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buildingSMART alliance COBie 2011 Challenge for CMMS/CAFM Software

COBie 2011 Challenge for CMMS/CAFM Software

DECEMBER 7, 2011
by Bill East, PhD, PE - Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Executive Summary

The Construction-Operations Building information exchange (COBie) delivers building asset information. COBie provides a vendor-neutral interchange format that allows building asset information to flow without the multiple stages of rediscovery and rekeying required today. COBie is an international data exchange specification called the Industry Foundation Class (IFC) Facility Management Handover Model View Definition (MVD). This page provides the results of the December 2011 COBie Challenge event to evaluate the consumption of COBie data by Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and Computerized Asset and Facility Management (CAFM) system.


Attendees at this Challenge were given an abbreviated COBie introduction that focused on the need to find a solution to the waste currently built into the capture and recapture of building asset information critical to the effective management and operation of our built environment. To reinforce that this problem is not limited to the United States Mr. Richard Waterhouse joined the Challenge to present the mandate for COBie on public projects in the United Kingdom.

Following the introduction and acknowledgement of the international mandate for COBie, the specific criteria for this COBie challenge were introduced. Highlights from this presentation are provided in the sections below:

Test Models

Two test models were utilized for this COBie Challenge. The first model, a duplex apartment building, update from the duplex model first developed for the FM Handover MVD Pre-Certification event held December 2009. This first model was used by software companies to create or update their COBie import routines. The second test model, a medical clinic building, was used as the basis for the test. The clinic model is the first realistically sized building being considered in a COBie challenge event. Links to these test models may be downloaded from the Common Building Information Model Files.

COBie version 2.4

The Dec 2011 Challenge advances COBie specification from version 2.26 to 2.4. These changes were previously published for public review and comment. COBie 2.4 does not change any of the data schema described in the COBie 2.26 ballot (PDF) approved under NBIMS-US v2.

Information Categories

Software that needs to consume construction handover information may do so for purposes of Operations and Maintenance and/or facility Asset Management. In addition, different software systems provide different functional capabilities. To ensure that information being consumed by COBie was appropriate for the software tested, and to allow software companies and incremental approach to consuming COBie data. The Challenge began with each product identifying the specific facility handover information to be tested. The categories of information and related COBie worksheets are listed in the table below.

spaces and equipment Space, Type, Component
PM schedules Job
safety procedures Job
systems System
system procedures Job
materials, tools, training Resource
associated documents Document
replacement parts Spare
space and equipment properties Attribute
space zones Zone

Testing of software that consumed COBie data was accomplished in a three stage procedure. In the first stage, the vendor completed a self-assessment checklist to verify the location of COBie data correctly appeared in their product. In the second stage, the author of this page viewed a live demonstration of the vendors' software and spot-checked specific issues from that checklist to complete a quality assurance review. The third stage required each vendor to publicly demonstrate their COBie data import at the NIBS 2011 National Conference.


The summary of results of the quality control/assurance checklist, live testing, and live public demonstration for the December 2011 COBie Challenge are provided in the table below.

CompanyProductChallenge PresentationChallenge Result
IBM Maximo Enterprise Asset Management PDF Pass
TMA Systems WebTMA 4.3.5 PowerPoint Pass



The COBie Challenge was sponsored by buildingSMART alliance and the U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center. Particular thanks are expressed to Dominique Fernandez Director, National Institute of Building Sciences for coordinating logistical support.

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