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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Product||Type||Description||bSa information exchange Scope
||An IFC-based model server for life-cycle BIM application
|COBie Plug in for bimServer.org
||Model transformation, checking, and reporting a custom build of the bimserver.org product used in COBie Challenge events.
||Model transformation, checking, and reporting.
||Web-based spreadsheet for updating COBie data
||Helps validate design information and deliver construction handover information
||COBie file checker
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.
- Team Responsibility. May be used by project teams to assign responsibility for different elements of the COBie data set to different stakeholders.
- Deliverable Requirements. Provides a very detailed, life-cycle view, of what COBie information should be delivered when.
- Spreadsheet Schema. Provides the schema for the spreadsheet and IFC 2x3 versions of the same COBie data allowing the mapping between these formats.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
Broaddus & Associates
Facility Engineering Associates
Kristine Fallon & Associates
Prairie Sky Consulting
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:
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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