buildingSMART alliance March 2013 COBie Challenge for Facility Management

March 2013 COBie Challenge for Facility Management

by Angela Lewis, P.E., PhD, Project Manager, Facility Engineering Associates
Mariangelica Carrasquillo-Mangual, Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Terry Cocherl, Facility Engineering Associates
Chris Bogen, PhD, Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers

Executive Summary

The Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) standard, now part of Version 2 of the National BIM Standard- United States (NBIMS-US), delivers building asset information necessary for the successful maintenance and management of facilities. COBie is an open standard. Thus, facility management software, including computerized asset and facility management (CAFM) systems and computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), and integrated workplace management of systems (IWMS) are able to import COBie data and pre-populate data fields. This saves facility managers hundreds of man-hours normally spent manually entering the information. The purpose of the March 2013 COBie Challenge was for facility management software vendors to demonstrate their product's ability to import COBie data. This page provides information from the March Challenge 2013, which was held in conjunction with the National Facility Maintenance and Technologies (NFM&T) trade show.


The objective of the March 2013 COBie Challenge for Facility Management was for commercial off the shelf facility management software vendors to demonstrate the ability of their products to import COBie data for the purposes of facility/asset management and maintenance. Participants were supplied with tests models that contain the native file format and COBie file for each model to develop their product's import routine. A series of quality assurance meetings took place to evaluate each product's importation of COBie data for completeness and accuracy. The results of the Challenge were publically presented at NFMT.

At NFMT, the results of the challenge were presented as part of a series of three sessions focusing on facility management data: (all presentations below are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs)

Session 1: Saving money, increasing efficiency with FM data

Session 2: A Road map for BIM for existing facilities, featuring a case study of the Federal Aviation Administration

Session 3: CMMS, CAFM and IWMS questions answered

COBie Standard Version 2.4

Like several recent Challenges, this challenge used COBie version 2.4. This version updates the requirements established in COBie 2.26. However, it does not change the data schema described in the COBie 2.26 ballot, which was approved under NBIMS-US v2. Two versions of the standard were used: spreadsheet and extensible markup language (XML). The XML version of the standard is called COBie Lite RC2. The COBie Lite schema eliminates a lot of complexity and overhead required to parse spreadsheet cells. The use of COBie Lite makes it easier for computer applications to consume COBie data. For more information see COBieLite

Test Models

Challenge participants were provided with two test models, a duplex apartment building and a medical clinic building. The duplex model was used by the participants to create or update their software's import routines. For the quality assurance sessions and the public demonstration, challenge participants were required to use the clinic model. Both models can be found on the Common Building Information Model Files page. Vendors had the option to use one of three versions of the file:

Information Categories and Quality Assurance

Different facility management software vendors provide different capabilities. Therefore, challenge participants were given the opportunity to identify which pieces of COBie information their software consumed. This ensured that each vendor was only tested on information that is appropriate for their software. Below is a table of the information being tested and the associated COBie worksheets.

InformationCOBie Worksheets
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

Once the testable information was identified, challenge participants underwent a quality assurance review. During the review, the one or more of the authors of this page viewed a live demonstration of the import process and asked a series of questions to check the quality and accuracy of the imported data.


The summary of results of the quality control/assurance checklist, live testing, and live public demonstration for the March 2013 COBie Challenge for Facility Management are provided in the table below.

CompanyProductChallenge PresentationChallenge Result
Archibus Archibus PDF Pass
AssetWORKS AiM PowerPoint Pass
Bentley Bentley Facilities PDF Pass
IBM IBM PowerPoint Pass
Onuma Onuma Systems PPT Pass
Planon Planon Enterprise Talk PPT Pass

Back to bSa Proceedings

Innovative Solutions for the Built Environment

Established by the United States Congress, the Institute’s mission is to unite the entire building community in advancing building science and technology.

Address 1090 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005-4950

© 2020 National Institute of Building Sciences. All rights reserved.

Contact Us:
Phone: (202) 289-7800
Fax: (202) 289-1092

Follow us on: