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buildingSMART alliance information exchanges: Means and Methods

buildingSMART alliance information exchanges: Means and Methods

by E. William East, PhD, PE - Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers

How To Use This Page

This page answers the following questions:

Can my commercial software deliver bSa information exchanges?

What free software directly supports bSa information exchanges?

How do alternative file formats support the associated IFC Model Views?

Who can help me implement bSa standards?

Commercial Software

Delivering and using buildingSMART alliance information exchange standards may be accomplished with existing software used for planning, design, construction, and facility management and operations activities. The first listed below have worked directly with the buildingSMART alliance, through a public process to test and demonstrate their capabilities.

The links below provide you with the most recent assessment of each products performance. Configuration guides and user manuals are also provided, based on the software at the time of the testing. You may also compare the results of testing these tools by opening each tool in a new tab and viewing their results side-by-side in separate browser windows.

Software for Planning

Planning software can now share information using a new bSa format developed through the Building Programming information exchange (BPie) project. An overview of this project from the 2013 BPie Demo may be seen here. The software below has demonstrated their ability to produce BPie information. Their most recent presentations and example files are provided here for your review.

CompanyProduct (click for demo)Event (click for submitted COBie file)
DRofus dRofus 1.5 (PPT) 2013 BPie Demo
Onuma Onuma System (PDF) 2013 BPie Demo

Software for Design

Software used by designers and consultants to produce construction contract documents is listed in this category. COBie Challenge events starting in 2013 checked software to determine (1) if the format of the COBie file is correct, and (2) if the content of the COBie file matches the content of the standard drawings. To see the specific results and criteria for the Challenge events, click through for a given product.

CompanyProduct (click for demo)Event (click for results)
AutoDesk Revit 2014 2014 COBie Coordinated Design Challenge
Bentley Systems AECOsim Building Designer (beta) PDF 2013 COBie Coordinated Design Challenge
DDS DDS-CADD (PPT) 2009 BIM Information Exchange Demo
Graphisoft ArchiCAD 17 (PDF) 2014 COBie Architectural Design Challenge
Nametscheck Vectorworks 2008 BIM Information Exchange Demo

Software for Construction

Software used by builders to produce as-built asset information in COBie format is provided below. To see the specific results and criteria for the Challenge events, click through for a given product.

CompanyProduct (click for demo)Event (click for results)
4Projects 4BIM (PPT) 2014 COBie Construction Challenge
Asite cBIM (PDF) 2014 COBie Construction Challenge
Chinook Systems Quicx 2014 COBie Construction Challenge
CxAlloy CxAlloy TQ (PDF) 2013 COBie Construction Challenge
EcoDomus EcoDomus (PDF) 2014 COBie Construction Challenge
Facility Grid Inquire 2014 COBie Construction Challenge
LATISTA LATISTA Field (PDF) 2010 COBie Challenge
Onuma Onuma System (PDF) 2014 COBie Construction Challenge
VELA VELA Software (PDF) 2010 COBie Challenge

Construction HVAC fabrication software can now produce shop drawings in a new bSa format developed through the Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning information exchange (HVACie) project. The software below has demonstrated their ability to produce HVACie information and the associated COBie ready-for-fabrication HVAC information.

CompanyProduct (click for demo)Event (click for results)
East Coast CADD/CAM Fabrication for AutoCAD MEP 5.1 (PPT) 2013 HVACie at Fabrication Demo

Software for Facility Management

Software supporting the operations and maintenance of facilities and management of facility assets is the ultimate home for COBie data starting at beneficial occupancy. The following firms have demonstrated, over a series of public events, their ability to consume all or part of the COBie data set.

