structured info of COBie data and one way 0f reporting data, however, in NOT a good authoring tool, nor does it support hierarchal relational data schema.





BIM Evolution

In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.
– Charles Darwin

BIM, the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology, requires a fundamental change in how the construction (Architects, Contractors, Engineers) and facility management (Owners, Service Providers, Building Product Manufactures, Oversight Groups, Building Users) sectors operate on a day-to-day basis.  

BIM, combined and  Cloud Computing are game changers.  They are disruptive technologies with integral business processes/practices that demand collaboration, transparency, and accurate/current information displayed via common terminology.

The traditional ad-hoc and adversarial business practices commonly associated with Construction and Facility Management are changing as we speak.    Design-bid-build and even Design-Build will rapidly go by the wayside in favor of the far more efficient processes of Integrated Project Delivery – IPD, and Job Order Contracting – JOC, and similar collaborative programs.  (JOC is a form of integrated project delivery specifically targeting facility renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction).

There is no escaping the change.   Standardized data architectures (Ominclass, COBie, Uniformat, Masterformat) and cost databases (i.e. RSMeans), accesses an localized via cloud computing are even now beginning to be available.   While historically, the construction and facility management sectors have lagged their counterparts (automotive, aerospace, medical, …)  relative to technology and LEAN business practices, environmental and economic market drivers and government mandates are closing the gap.

The construction and life-cycle management of the built environment requires the integration off several knowledge domains, business “best-practices”, and technologies as portrayed below.   The efficient use of this BIG DATA is enabled by the BIM, Cloud Computing, and Integrated Project Delivery methods.


The greatest challenges to these positive changes are  the CULTURE of the Construction and the Facility Management Sectors.  Also, an embedded first-cost vs. life-cycle or total cost of ownership perspective.  An the unfortunate marketing spotlight upon the technology of 3D visualization vs. BIM.   Emphasis MUST be place upon the methods of how we work on a daily basis…locally and globally  − strategic planning, capitial reinvestment planning, designing collaborating, procuring, constructing, managing and operating.  All of these business processes have different impacts upon the “facility” infrastructure and  construction supply chain, building Owners, Stakeholders, etc., yet communication terms, definitions, must be transparent and consistently applied in order to gain  greater efficiencies.

Some facility life-cycle management are already in place for the federal government facility portfolio and its only a matter of time before these are expanded and extended into all other sectors.

BIM, not 3D visualization, but true BIM or Big BIM,  and Cloud Computing will connect information from every discipline together.  It will not necessarily be a single combined model.  In fact the latter has significant drawbacks.    Each knowledge domain has independent areas of expertise and requisite process that would be diluted and marginalized if managed within one model.   That said, appropriate “roll-up” information will be available to a higher level model.   (The issue of capability and productivity marginalization can be proven by looking a ERP and IWMS systems.  Integration of best-in-class technology and business practices is always support to systems that attempt to do everything, yet do not single thing well.)

Fundamental Changes to Project Delivery for Repair, Renovation, Sustainability, and New Construction Projects MUST include:

  • Qualifications Based or Best Value Selection
  • Some form of pricing transparency and standardization
  • Early and ongoing information-sharing among project stakeholders
  • Appropriate distribution of risk
  • Some form of financial incentive to drive performance / performance-based relationships

The Legal Aspects of BIM

Many remain confused about the meaning and value  of BIM (building information modeling).

BIM is the efficient full life cycle operation of the built environment, with the promise of managing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and associated physical and functional conditions in concert with an organization’s changing needs.   This is a radical departure from the  current focus upon “first cost” or ” initial cost” mentality.  BIM is NOT 3D modeling (Revit, Archicad, Bentley, etc.), although some vendors tend to perpetuate this myth.   BIM is the visualization and modeling of the built environment to assist in associated decision support, via ANY means, leveraging digital technology.

Traditionally, construction projects are managed in silos, for example – design, engineering, procurement, construction, operations, etc… all in there own neat (or not so neat) little containers.  Integrating this information, collaborating with this informati0n, and providing the Owner with the ability to leverage accurate, transparent, timely information for ongoing decision support is practiced by an elite few… likely less than 5% of the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner ,Operations) sector.    The end result it that we, and an industry sector, continue to experience rampant waste, low productivity, and an antagonistic environment littered with legal squabbles.

BIM, in its true form, offers ,significant cost savings and productivity improvements for all stakeholders, as well as long lasting, positive, and mutually beneficial relationships.

The key to BIM is the construction delivery method and associated strategic direction of all parties.   Collaborative methods such as Integrated Project Delivery – IPD, and Job Order Contracting – JOC, and similar methods are fundamental requirements, in addition to several building life-cycle knowledge domains, technologies, and best practices.   Fundamental characteristics of collaboration construction delivery include:

  1. Qualifications Based or Best Value Selection
  2. Some form of pricing transparency
  3. Early and ongoing information-sharing among project stakeholders
  4. Appropriate distribution of risk
  5. Some form of financial incentive to drive performance

So… back to the legal aspects of BIM.  In short, there really aren’t any… IF… an robust, collaborative, construction delivery method is in place defining the ground rules for everyone.  That said, there are certainly considerations and components that must be incorporated:

  • Who owns the information? – The Owner must have ownership, however, this ownership can be, and should be… in most cases, shared with the creator.
  • Who was responsible for it and liable for the errors contained therein? – The Owner, and or Owner’s representative. as they are managing the process, however, a basic acceptable level of performance must be established for all parties.
  • How is the information collected and migrated? – Via open, transparent data architectures and lexicon.  For example, OMNICLASS, Masterformat, Uniformat, COBIE (once it gets sorted out).
  • Who was getting paid for what? – Pretty straightforward
  • Who was controlling the project? – At the end of the day, whoever pays the bills… always has worked best this way, thus the Owner or Owner’s representative.
  • In whose interest where the parties working? – Mutual, product completed to benefit and requirements of the owner, on-time, and on-budget.
  • How would the project be procure? IPD, JOC and similar methods that incorporate procurement, project management relationships and responsibilities, data architectures and formats, etc.

Sure, standards for guidance are evolving, however, several “best practice” business process alread exist and can easily be extended.   It is critical to remember that  business strategy,  processes, and workflow are the important area of focus, technology plays a supporting role.  Unfortunately, manner tend to approach BIM from a technology perspective…. an approach doomed from the start.

Why BIM has a LONG way to go.

BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.  BIM is not exclusively design, nor does it require 3D modeling.  BIM does require information modeling.

A recent BIM adoption survey in Canada highlights some of the major educational and cultural issues yet to be overcome.

The BIM uptake in Canada survey results were published by the Institute for BIM in Canada (IBC), which is home to buildingSMART Canada. The aim of the survey was to collect data on the use of BIM in the Canadian construction sector, identify bottlenecks in the adoption process and flag any issues arising.
The survey findings were released in early 2012:

1. Around 70% of the organizations using BIM had realized benefits in the form of better end-products, enhanced productivity, competitive advantage and improved documentation. – GOOD

2. Some 80% believed that model ownership should be vested primarily with the architect. – NOT GOOD.  BIM required collaboration of all parties and ownership of the model should always reside with the OWNER.  Granted for various projects, temporary ownership from a management perspective can be allocated to any appropriate authority.

