AEC Customers will Gain Greater Flexibility Throughout the BIM Project Lifecycle
Autodesk and Trimble have entered into an interoperability agreement aimed at saving customers time and reducing project costs typically associated with workflow inefficiency across different suppliers’ technologies. This will benefit architects, engineers and contractors, and importantly, project owners by enabling more freedom to optimise technology workflows needed to meet the complex requirements of today’s construction projects.
Autodesk and Trimble have a shared goal of meeting the evolving needs of the building and infrastructure industries. Reliable, fluent exchange of information among multiple stakeholders and platforms is essential to this end. The Trimble and Autodesk collaboration demonstrates their ongoing commitment to support open industry standards such as Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie), and can enable current and prospective Autodesk and Trimble customers working on the same projects to work together seamlessly through optimised file compatibility across applications.
Under the terms of agreement, Autodesk and Trimble will take steps to accelerate interoperability by exchanging Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and developer tools to build and market interoperable products. This allows the two companies to improve upon existing data exchanges, as well as open up new workflows between their products. Tighter product-to-product integration can enable design and construction professionals to share models, project files and other data between select Autodesk and Trimble solutions both in the office and the field, and allow for the reuse of information during design and construction throughout all phases of the project.
“The strength of a company is best measured by its willingness to do what is right for its customers and the industry at large. This interoperability agreement, like others we’ve signed, speaks to Autodesk’s commitment to openness,” said Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Autodesk. “This collaboration with Trimble speaks to our shared dedication to making the building process more efficient and productive for all involved.”
“This collaboration demonstrates our mutual commitment to provide design and construction professionals with a seamless experience from both Autodesk and Trimble design-build-operate solutions,” said Bryn Fosburgh, vice president at Trimble. “As a result all stakeholders across the construction lifecycle can optimise their workflow efficiency.”
Bill East, who you may know from his various work with COBie in the USA has created a new series of videos; COBie for Designers, COBie for Contractors and COBie for Owners. You may have seen his previous YouTube videos titled ‘COBie College‘ which were a great introduction to understanding COBie. Thanks to @BondBryanBIM on Twitter for the heads up to the following videos:
COBie for Designers
COBie for Contractors
COBie for Owners
“The rest of the world is in awe of the UK BIM strategy and the progress made so far.”
The IFC/COBie Report 2012 is a document created by The NBS along with the OpenBIM network with input from some of the major Tier 1 contractors and their supply chains. It is a description of a series of test run on Autodesk, Graphisoft and Vectorworks BIM authoring software to test the capability of the buildingSMART IFC file format to find out whether it is capable of supporting the creation of COBie datasets from the Building Information Model.
Although the results of the tests are not directly stated, the report still makes for a very interesting read; discussing the obstacles and the changes needed to make the IFC format an accurate and universal file format for sharing information and data between BIM authoring platforms. You can read the full report HERE or click on the image below for a direct link to the document.
- “..the IFC definition of the COBie dataset provides for an enduring format, independent of software vendors and versions”
- “The industry must do more to promote the examples (case studies) that are available in the US and the UK”
- “There is also a lack of guidance on where the information to populate the COBie should be coming from, is it coming from the IFC schema or being manually added?”
- “Data is disorganised at the moment. COBie forces us to be organised.”
Above are a few interesting quotes and important questions raised from the report: For more information about COBie and a list of resources and organisations pushing COBie to the masses, view The NBS blog.
A significant roll for contractors in the construction industry today is to prepare and produce documents such as; equipment lists, product data sheets, warranties, spare part lists, preventive maintenance schedules, and other information. This information is essential to support the operations, maintenance, and the management of the facilities assets by the owner and/or property manager.
This information must be handed over at the project and using standard practice, is expensive, since most of the information has to be recreated from information created earlier and thus usually delivered a long time after the building was handed over. COBie simplifies the work required to capture and record project handover data through certain phases of the project.
The COBie methodology is to enter the data as it is created during design, construction, and commissioning. Designers provide floor, space, equipment and all neccessary layouts. Contractors provide make, model, and serial numbers of installed equipment. Much of the data provided by contractors comes directly from product manufacturers who can also participate in COBie.
COBie is interoperable. It can be viewed in many different formats, and can be viewed by all members of the construction team, no matter which discipline they are involved with. As I have talked about in a previous blog post, IFC are one of the possible formats to save the COBie data. For contractors and managers, spreadsheets and building data can be added as a database file in excel.
“Between 2005 and 2009 COBie has grown from an initial idea to an internationally recognized standard implemented in commercial software across the globe. The COBie project has been led by the Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory — a laboratory of the U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers.”
Relevant Codes and Standards
Requirements Analysis Report (PDF 1.1 MB)
COBie 2.26 Ballot (PDF 442 KB)
COBie 2.4 Updates
Draft COBie Contract Specificationl (DOC 36 KB)
Templates and additional resources
COBie Frequently Asked Questions
COBie Means and Methods
COBie YouTube Videos
Class 1. Overview
Class 2. How To
Class 3.01 Instruction Worksheet
Class 3.02 Sheet Layout
Class 3.03 Contact Worksheet
Class 3.05 Facility Worksheet
All of the information and more can be found on the Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) website The above videos are a continuation from the video posted in this blog, I would recommend watching all of these to get a good understanding of the topic. There is also some content provided by buildingSMART which is useful, and can be found on this link here.