COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange)

COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange)

In June 2011, the UK Government announced its BIM Working Party Strategy that states the requirement for all its construction projects to be using 3D BIM by the year 2016.

At the beginning of this 5-year program, the total requirement for the first year is that every project should have a “spreadsheet containing as much information about a building in as complete and as useful form as possible”. This spreadsheet is known as COBie – Construction Operations Building Information Exchange.

The idea behind COBie is that the key information is all pulled into one format and shared between the construction team at defined stages in a project. The green circles from the figure shows when the data in COBie format is required and what the client benefit is.

The IFC format has been described as an open-standard format, used to record data of a building that can be exchanged between different software. IFC is designed for software-to-software exchange. Having a spreadsheet form of COBie has the real benefit of allowing human-to-human understanding of the information needed.

To meet the COBie requirement, the xBIM Toolkit is currently being developed to include functionalities that will support COBie throughout the entire lifecycle of a project.  The following diagram describes these functionalities:

    1. The xBIM Toolkit can allow a user to create a BIM model in IFC format.  xBIM performs validation on the BIM model, and then exports the relevant information into COBie format.
    2. Since COBie is in a spreadsheet (human-readable) format, a user can easily update the COBie file.
    3. A separate in-house application is currently under development that will be able to highlight the difference between different versions of the COBie file, allowing a user to see what has changed over a period of time and what changes have been made by different members of a team.
    4. An updated COBie is then imported back with changes propagating to the IFC BIM model, and subsequently the IFC file can also be imported into any proprietary software such as Autodesk Revit.

Who’s involved?
This is a collaborative project involving 4Projects, and Northumbria University/BIM Academy.

What is COBie?