3. More than 50% said that sharing BIM models might cause legal issues. – NOT GOOD.  An appropriate collaborative construction delivery model …aka IPD or JOC should address any potential issues.

4. The survey showed that BIM implementation is a slow process, with many users still seeing BIM predominantly as a 3D modelling system. – VERY BAD Our industry should be well beyond this in 2011 or 2012.  Are people not keeping up with business and technology trends?

5. The survey suggested that one way to speed up adoption would be to make BIM a
mandatory requirement for public projects.  – GOOD  However, only if the definition of BIM is clear and detailed.

GSA, LEED, USGBC, and Politics

LEED Certification, and LEED in general has been a GREAT marketing tool.  That said, should LEED be a requirement? Is LEED cost effective?  Should LEED be modified?
The below letter clearly states that cost will INCREASE should the GSA move away from LEED?  How can that be?  What costs would increase?  Is there no better way for GSA to meet sustainability requirement than via LEED?

Take a look at the letter and please post you comments.

July 25, 2012

Acting Administrator Daniel Tangherlini
U.S. General Services Administration
One Constitution Square
1275 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20417

Dear Acting Administrator Tangherlini,

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is to be commended for its leadership in improving energy and environmental performance across its federal building portfolio. The recently released sustainability and energy “scorecard” by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) demonstrates just how successful GSA has been at reducing costs, improving efficiency and eliminating waste.

GSA earned the highest rating in all categories in the 2011 sustainability scorecard released from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

GSA reduced emissions from federal buildings more than 20 percent compared with 2008. That incredible reduction led all federal agencies.
GSA is ahead of schedule in reducing its potable water and electricity use.

These efforts are paying off in real terms. According to the OMB, investments in efficiency over the last four years are expected to save $18 billion in energy costs over the life of the projects.

In an effort to continue this success, GSA is evaluating the building rating tools at its disposal, as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. LEED is the most widely used high‐performance building rating system in the United States. The private sector uses LEED to both verify and communicate the quality of high performance buildings. If GSA, as the “landlord of the federal government,” were to require or use something else, it would add cost to the building and leasing process across the building industry. We are not in favor of adding cost.

Again, we commend your agency for its success in reducing the operating cost and impact of the federal building stock. We support your continuation of the rating tool evaluation process and focus on the usability, market acceptance, and effectiveness of rating tools rather than distractions focused on a single issue.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

