My Top 10 COBie myths

1: Cobie can be produced from a single 3D Building Geometry model

No it can’t because there isn’t a Geometry BIM system that can input and store all the data so how can it possibly export it!

2: You can only produce Cobie from BIM Geometry systems.

No you can build Cobie data from schedules and fact that a spread sheet format was developed as a method of getting data together is a big clue as to how it can be produced.

3: BIM Objects are the best way to get product information needed for Cobie .

No because there is no adhered to standard Attribute Property sets are inconsistent and that means 2 or more objects of the same type many have different property sets and not include what the client actually needs.

4: All the information has to be put into the Geometry model so there is one source of the truth.

This would only be true if statement 1 was a reality.

5: Cobie does not map to the clients FM systems so bespoke interfaces have to be produced and Cobie should be bypassed.

No this defeats the whole reason for COBie. A format that the whole industry uses so that many system can produce and consume COBie. There are many FM systems used by Clients so it is in their interest to ensure their solution provider has COBie import. It happened in the CAD industry with DXF. The defeatist denigrating of COBie are protecting a consultancy service or just not clever enough, it costs the industry millions.

6: There should be a red button to output COBie.

This is a view I have heard from those at the top or near the top of their companies. It is wishful thinking and completely out of step with how buildings are procured and with it how data is procured.

7: Clients don’t need Cobie they have Operation and Maintenance Manuals.

Cobie came from one of the biggest clients of buildings in the world (US Military). The same client from which project management software was developed. O&M’s are information not data. Clients need data to feed their FM system’s. They need it before the building is handed over. COBie is the first response to defining how that data needs to be structured. The next stage is what it should contain and a more detailed level.

8: Cobie asks for too much information.

The Client Asset Information Requirement defines what data is required. When you look at this closely all the information is asked for in the Operation and Maintenance manuals specification. The difference here is COBie is asking for the information as data. Data can be verified more easily than Information in documents and it is used to populate Client FM Systems.

9: Cobie has to be bespoke to each client.

Building Smart has published templates defined from the base classes already defined in the IFC data model. The Product manufacturing industry will start to deliver data on their products through these standards. Mapping to the Clients systems is then easy to implement. Clients need to be encouraged to start adopting international standards and demanding their FM solutions providers to do the same.

10: Cobie is too complicated for the supply chain to deliver.

It may be in the interests of some parties to make it complex but each supplier needs to taught what is required and how to deliver it. We did something similar in the mid 00’s and found the most effective way of getting data was to teach the supply chain. Today we can provide them with easy to use applications and we (a group of people and organisations) are working on delivering an open source royalty free application and code product library that will export Cobie data Project ready. There are many ways to author this data it’s not complex.

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