CompanyProduct (click for demo)Event (click for Results)
ARCHIBUS ARCHIBUS 20.1 (PDF) 2013 COBie FM Challenge
AssetWORKS AiM 6.3 (PPT) 2013 COBie FM Challenge
Bentley Bentley Facilities (PDF) 2013 COBie FM Challenge
EagleCMMS Proteus MMX (PPT) 2012 COBie FM Challenge
FaME FaME (PDF) 2009 BIM Information Exchange Demo
FM: Systems FM: Interact 8.0.2 (PPT) 2012 COBie FM Challenge
Granlund RYHTI (PPT) 2009 BIM Information Exchange Demo
IBM MAXIMO EAM 7.5.0 test, 7.1.18+ support (PPT) 2013 COBie FM Challenge
MicroMain MicroMain (PDF) 2009 COBie FM Challenge
Onuma Onuma Systems (PPT) 2013 COBie FM Challenge
Planon Planon Enterprise Talk (PPT) 2013 COBie FM Challenge
Project BluePrint Code Book & Room Data (PDF) 2008 BIM Information Exchange Demo
SMB Morada (PPT) 2009 BIM Information Exchange Demo
TMA Systems Web TMA 4.3.5 (PPT) 2011 COBie FM Challenge
Vizelia Facility Online (PPT) 2009 BIM Information Exchange Demo

Free Software

In addition to paid software and services there are free products that support buildingSMART alliance information exchange projects. Open source tools provide access to both the application and full source code. Free tools provided by commercial providers typically do not provide source code access.

ProductTypeDescriptionbSa information exchange Scope
bimServer.org Open Source An IFC-based model server for life-cycle BIM application Any
COBie Plug in for bimServer.org Open Source Model transformation, checking, and reporting a custom build of the bimserver.org product used in COBie Challenge events. COBie
bimServices Commercial Model transformation, checking, and reporting. COBie
Google Docs Commercial Web-based spreadsheet for updating COBie data COBie
EcoDomus PM Commercial Helps validate design information and deliver construction handover information COBie
Onuma System Commercial COBie file checker COBie

Using COBie Data

The COBie Responsibility Matrix provides several tools to assist your team to define how COBie is produced. This information will be of great value to BIM managers, company system integrators, and software providers.

  1. Team Responsibility. May be used by project teams to assign responsibility for different elements of the COBie data set to different stakeholders.
  2. Deliverable Requirements. Provides a very detailed, life-cycle view, of what COBie information should be delivered when.
  3. Spreadsheet Schema. Provides the schema for the spreadsheet and IFC 2x3 versions of the same COBie data allowing the mapping between these formats.
  4. Type Assets. Identifies those IFC "type" entities that, for the purpose of COBie are not considered to be "managed assets". This allows the filtering of IFC files when software companies fail to provide their own filters.
  5. Component Assets. Identifies those IFC "component" entities that, for the purpose of COBie are not considered to be "managed assets". This allows the filtering of IFC files when software companies fail to provide their own filters.
  6. Property Sets. Identifies IFC property sets that should be provided as part of the COBie data set. This allows filtering of IFC files when software companies fail to provide their own filters.

Support Services

Social media is being engaged as one of the first lines of support for bSa information exchange formats. The first place to go for technical feedback on COBie is the Linked-In COBie Group. This strongly moderated group may be able to help answer some shorter questions. Members of several companies have contributed time and support of buildingSMART alliance information exchange projects, and related testing activities. These firms, listed below, may also be able to directly assist in your efforts.

AEC Info Systems
AEC3
Broaddus & Associates
EcoDomus
Facility Engineering Associates
Kristine Fallon & Associates
Onuma
Peripheral Systems
Prairie Sky Consulting
Woolpert

Spreadsheet Template

While the most effective way to create and use COBie is within software systems listed above, some may be interested in directly using the COBie in the spreadsheet version. The following three templates are provided based on COBie version 2.4:

  • Blank Template (Without color coding of any type )
  • Design Template (With color coding reflecting expected content of design deliverables)
  • Handover Template (With color coding reflecting expected content of construction handover )

The Corps of Engineers has developed templates that replace paper-based construction submittals per COBie guide specification. These templates may be found here.

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