106 Greenway
2 B Green Profitably
2M Design Consultants, Inc.
360 Architecture
4240 architecture
7group, LLC
Above and Beyond Energy
Abruña & Musgrave, Architects
Ackerstein Sustainability LLC
Acme Paper and Supply Co, Inc.
ActiveWest Builders
Adomatis Appraisal Service
Advanced Comfort Solutions, Inc.
Advanced Furniture Services
Advanced Home Energy Solutions
Aedis Ince
Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
AGR Consulting
AHA Consulting Engineers, Inc.
Ahold USA Retail
Airco Commercial Services, inc.
Airfresh Inc.
Alabama Green Building Solutions & SLS Construction
Alaska Thermal Imaging LLC
Albertin Vernon Architecture LLC
Albuquerque Old School
Alfandre Architecture, PC
Alicia Ravetto Architect PA
All Home & Energy Services LLC
Allcare Maintenance Services
Alliance Corporation
Alliance Environmental & Natural Systems Utilities, LLC
Alliance for Environmental Sustainability
Allied Construction Services LLC
Alpar Architectural Products
Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects
Alterna Corp.
Alternative Energy Systems
Alternative Solutions
AlturaSolutions Communications
Alvin E. Benike, Inc.
Alvin Holm AIA Architects
Balfour Beatty Construction
Banister Homes, Inc.
Bank of America
Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning PLLC
Barras Architects
Bath Engineering Corporation
Bay City Supply
Benefect Corp
Benefield Richters Company
Benson Woodworking Company, Inc.
Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects PC
Berner International Corp.
Better World Group
Big Ass Fans
Big-D Construction Corp
Big-D Signature
Biositu, LLC
Bird & Kamback Architects
Bird Group
BKM Construction LLC
Black United Fund of Illinois
Blackmon Rogers Architects LLC
Blue Camas Consulting Ltd.
Blue Marble LLC
Blue Moon Enterprises
Blue Sea Development Company, LLC
Blue Water Studio
Bluegill Energy
BlueGreen Alliance
Bluestone Building, LLC
BMI Mechanical, Inc.
BNP Media
Boone Gardiner Garden Center
Boreas Arquitectos
Bork Architectural Design, Inc.
Boston Global Investors
Boston Properties
Boston Redevelopment Authority
Brailsford & Dunlavey, Inc.
Brandywine Realty Trust
BRAZEN Architecture INC
BRC Acoustics & Audiovisual Design
Breedlove Land Planning, Inc.
Brewer Ingram Fuller Architects Inc.
Brewery Vivant
Cascadia Green Building Council
Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services
Catalyst Partners
Catherine Hall Designs, LLC
CBRE Commercial Real Estate Services
CCI Mechanical, Inc.
Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems
Center for Sustainable Building Research
Cerama-Tech of Southern Nevada
Certified Building Analysis LLC
Chambersburg Waste Paper Co
Chapman Construction / Design
Chartier Redevelopment Group
Chatham County Commission
CHB Industries, Inc.
Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters
Chidester Engineering, PLLC
Choate Construction Company
Christie Development Services
Christine Ervin/Company
Chula Ross Sanchez
Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future
City of Atlanta, Office of Sustainability
City of Chicago
City of Cincinnati
City of Grand Rapids
City of Philadelphia
City of San Antonio, Office of Environmental Policy
City of San Francisco, Department of the Environment
City of Santa Barbara, Office of the County Architect
City of Santa Monica Green Building Program
City of Tempe
City of Winston-Salem, Office of Sustainability
Clark Nexsen, Architecture and Engineering
Clayco, Inc.
Clean Age, LLC
Clean Energy Coalition
Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority
Cleaning First Impressions
Clivus Multrum, Inc.
Clothing Matters
CMA Architects & Engineers LLP
Coastal Building Maintenance
Coastal Therapy
Coldwell Banker/Schneidmiller Realty
Dale Corporation
Dale Partners Architects P.A.
Davis Davis Architects
Davis Energy Group
DCP Marketing Services LLC
DECOLights, Inc
DeFeo Associates
Delaware Valley Green Building Council
Delphi Corporation
DERBIGUM Americas, Inc.
Desert Moon Productions, Inc.
Design AVEnues LLC
Development Center for Appropriate Technology
Development Management Associates, LLC
Devine Brothers Inc
Dewberry Architects Inc.
Diversified Design Group LLC
Diversified Energy Services
DJ Construction Co. Inc.
DNV Business Assurance
Dominican Republic Green Building Council
Donia & Associates, Inc.
Donnelley Energy Solutions
Doo Consulting, llc
Dore Property Ventures LLC
Dover, Kohl & Partners Town Planning
DPR Construction
Drawing Conclusions LLC
Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects
Drysdale Energy
Dunlap & Partners Engineers
Dunlop Development, Inc.
DVA Home Improvement, LLC
DVL Automation
E.W. Dunn
e2 Homes, Inc.
e3 Bank
E3 Building Sciences
E3 Regenesis Solutions, Inc.
e4, Inc.
EA Buildings
Early New England Home Designs
Energy Inspectors Corporation
Energy IQ
Energy Master & Environmental Solutions
Energy Matters
Energy Opportunities, Inc.
Energy Upgrade Services, Inc.
Energy Wise Solutions Inc
EnergyLogic Inc.
Enermodal Engineering
Engineered Representation, Inc.
Engineered Tax Services
Engineering Services
Ennead Architects, LLP
Enovative Group, Inc.
Enterprise Green Communities
Environamics, Inc.
Environmental Concepts Company
Environmental Dynamics, Inc.
Environmental Planning Associates
Envision Design
EnVision Realty Services
ES2, Inc
ETC Group
Ethos Sustainable Finishes
Everest Properties
Everyday Green
Evolution Partners Real Estate Advisors
Exact Solar
Excel Dryer Inc.
Exoterra | Architects+Consultants
Exp U.S. Services, Inc.
Facilities Design Group
Farr Associates
Faulhaber Engineering & Sustainability
FBG Service Corp.
Fergus Garber Young Architects
Ferrand ACS
Filmop USA
Final Air Balance Co., Inc.
Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company
First Community Housing, Inc.
Golangco Global
Goodwyn Mills Cawood
GR Planning
Gray Construction
Green Advantage, Inc.
Green and Profitable
Green Building Certification Institute
Green Building Consulting
Green Building Education and Services, LLC
Green Building Education Services
Green Building Pages
Green Building Services Inc.
Green Capital Advisers
Green Chapps, LLC
Green Dinosaur, Inc.
Green Earth PR Network
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Green Education Inc.
Green Energy Solutions
Green Hive Foundation
Green Ideas, Inc.
Green Innovative Design
Green Insight, LLC
Green Property Funds LLC
Green Schools Inc.
Green Seal, Inc.
Green Stone Consulting
Green Street Development Group
Green Street Properties
Green Works Corp.
Greenbank Associates
GreenCE, Inc.
GreenDream Enterprises
Greener Country
Greenhut Construction Company
GreenShape LLC
Group 70
Group Mackenzie Inc.
Group14 Engineering
Grundfos Pumps
Holder Construction Company
HOLOS Collaborative
Homage Design
Home Energy Group, LLC
Horizon Residential Energy Services Maine, LLC
HSB Architects & Engineers
Humann Building Solutions
Hunzinger Construction
Hutton Architecture Studio
HW Davis Construction, Inc.
Hyland Fisher – Architect
IBS Advisors, LLC
IceStone, LLC
ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA
Imery & Co, LLC
Impact Infrastructure, LLC
In Balance Green Consulting
Incite Directives
Indoor Environmental Testing
Indra USA
Ingenuity LLC
Ingersoll Rand
Inner Space Consultants
Innovative Associates LLC
Innovative Design
Innovative Green Strategies, LLC
Innovink, LLC
InSites PLC
Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)
Institute for Supply Management
Institute for the Built Environment
Integral Group
Integrated Environmental Solutions LLC
Interior Directions
Interiors for Business, Inc.
Interiorscapes, Inc.
International Commissioning Engineers West, Inc.
Intex Solutions Inc.
Iowa-Des Moines Supply
Koch Hazard Architects
Kohler Co.
Komorous-Towey Architects
Krafft Cleaning Service, Inc.
Kramer+Marks Architects
Kristina Hahn Atelier
Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects
Kruger Sustainability Group
Kulka KLC
Kupcha Marketing Services
kW Engineering
KYA Design Group
Lake Affect Design Studio
Lakemary Center
Landis Construction
Lane Transit District
Lapointe Architects
Larsen & Associates
Larson Binkley, Inc.
Larson Darby Group
Law Office of Paul Kaplan
Lawrence Environmental Group
LCA Arquitecta
LDa Architects LLP
LEAP, Inc. (Local Energy Alliance Program)
Leonardo Academy Inc.
Leopardo Companies
Lewis Alan Office Furniture, Inc.
Little Consulting
Living Machine Systems, L3C
LoraxPro Software
LORD Green Real Estate Strategies, Inc.
LTLB Envirotecture
Lucas Tax + Energy
Lucile Glessner Design
Lunchbox Consulting Inc.
Luper Neidenthal & Logan
LWPB Architecture
M&E Engineers, Inc.
M. Landman Communications and Consulting
M.E. GROUP, Inc.
M3 Engineering Group PC
Macnet Global, Inc
Mobile Janitorial & Paper Co.
mode associates
Modus Architecture Collaborative
Moody Nolan
MOORE Consulting Engineers
Moore Nordell Kroeger Architects, Inc.
Morse & Cleaver Architects
Moseley Architects
Moshier Studio
Multivista IA
Musson General Contracting
N. Barton and Associates
Naomi Mermin Consulting
Nassau County
National Education Association
National Education Association,
Health Information Network
National Facility Solutions, LLC
National Life Group
National Organization of Minority Architects
National School Supply and Equipment Association
National Trust for Historic Preservation
National Wildlife Federation
Native Geothermal LLC
Navarro Lowrey Inc.
NBC Solutions
Neighborhood Energy Connection
Neumann/Smith Architecture
Nevada ENERGY STAR Partners
New Axiom, LLC
New Horizons Group
New Leaf Systems, Inc.
New Story Solar
NewCom Real Estate Services, LLC
Newman Consulting Group, LLC
New-Tex Mechanical Reps, Inc.
Nexant, Inc.
Nisenson Consulting
NJ Carpenters Apprentice Training and
Educational Fund
North Shore LIJ Health System
Northbay Energy Services, Inc
Philip Rosenau Co., Inc.
Philips Electronics North America Corporation
Phillips & Bacon
Pieper Properties, Inc.
Pieri Architects
Pierson Land Works LLC
Pino Diaz Design Partnership
Pirtle Construction Company
PIVOT Architecture
PlanetReuse Marketplace powered by InvenQuery
Planning Resources Inc.
Plant Solutions, Inc.
Platinum Earth
Plumb architecture
Plumbers Local 1 Trade Education Fund
PNC Financial Services Group
Poole Fire Protection
Populus, LLC
PorterWorks, Inc
Posty Cards
Powers Home Design
Prairie State General contractors
Praxis, Building Solutions, LLC
Prendergast Laurel Architects
Primary Integration
Primera Engineers, Ltd.
Principal Real Estate Investors
Processes Unlimited International, Inc.
Professional Janitorial Services
Progressive AE
Project Coordinating Services, LLC
Project Resource Group, LLC
Prosser Architects
Protect Environmental
Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels
R/R Briggs Inc.
Raimi + Associates
Rand Construction Corporation
Re: Vision Architecture
Seabold Architectural Studio
Sears Gerbo Architecture
Seasonal Energy
Sebesta Blomberg & Associates
Sellen Construction
SEQUIL Systems, Inc.
SERA Architects
Service Employees International Union
ServiceMaster by Kleidosty
ServiceMax Cleaning Systems
Servicon Systems Inc.
Shaw Consulting Service
Shaw Industries Group, Inc.
Sheridan Associates
Sherwin Williams Co.
Shive-Hattery, Inc.
Shorenstein Realty Services
Sieben Energy
Siemens Industry, Inc., Building Technologies Division
Sierra Club
Signature Systems of Florida
Simon & Associates, Inc.
Simply Sustainable LLC
Site Based Energy
Site Source, llc.
Site Story
Skipping Stone
SKS Investments
Sky Air llc.
SMACNA of Southern Nevada
Smart Growth America
SMART Management Consulting, LLC
Smith Consulting Architects
Smithlogic, Inc
Sol Developments
Solamente Clay Walls, LLC
Solar Design Studio
Solaris LLC
Sustainable Energy Analytics
Sustainable Engineering Group LLC
Sustainable Furnishings Council
Sustainable Learning Systems LLC
Sustainable Options, LLC
Sustainable Performance Solutions LLC
Sustainable Solutions Corporation
Sustainable Solutions LLC
Sustainable Town Concepts
Sustainable Transitions US
Sustainably Built
Sustainably Verdant
Swanke Hayden Connell Architects
Synergy Green Building Group, Inc.
Syntax Land Design, LLC
SystemWorks LLC
Taitem Engineering, PC
Talcott & Associates
Tax Analytics Group
TBD+ Architects
TBG Architects + Planners
TDC Pacific Properties
Team Plan, Inc.
Technical Group Services, Inc
Telemark, Inc.
Tellabs, Inc.
Tempo Partners
Terracon Consultants, Inc.
Terrapin / Bright Green, LLC
TerraScapes Environmental
Terrastructure Engineering Corporation
Terrazia PC
Teter, LLP
TexEnergy Solutions, Inc
The Agora Group
The Ashkin Group
The Boudreaux Group
The Brickman Group, Ltd.
The Community College of Baltimore County
The Dinerstein Companies
The EcoLogic Studio
The Energy Doctor
The Energy Studio Inc.
The Epsten Group, Inc.
UA Plumbers Local One Trade Education Fund
Unabridged Architecture
Uncommon LLC
Unico Systems
United States Gypsum
United Supply Group of Companies
University of California, Merced
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Louisiana, Lafayette School of Architecture & Design
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern Maine
Urban Engineers, Inc.
Urban Fabrick Design
Urban Green Council
Urban Green, LLC
UrbanBiology LLC
USG Corporation
USGBC Alabama Chapter
USGBC Arizona Chapter
USGBC Arkansas Chapter
USGBC California Central Coast Chapter
USGBC Caribbean Chapter
USGBC Central California Chapter
USGBC Central Florida Chapter
USGBC Central Ohio Chapter
USGBC Central Pennsylvania Chapter
USGBC Central Plains Chapter
USGBC Central Texas Balcones Chapter
USGBC Charlotte Region Chapter
USGBC Chihuahuan Desert Chapter
USGBC Cincinnati Regional Chapter
USGBC Colorado Chapter
USGBC Detroit Chapter
USGBC East Tennessee Chapter
USGBC Florida Capital Region Chapter
USGBC Florida Gulf Coast Chapter
USGBC Georgia Chapter
USGBC Hawaii Chapter
USGBC Heart of Florida Chapter
USGBC Idaho Chapter
USGBC Illinois Chapter
USGBC Indiana Chapter
USGBC Inland Empire Chapter
USGBC Iowa Chapter
Veliz Construction
Venue Solutions Group
Verdant HFC Sustainability Consulting
Verdi Workshop
Verdigris Group
Vermont Green Building Network
Vermont Heating & Ventilating Company Inc
Vertegy, an Alberici Enterprise
VERTEX Companies
Vetrazzo, LLC
Vidas Architecture, LLC
Village Builders VT
Vireo Design
Virgin Islands Energy Office
Virginia Beach City Public School
Visual Cue Thermal Imaging
Vital SPEC inc
Vornado Realty TrustW.S. Cumby, Inc.
Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC
WARM Training Center
Waste Management
Watchman Consulting
Watkins Architect LTD
WAXIE Sanitary Supply
WCIT Architecture
Weber Thompson
Well Fed Savannah

Always Peachy Clean, Cleaning Services
Ambient Energy
American Architectural Foundation
American Federation of Teachers
American Ground Water Trust
American Lung Association
American Maintenance
American Paper and Supply Company
American Standard Brands
American Sustainable Business Council
Ames + Gough
Ampajen Solutions, LLC
Amvic Inc
AndersonPacific, LLC
Andersson Architecture + Design
Annadel Building Solutions LLC
Antony Stefan Architect, PLLC
Applied Aesthetics Painting Studio
Applied Green Consulting
Applied Solar Energy / SOLEX
Applied Solutions
Arcadia Studio
Architects Hawaii Ltd
Architects, Hanna Gabriel Wells
Architectural Fusion, LLC
Architectural Resources
Arcus Design Group
Armstrong Commercial Ceilings
ArtHaus, LLC
ASP Enterprises, Inc.
Assa Abloy Door Security Solutions
Association of American Geographers
Atelier Ten USA LLC
Atkin Olshin Schade Architects
Atlantic Energy Concepts
Atlantic Irrigation
Atlas Project Support
Autodesk, Inc.
Axiom Sustainable Consulting, LLC
Aye Partners LLC
Aztec Products, Inc.
B Lab
Bachmann Construction
Bridging The Gap
Bright Green Strategies, Inc.
BrightKey Inc.
BrightLine Construction, Inc.
Brightworks Sustainability Advisors
Brion Jeannette Architecture
Brodie & Associates PLLC
Brownstone’s Green Services, Inc.
Brumbaugh & Associates
Brummitt Energy Associates, Inc.
Bruner/Cott & Associates
Building Green Generations
Building Ideas, LLC
Building Knowledge Inc.
BuildingGreen, Inc.
BuildingWise, LLC
Bullock Tice Associates, Inc.
Bunker Hill Community College
Bureau Veritas
Burgess Green Facililities Service
Burns & McDonnell Engineering
Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers
Association (BIFMA)
BWZ Architects
Byrne Electrical Specialists
C.T. Haydock, Landscape Architecture, P.C.
C.W. Brown Inc.
Cadmus Group
Caesars Entertainment Corporation
Cagle Design, Inc.
Caldwell Constructors, Inc.
California Polytechnic State University
CALMAC Manufacturing Company
Cameron McCarthy Landscape Architecture & Planning
Campaign for Environmental Literacy
Campbell Coyle Holdings, LLC
Cannon Design
Carbon-Key LLC
Care Design Group, LLC
Career and Technology Education Centers
Carlson Studio Architecture
Carroll Construction
Collaborative Project Consulting
Colliers International
Columbia Forest Products
Columbus Property Management & Development, Inc
Commercial Flooring Distributors
Commissioning & Green Building Solutions, Inc
Commissioning WorCx
Community Design + Architecture
Community Environmental Council
Complete Resources Building & Repair Inc
Composite Wall Systems, LLC
Concept 22 Inc.
Connecticut Green Building Council
Conservation Services Group
Consilience LLC
Construction Specialties, Inc.
Contects LLC
Control Service Company, Inc
Control Technologies, Inc.
Controlled Air Inc
Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons
Cope Architecture Inc.
Corcoran Expositions, Inc.
Cornerstone Design
Corporate Floors Inc
Corporate Image Maintenance
Corporate Sustainability Communications
Corvarys Group
Costa and Rihl Mechanical Contractors
Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)
County Line Nurseries, Inc
Courchesne and Associates inc.
Craig Kneeland Consulting
Creative Contractors Inc.
Critical Energy Solutions
CrossOver Recruiting
Crossville Incorporated
Crozier Architecture
Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc,
Cushman & Wakefield
Cx Associates, LLC
Cypress Creek Design Inc.
D. Gordon Consulting, Inc.
D.R. Wastchak, LLC
Earth Advantage, Inc
Earth Day New York, Inc.
Earth Design
Earth Ethics, Inc
Eastern Air Balance Corporation
Eastham & Associates
Easy to be Green
EBS Consultants
Eco Fundraisers
Eco Interiors
EcoEnergy Consulting and Supply Corp.
EcoLogic Life
Ecos Materials and Services
Ecosmith Architecture + Consulting, LLC
Ecosouth Green Building Services
EcoTech International
EcoUrban Construction
Ecoworks Studio
EDC magazine
Edifice Rx
EEA Consulting Engineers
Efficient Energy Advisors, LLC
EHDD Architecture
elg Design
Elite Solar Services
Elizabeth Eason Architecture, LLC
Ellen S. Light, AIA
Emerald Cities Collaborative
EMerge Alliance
emersion DESIGN, LLC
Emmer Management Corp
Empower Design Studio
Encore Recycled Granite LLC
Energy & Environmental Solutions
Energy and Sustainable Design Consultants, Inc.
Energy Center of Wisconsin
Energy Coordinating Agency
Energy Efficient Services
Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc
Fisher Town Design, Inc.
Fitzmartin Consulting Company
Fletcher-Thompson, Inc.
Flintco, LLC
FM Solutions Inc.
Focal Point Communications, Inc
Foliage Design Systems
Forbo Flooring Systems
Forest Stewardship Council US
Forum Architects, LLC
Forward Thinking Consultants, LLC
Foundation Communities
Frederic H. Dean Architect
Frederick Ward Associates
Freedman Engineering Group
Freeman French Freeman, Inc
Fremont County BOCES
Freshwater Farms, LLC
Frontline Copy
Full Spectrum of New York LLC
Future Engineering & Management, P.C.
G2 Gordon + Gordon Architecture LLC
Gaia Development LLC
Garner Development Services
Garrett Smith Ltd
Gary E. Hanes & Associates, LLC
Gavo Communications
Generation 3 Development Company, Inc.
GHA/Geoffrey Holton and Associates
Gibbs, Giden, Locher, Turner, & Senet LLP
Gibson Landscape Services, LLC
Global Green USA
Global Platinum Sustainability Consultants, LLC
GMK Associates
Go Germ Free
Go Green Investments
Goby LLC
Goetz Printing Company
GoGreen Buildings
GSD Contracting LLC
Guaranteed Watt Saver Systems, Inc.
Guidon Design
Gulf Geoexchange & Consulting Services, Inc.
GWB Consulting, LLC
H Design Group
H2 Ecodesign
Habitat for Humanity of Ohio
Habitat for Humanity of Sacramento
Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Teton Area
Habitat Studio Architecture
Habitat Studios
Halcom Consulting LLC
Hampton Roads Green Building Council
Hannon Armstrong
Harley Ellis Deveraeux
Harvard University
Haworth, Inc.
Hawtin Jorgensen Architects
HD Supply Inc.
Healthy Building Network
Healthy Buildings Solutions, LLC
Healthy Schools Campaign
Heapy Engineering
Heffernan Holland Morgan Architecture, P.A.
Heinze Energy and Environmental Management
Helix Architecture + Design
Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects, L.L.C.
Hempfully Green
Henderson Engineers
Hepper Olson Architects
Herman Miller
Higgins Horticultural Services, LLC C
High Plains Architects
Historic Green
HITT Contracting Inc
HJKessler Associates
HKS Architects
HNTB Architecture
Hoboken Quality of Life Coaltion, Inc.
Ithaca College
J M Smith Corp
J T Turner Construction
J W Crouse, Inc.
Jackson Architecture & Consultancy Firm
JAG Engineering Services Inc.
James River Green Building Council
JB Architecture Group
JDM/Structural Engineering, PSC
JE Dunn Construction
Jean Terwilliger, AIA Architect
JEST Properties LLC
JLG Architects
JMPE Electrical Engineering
Joan Stigliano Interior Planning
Joe Janitor University
Joel Ann Todd Consulting
John D. Kelley, AIA Architect
John Hueber Homes
Johnson Controls Inc.
Jonathan Rose Companies
Jose Morla and Associates
Joslin Construction Consulting
K. Norman Berry Associates Architects
Kahler Slater Inc.
Kariher Daughtry Architects
Karpman Consulting
Kath Williams + Associates
KB Home
KD3 Design Studio, Inc
Keller Williams Realty/Boise
Keller Williams Realty/David Kelman
Kelley Green Consulting
Kelly Green Energy Raters, LLC
