With COBie, Acronym Signals New Standards
By Wendy Dietzler, Director of Education January 2013 - Facilities Management
Remember when Federal Express officially changed its name to FedEx? Or when the YMCA became the Y? The formal acknowledgement of an acronym often prompts no more than a shrug of the shoulders (although I can tell you that our own transition from The National Facility Management & Technology Conference and Expo to NFMT prompted a rush of relief to the keyboarding fingers of many in our offices).
So while it's common to hear a "so what?" response about converting to an acronym, the decision to do so still carries a certain significance. For one, it indicates a broader recognition of a product or organization. In addition, it helps to streamline the awareness-building process about said product.
I'm happy to say we're seeing more awareness of the construction operations building information exchange — COBie.
COBie is an international standard that identifies the minimum requirements for what digital data should be collected during design and construction so that the information is available later to manage assets throughout the life of the building. In Building Information Modeling (or — acronym alert! — BIM), building designers, as they specify systems and equipment, input information relating to a specific manufacturer, model number, and performance criteria. Once that data is entered, contractors add serial numbers, warranty information, maintenance procedures, and operating conditions. Then the information is passed along to the facility manager, who accesses the data for ongoing maintenance.
For the last five years or so, the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and its Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee (FMOC) have worked tirelessly to bring awareness and understanding of COBie's many benefits to the facility management marketplace. Now, after several years of serious groundwork, (including several innovative educational sessions at previous NFMT conferences), the standard is ready for prime time.
"COBie is moving from an R&D focus into the realm of industry-wide adoption of a proven, but relatively new approach to life-cycle facility management," says Angela Lewis, P.E., PhD, LEED AP, a member of the NIBS FMOC and project manager, Facility Engineering Associates. Lewis is developing several COBie-specific education sessions at NFMT 2013 in Baltimore, including "Making the Most of FM Data: COBIE Standards and Resources," which will help FMs gain an understanding of what COBie is and its relevance to facility management, as well as its potential for cost savings and improvements, better-defined facility management practices, and enhanced utilization of a facility's CMMS.
For more information on COBie sessions at NFMT and to register, please visit www.nfmt.com.
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