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Optimizing your COBie Deliverables - What is COBie?

T.J. MeehanJune 23rd, 2016

Have you been hearing the term "COBie" being thrown around in your BIM conversations?  Are you curious what it is and why you should care?  Then read on.


The Basics

Construction to Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) is becoming the industry standard method for transferring data from design and construction to operations.  It's goal is to address the issue where, upon handover of the finished building by the contractor to the owner, the data necessary to manage that building - equipment specifications, locations, warranty information, preventative maintenance schedules, etc. - is not delivered in a format that is either unusable or takes months to input into an owner's Operations & Maintenance (O&M) system.  Typically, the format is a bunch of boxes filled with printed documents.  COBie is a standardized digital format that most O&M systems can import directly.  A few more key items to know about COBie:
  1. COBie aims to capture all the data digitally through design and construction by all the parties involved - architects, engineers, contractors, and subs - and not wait until the end of construction to gather the data.
  2. Even though the official format is a STEP physical file format, the majority of projects deliver COBie via a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
  3. COBie is typically a one-way street, in that it is designed to push data from design and construction to O&M, but not to push the data collected during O&M back into a model.

How Does it Relate to BIM?

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process of designing and constructing buildings virtually with all their accompanying data.  COBie is a way to move that data to an O&M solution such as FM:Systems, ARCHIBUS, TRIRIGA, Maximo, etc.  It is also one of the required deliverables of the UK BIM Mandate, Level 2.


Why is it Important to Me?

If you are a building owner, or working for one, COBie is a great way to get data generated during design and construction quickly into an O&M system, so there is little to no down time between building handover and when the data is available to the building engineers.  This can be a huge cost and effort savings for the owner.


How Can I Learn More?

Here are some great resources on the web for more information about COBie:  

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