Kenerson Associates, Inc.
Kenneth Hahn Architects, Inc.
Kentucky Community and Technical College System
Kidder Mathews
Kirksey Architecture
KJWW Engineering Consultants
Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt
Knoxville Corrugated Box Company
Madison Environmental Group, LLC
MaGrann Associates
Mahogany Enterprises
Majora Carter Group
Manning Architects
Marion Construction Inc
Marsden Bldg Maintenance, LLC
Martin Riley
Mary Davidge Associates, Inc.
Mary Nolte Designs
Mascaro Construction Co LP
Masland Contract
Masters Building Solutions Inc.
Mathew Davis Landscape Architect, LLC
Maxxon Corporation
MBA Waste Enterprises LLC
MBD Community Housing Crop.
McCool Carlson Green Architects
McCownGordon Construction, LLC
McDonald Building Company, LLC
McKenney’s, Inc.
McKenzie Engineering Co., Inc.
McKinley & Associates
McLelland Architecture
MCM Corp.
McWane, Inc.
Meadowlark Builders
Mechanical Contractors Inc
Mechanical Engineering Consultants
MEI Hotels Incorporated
Mercedes Corbell Design + Architecture
Mercovery Int llc
Meta Brunzema Architect PC
Metropolitan Energy Center
Michael E Fowler Consulting Services
Micma Group LLC
Microgrid Energy
Miller Consulting Group, LLC
Miller Sellers Heroux Architects, Inc.
Mindswing Consulting
MinuteBids, Inc.
Miron Construction Co., Inc.
MJ Realty Service, PLLC
MMM Design
Northeast Collaborative Architects
Northeast Green Building Consulting LLC
Norwich University
Norwood Marble & Granite
Nuestra Tierra Realty/Vida Verde y Sustentable
O,R&L Inc.
Oasis Brands Inc
Oberlin College
O’Brien & Company
Office Furniture Dealers Alliance (OFDA)
Ohio Environmental Council
Okapi Architecture
Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City
On Earth Energy Group LLC dba
On Point LLC
Optima Engineering
Orlando Science Center
Oystertree Consulting
P2S Engineering
Pace Law School, Land Use Law Center
Pais Architects, Plc
Palo Santo Designs LLC
Pando Alliance
Pardee Construction, LLC
Pare Corporation
Pathfinder Engineers & Architects LLP
Paul Poirier + Associates Architects
Paul Wermer Sustainability Consulting
PDG Architects
Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee, PA
Penn Lighting
Pennsylvania Paper
Perfect Building Maintenance
Perspective Designs
Peter Caradonna Architects
Pfau Long Architecture
REAL Building Consultants, LLC
Real Green Solutions, LLC
Realty Appreciation, LTD
Red Bridge Homes Corp.
Red Eagle Development
Red Feather development Group
Reese Design Studio, LLC
Related Companies
Relocation Management Solutions, Inc.
Renewable Choice Energy
Resonate LLC
Resource Dynamics
Reusch Design Services, LLC
Revolution Recovery, LLC
Reynolds Construction Management
RGA Landscape Architects Inc.
Richard Matsunaga & Associates
Riesterer Law & Consulting, Ltd.
Rivas Consultants
RJC Architects, Inc.
RLF Architects
RLS Design Group
RLTurner Corporation
RM Green Environmental
RMA Architects, PSC
Rob Wellington Quigley, FAIA
Robert Dye, LLC
Robert Prud’homme Design, LLC
Rose Garden Arena/Portland Trail Blazers
Rowe Fenestration
Rudolph and Sletten
Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C.
S & L Development, S. E.
SAGE Electrochromics
Sage Energy
Samba Energy
Samsel Architects, P.A.
Savannah Tree Foundation
Schaefer Construction Company, Inc.
Schilling Supply Company
Schmidt Associates Inc.
SCNZ Architects LLC
Scoles Floorshine Industries
Somfy Systems
Sonoma Mountain Village
Sota Construction Services, Inc.
South Coast Solar, LLC
Southface Energy Institute
Southwest Green Building Center
Space Coast Energy Consortium
Specialized Engineering Solutions
Specifications Consultants
Sphere E LLC
Spillman Farmer Architects
Square Care
SRI Quality System Registrar
SRP Sales Corporation
SSA Landscape Architects, Inc.
SSM Industries
SSOE Group
Staengl Engineering
STAR Communities
States Industries LLC
Sterling Planet
Steven Winter Associates, Inc.
Stewart Engineering Consultants
Stewart Perry Company
Stockton and Shirk Interior Designs
StopWaste of Alameda County
Stramit USA
StrategicGreen, LLC
Structure Tone, Inc.
Stuart D. Kaplow, P.A.
Studio E
Studio Southwest Architects, Inc.
Suncoast Community Capital
Superior Mechanical Services, Inc.
Superior Site Work Inc.
Supply Management International, LLC
sustain ABLE, Ltd.
Sustainability Dashboard Tools
Sustainable Building Partners
Sustainable Building Solutions
Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
Sustainable Documentation LLC
The FWA Group
The Green Engineer, LLP
The Hoboken Brownstone Company
The Home Inspector General Inc
The Jordan institute
The Kobet Collaborative
The Lathrop Company
The Levy Company, APC
The Living Wall Company, LLC
The Marano Group, Inc
The Oak Hill Fund
The Ross Group
The Spinnaker Group
The Sustainable Design Group, LLC
The Walsh Company
The Weidt Group
ThermaCote, Inc.
Tholen Sustainability Group
Thompson Building Energy Solutions, LLC
Thompson Naylor Architects
Thornton Tomasetti
Threefold Studio
Tishman Speyer
Titan America, LLC
TJH Energy Consulting
TLC Engineering for Architecture
TMC, PC Architects & Planners
Toto USA
Tower Tech, Inc
Townsend Poole Design Group
TR Edwards Construction, LLC
Trinity Real Estate
Trinity University, Engineering and Science Department
Triple Green Building Group, LLC
TriStar Commissioning, Inc.
TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design
TTS Environmental Consulting
Turner Foundation
Turner Real Estate
Turning Leaf Construction
Two Trails, Inc.
U.S. Eco Logic
USGBC Kentucky Chapter
USGBC Long Island Chapter
USGBC Los Angeles Chapter
USGBC Louisiana Chapter
USGBC Maine Chapter
USGBC Maryland Chapter
USGBC Massachusetts Chapter
USGBC Memphis Regional Chapter
USGBC Middle Tennessee Chapter
USGBC Minnesota Chapter
USGBC Mississippi Chapter
USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter
USGBC Montana Chapter
USGBC National Capital Region Chapter
USGBC Nebraska Flatwater Chapter
USGBC Nevada Chapter
USGBC New Hampshire Chapter
USGBC New Jersey Chapter
USGBC New Mexico Chapter
USGBC New York Upstate Chapter
USGBC North Carolina Triangle Chapter
USGBC North Dakota Provisional Chapter
USGBC North Florida Chapter
USGBC North Texas Chapter
USGBC Northeast Ohio Chapter
USGBC Northern California Chapter
USGBC Northern Gulf Coast Chapter
USGBC Northwest Ohio Chapter
USGBC Oklahoma Chapter
USGBC Orange County Chapter
USGBC Piedmont Triad NC Chapter
USGBC Redwood Empire Chapter
USGBC Rhode Island Chapter
USGBC San Diego Chapter
USGBC South Carolina Chapter
USGBC South Dakota Chapter
USGBC South Florida Chapter
USGBC Texas Gulf Coast Chapter
USGBC Utah Chapter
USGBC West Michigan Chapter
USGBC West Virginia Chapter
USGBC Wyoming Chapter
UTC Climate, Controls & Security
VandeMusser Design, PLLC
Vanderbilt Financial Group
Vegas PBS
Western Michigan University
WGK Architect
Wharton Smith, Inc
White + GreenSpec
Whited planning + design
Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners, DC LLP
Wight & Company
William R. White, Architect
William S. Lyons AIA Architect
Wilmot, Inc.
Wisconsin Green Building Alliance
WNC Green Building Council
Woodbury Green Building Consultation
Woolpert Inc.
World Wildlife Fund
Wright Builders, Inc
WSV Architects
WV GreenWorks
Wylie Consulting Engineers
Yoredale Consulting
YouthBuild USA
Zar Group, Inc.
ZeroNet Energy Solutions
Zoetic Design LLC
Zyscovich Architects

