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Facility Maintenance Decisions

Focus COBie Benefits for Effective Use of CMMS

By Angela Lewis and Birgitta Foster May 2013 - Software   Article Use Policy

COBie is an open standard that supports the collection of asset data to help managers more effectively use CMMS.

The contracted flow of information using COBie is as follows: After defining the required information within a contract, the information goes into a BIM or other software tool. Then the data is exported to a COBie format, which in turn is imported into the CMMS. Among the largest benefits of COBie are these:

Data sharing. It supports the sharing of data among facility management tools, such as BIM authoring tools, CMMS, and computer-aided facility management (CAFM) software. The standard eliminates the need to re-collect data, and it reduces the number of inconsistencies between similar data sets used for different purposes within a facility management organization

Data collection. Managers can use it to clean up and collect data before an upgrade or the procurement of a new CMMS. Using COBie, it is not necessary to obtain a proprietary vendor spreadsheet to support data collection and population, nor is it necessary to pay the CMMS vendor to map the software spreadsheet developed by an in-house team. Instead, data collected in a COBie-formatted deliverable is in a recognized industry standard.

Data transfer. COBie is the most cost-effective way to transfer data after construction to managers because data can be exported from BIM authoring tools and imported into a COBie-capable CMMS.

The Early Stages

The use of BIM for new construction is becoming more common, but it is not yet an established industry practice. The use of BIM for maintenance and engineering departments is in the very early stages of industry adoption. But it holds the promise of helping increase organizational effectiveness of departments while reducing cost.

Facilities have recognized the need for COBie for many years. In 2012, with the release of the National Building Information Modeling Standard-United States (NBIMS) Version 2, COBie became a standard. As of March 2013, 15 facility management software tools use the COBie standard.

In the recently published book, BIM for Facility Managers, Paul Teicholz calculated the return on investment (ROI) of using BIM for facility management. Conservatively, his calculation found that the ROI was 64 percent, equivalent to a 1.5 year payback.





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