via – Premier cost estimating and project management software for efficient construction project delivery – JOC – Job Order Contracting, SABER, IDIQ, IPD, SATOC, MATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA.

BIM Generic Content – UK

National BIM Library generic content release 2

BIM objects are as much about the embedded data and information as they are about the spaces and dimensions that they represent graphically. Here Stefan Mordue, NBS Technical Author and Architect, looks at the thought process behind the National BIM Library’s next phase of generic content.

Laying the foundations

Since the inception of the NBS National BIM Library in 2011 we have been laying the foundations for a robust library of quality BIM objects that are applicable to the UK construction industry. The library is produced with input from Autodesk, Bentley, Tekla, Nemetscheck and Graphisoft as well as comments and suggestions from a number of user groups and forums.

The next phase of generic content includes floor finishes, panel partitions, panel cubicles, signage, sanitaryware and hard landscaping.

Graphical data

The National BIM Library includes objects with sophisticated and consistent graphical and parametric control. These objects all carry varying degrees of graphical data such as size, shape and area, and feature different levels of parametric control to manipulate them graphically. We have considered the level of information which is represented. For example, the detailed modelling of a toilet flush lever could include many facets and extrusions, and at the early stages of design generic objects have little need for very high levels of detail.

Aside from the dimensions of the objects themselves we have further considered their relationship to other objects and zones of clearance. For example, an accessible WC package is made up of a number of items such as WC, sink, hand dryer. These are available in a number of sizes that can be grouped within a data set. However, when assembled to make an accessible WC package, we have considered further dimensional information such as wheelchair turning circles, clearance zone and tolerances. The clearance zones for the accessible WC package are based on documents such as BS 6465: Part 2 Sanitary installations and Approved Document M of the Building Regulations (E&W). Standards and regulations have been taken into account in a number of other objects, for example vision panel layouts, effective clear widths and side clearances in our doors have observed BS 8300.

Non-graphical data

Performance information is perhaps the most important non-graphical data as it defines a product by its output characteristics, and assists the designer in with product selection. While we may use an in-built application within the BIM platform or an add-on plug-in to analyse, say, structural or energy performance, we must remember that this data has to come from somewhere, therefore the more information we put in the more we will get back. The intention of the National BIM Library objects is that they follow the construction work flow. So as a project develops, the specifier uses concept objects, detailed objects and (based on our work with manufacturers) proprietary objects. Evolving from generic to proprietary objects during the design process and not, as often happens, during the construction phase, means that we have the opportunity to see in real time the effects on project objectives such as performance and cost.

Consistent maintained data

We have added a rich set of properties for construction and Facilities Management that are presented in a consistent and structured manner. Pour layer based objects are created using a database through IFC which provides consistency of nomenclature etc.. across the board and also allows for automated checking before information is disseminated into objects across all BIM platforms.

When considering the properties behind each object we included the following:

  1. The IFC international standard property sets for that type of object
  2. The COBie UK 2012 properties that have been defined by the UK Government’s BIM Task Group for Facilities Management
  3. Our own standard National BIM Library properties as defined by our technical teams.
IFC International property sets

Each National BIM Library object has IFC parameters embedded within it, the definitions of which have been obtained from the BuildingSMART IFC2x3 website ( In the case of a shower object, for example, information includes data such as drain size, tray and shower type.

COBie UK 2012

Once installed, products need maintenance, replacement or upgrade and so attributes such as lifespan and replacement costs become beneficial when planning scheduled maintenance. Examples of the type of data in National BIM Library objects includes details of warranties, start date, production year and replacement costs. The objects also include COBie parameters for which we have sought guidance from BuildingSMART. Through their work on COBie UK 2012, the objects will be updated in this and future releases, for example our Phase 2 content now incorporates parameters for accessibility, Code and sustainability performance.

When we consider installation information it may not be practical or necessary to add step by step instructions regarding the installation of a component. In many cases installation information is a reference to NBS workmanship clauses or the manufacturer’s installation guide. When we change from a generic to a proprietary object we have the opportunity to include manufacturers’ installation instructions as a hyperlink.

National BIM Library properties

In addition to the IFC and COBie properties we have added our own National BIM Library parameters. Data must be categorized and arranged so that it can be easily retrieved otherwise it is difficult to use – it is standard formats that drive the ability to use the data outside the BIM project file. In order for the information to be meaningfully reused it requires a consistent set of parameters and attributes, with consistent naming conventions. As a bare minimum, a product can be identified by a trade name or model number. However, the National BIM Library parameters provide a consistent set of attributes across all objects, giving information such as version number, issue date, Uniclass title, section and clause number and system outline reference. This work is backed up by a team of Technical Authors comprising architects, structural engineers, landscape architects and service engineers.

Relevant to the UK construction industry

As these objects are intended for the UK market, we have incorporated sizes that are typical of UK standards. We have added commonly available optional items that would often be associated with sanitaryware such as enclosures to showers, screens to baths and gratings to cleaner’s sinks. We have also looked at rationalization of how components are structured. We’ve carefully considered how the objects are used and provide useful ways to configure a variety of sizes quickly, accurately and robustly. For example multiple sizes for signage can be selected from one object. We have started to develop our signage objects with the inclusion of fire and safety signage. In determining signage sizes and taking into consideration observation distance we have referred to BS ISO 3864-1 and BS 5499-4.

In looking at how users will be using the objects we have added parameters that control the visibility of the 2D detail symbol of the sign on plan. This representation of the sign in plan view is purposely not to the scale or to the measurement of the actually sign object itself as its intension is for a graphical symbol and reference on the drawing. We have further considered which dimensional parameters will be user configurable and which parameters are set by formulas and cannot be altered. For example the width of the border surrounding the sign is fixed with a formula 0.025xHeight and so will be always proportional and sets the minimum requirements for the signage boarder width. Our shower screen on our shower bath has the ability to amend the height. However due to the shape of the bath the screen can not be controlled parametrically and therefore this parameter has been locked. The length of the shower screen is fixed and changes automatically when the bath size changes.

To make the objects as user friendly as possible we have considered how objects are hosted and relate to their surroundings. Our ceiling mounted signs are automatically hosted to the ceiling and have further parameters to define the hanger length and spacing while WC assemblies that are fixed to a wall will host to a wall when inserted into the model. Similarly while our panel cubicles will host to a vertical surface we have incorporated a parameter to activate an offset. If the panel cubicle was to be used with an integrated plumbing system then the user has the ability define the distance between wall, and rear extremity of the panel cubicle component to accommodate an integrated plumbing system.

Mind the gap

The National BIM Library objects complement the information that is included within NBS Create. One important principle of BIM is to say it once.. If we take our new floor finishes for example, the user may define the dimensions in their chosen BIM platform. However when compared to the specification we can begin to appreciate the level of detail that is included , such as adhesives, fasteners, accessories, and that is before we have even begun to discuss workmanship, execution and system completion. National BIM Library objects are designed to work with NBS and the more integration between these two tools the easier the building design becomes..

Useful links

NBS Create

Related NBS information:


July 2012

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COBie 2012 UK

COBie is formal schema that helps organise information about new and existing facilities. 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, just like CDM and BIM. You can learn more about COBie from the BIM Task Group Website

Purpose of Templates

Both the design and supply side of the AEC sector can benefit from the use of a common set of construction objects, classifications and property names. In particular, the UK Government BIM strategy includes as a key purpose for handover information the information needed to support the process of product replacement, specifically “specification and selection”. [Read More]

The Templates

The templates can be used to guide the creation of specific product data. Manufacturers and suppliers can include their detailed contact information and product information. There are currently 700 template sets available for general use. The RIBAE NBL initiative will be contributing suggested UK specific properties. [Search]

The Reasons BIM is Going Nowhere Fast

July 16th, 2012 – NIBS Report –  National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council  

Per the NIBS  Consultative Council there are four areas where our industry needs to focus highlights four  in order to improve buildings and infrastructure.

  1. Defining High-Performance and Common Metrics
  2. Codes and Standards Adoption and Enforcement
  3. Energy and Water Efficiency; and
  4. Sustainability.

The Consultative Council provides findings and recommendations to the President and Congress on issues impacting the built environment. A summary of the report, “Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations from the Consultative Council,” is in the Institute’s 2011 Annual Report to the President of the United States.

  • The building community should work to define metrics for achieving high-performance buildings—including both qualitative and quantitative measures.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Institute and others should encourage cities and smaller communities to adopt and enforce updated model codes.
  • Regulators and the building industry should support efforts by codes and standards developers and adopting jurisdictions to format criteria in ways that simplifies and enhances the ability to verify compliance.
  • Software developers, regulators and building professionals should support the development of building information modeling (BIM ) for use as an automated code-checking tool that can improve compliance and streamline the approval process.
  • The U.S. Government should develop incentives for state and local governments to require water metering of all buildings and to adopt and enforce comprehensive “green” building or plumbing codes.
  • The U.S. Government should provide a tax incentive for building owners who voluntarily get their buildings audited and that implement the recommendations to reduce energy and water use.
  • Policy makers and members of the building community are encouraged to use a common definition for sustainability.
  • The building community needs mechanisms (e.g., budgets, insurance and tax incentives) to help finance sustainable life-cycle performance for buildings and related infrastructure.

There is virtually nothing “new” in any of the above, nor any plan to gain traction in any particular area, let alone all.  Until our industry and our Nation realizes the importance of efficiently managing the life-cycle of the built environment and defines processes and deploys digital tools to support requisite changes, BIM doesn’t have a chance.


















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Consultative Council members that contributed to the 2011 report include: ASTM International; American Institute of Architects; American Society of Civil Engineers; ASHRAE; Associated General Contractors of America; Building Owners and Managers Association, International; Construction Specifications Institute; ESCO Group; Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association; Glass Association of North America; Green Mechanical Council; HOK; Illuminating Engineering Society; International Association of Lighting Designers; International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials; International Code Council; Laborers’ International Union of North America; National Insulation Association; NORC at the University of Chicago, and United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry.

National Construction Contracts and Law Survey – UK – 2012

NBS National Construction Contracts and Law Survey 2012

by Adrian Malleson
Research and Analysis Manager, RIBA Enterprises (Source:

From March to April 2012,  NBS a survey about contracts and legal issues within the UK construction industry.  to understand, among other things:

  • The different contracts and procurement methods being used
  • At what point in the process contracts are signed
  • The number and kinds of disputes taking place
  • How frequently partnering or collaborative working are used in construction projects.

To help the survey get industry wide representation more than 20 industry bodies, including the RIBA, assisted by getting their members to take part. Over 1,000 responses from across the industry were received.  This cross industry participation has meant that, for the first time, the UK now has had a broad based, independent survey of these areas. The responses weren’t just from architects and other consultants: clients and contractors took part too and the report breaks down responses by each group.
The findings give a full and at times startling picture of the UK construction industry’s relationship with contract and law.

In some ways, the industry remains rather traditional.  Collaboration, team integration and partnering have, at best, only been partially realised.

When we look at the contracts the industry uses, we see that traditional forms of contract still dominate. Sixty per cent of respondents tell us that the JCT Contracts are the ones they use most often, and 72 per cent of people used JCT Contracts at least once in the last year. That said, the NEC Contracts, associated more with non-traditional, collaborative working and procurement, have a firm place in the industry. Sixteen per cent tell us they use them most often and 29 per cent have used them at least once in the last year. For standard forms of contract, JCT and NEC dominate; together they are used more than all other standard contract types combined.

That said, “bespoke” contracts are widely used too; almost one quarter of respondents had used them in at least one project in the last year. Twenty years ago, the Latham Report concluded: “Endlessly refining existing conditions of contract will not solve adversarial problems. Public and private sector clients should begin to phase out bespoke documents“. That “phasing out” is turning out to be a long process – but one we’ll be able to track with subsequent surveys.

The adoption of electronic working also shows the traditional ways of working still remain. While we continue to envisage an electronic future of BIM orientated, collaborative working, more than 40 per cent of consultants and clients are still not using electronic tendering at all. There’s work to be done.

The report also gives an understanding of the number of disputes: both the perceived trend in the number of disputes in the industry and the number of disputes actually gone into by respondents.

Ninety-two per cent of the respondents agreed that the number of disputes in the sectors had either increased or stayed at the same level, with the current state of the economy being most often described as the cause. This somewhat dark assessment is borne out by almost one quarter of those taking part in the survey having been involved in a dispute during 2011.

It’s significant that 49 per cent of contractors who completed the survey tell us that “poor specification” is a “most difficult or recurrent issue” leading to dispute.

Together, the issues people gave as the causes of dispute make clear the need for jointly owned, standardized information. A clear information model including tight specification and variance tracking can help prevent legal action later.

So, the overall picture that emerges is one of an industry that still makes use of traditional methods but which sees the place for more innovation.

In many of the comments people made when completing the survey we could see a real desire for construction to be a collaborative, team-based enterprise where extra value is generated through cooperation. We hope to be moving towards a more collaborative industry. This move towards collaboration goes hand in hand with the move towards shared, co-owned information as well as in the choices of contracts and working methods.

One of the most, if not the most, significant impediments to true team working and collaboration is legal dispute whether actual, threatened or envisaged. The survey uncovered these disputes are disruptive, expensive and not uncommon. That’s why from the outset, projects need standardized, shared information models that are easy to update, maintain and act upon. These need to clearly delineate where risk and responsibility lie. That’s not to say the solution is just a technical one, or one of keeping records, though doing these things well can only help. Any information model, any discharge of a contract, can only be as successful as the team that creates and uses it.

National Construction Contracts and Law Survey 2012

Hope you enjoy reading the full report.

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A Framework for Efficient Life-cycle Management of Facilities

COBIE Guide Released for Public Comment – July 2012

COBie, the Construction-Operations Building information exchange, is the United States standard for the exchange of information related to manage building assets. There are over twenty commercial off the shelf software products that support COBie. These products cover the entire facility life-cycle from planning, design, construction, commissioning all the way to operations, maintenance, and space management.

While COBie provides the format for asset information, it does not provide details on what information is to be provided when, and by whom. This guide provides best-practice guidelines for these requirements. By referencing this Guide in design and construction contracts owners are now about to specify both the format and content of COBie deliverables.

COBie does not add new requirements to contracts; it simply changes the required deliverables from paper documents, or proprietary electronic formats, to an open, United States standard format. COBie and this Guide may be thought of as a performance-based specification for the delivery of building information.


Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology has demonstrated its ability to reduce overall project cost through the identification of physical conflicts between building components prior to construction. Resolving such issues during design eliminates expensive tear-out and rework during that would have otherwise occurred during construction. The use of BIM for geometric collision detection has been the starting point to understand the potential use of building information.
The buildingSMART alliance has begun to unlock the non-geometric information content in BIM through the standardization of contracted information exchanges that will eventually replace the paper-based document exchanges currently specified by contracts. The goal of these standards is to provide the required information content when created, and securely share and update specified portions of that information with authorized team members as the project proceeds.
Rather than producing wasteful paper documents whose content is impractical to extract, these standard information exchanges streamline current process to eliminate waste and increase profitability. The first of these standards, the Construction-Operations Building information exchange, or COBie4, delivers facility asset information. These assets are scheduled equipment, products, and spaces. Readers unfamiliar with COBie should begin by watching the following two on-line presentations:
Class 1. Overview
Class 2. How To
It is assumed that readers of this document have viewed these two on-line presentations.
The objective of this document is to identify the specific requirements of COBie deliverables for design and construction contracts. This document is not a software user manual. There are two parts to this document. First are common requirements to be met regardless of client. The second part is the set of client-specific requirements that must be met in addition to  the general requirements. Client-specific requirements may be found in “Appendix A – Owner’s Requirements.”
There are over twenty commercial off the shelf software products that support the production and/or consumption of building asset information through COBie. The results of software testing conducted by the National Institute of Building Sciences are documented on the COBie Means and Methods web page7. Given the differences in software configuration and version, those producing or consuming COBie deliverables using commercial software solutions should conduct their own test using any one of three common test models8.
Instructions on using these systems to produce or consume COBie data must be obtained directly from the software

Via – Premier software for construction cost estimating and efficient delivery methods – JOC, Job order contracting, SABER, IPD, SATOC, IDIQ, MATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA …