To get started using COBie (the construction operations building information exchange), the first step is to download a copy of the standard in the spreadsheet format. When looking at the spreadsheet, first focus on the tabs along the bottom, such as facility, floor, space, type, and component. Determine which of these are most likely to apply to the needs of the facility management organization. If there seem to be a lot of tabs, focus on the yellow ones first. Next, look at the columns in each relevant tab, paying most attention to the yellow and orange colored columns. These two steps will help to determine what data is most relevant. To determine what data is most important to collect, it is necessary to determine what space and equipment information is needed, as well as the level of detail, accuracy and quantity of data needed.
In addition to spreadsheets, software — either commercial off the shelf products or customized software — can be used to implement COBie. When facility teams seek to implement COBie using software, it is important to make sure that the selected software provider has properly implemented COBie within their product. The best way to determine if a software provider has properly implemented COBie is by determining if they have participated in a recent COBie Challenge. The COBie Challenge is a public demonstration of the ability to import the standard. The Challenge process consists of a series of quality assurance meetings between the software provider and a member of the COBie quality assurance team. During these meetings, the quality assurance team observes the COBie importing process and then checks if the software imported the standard correctly by asking a series of detailed questions. Software teams that successfully pass the quality assurance process are asked to present their results at a national conference. In March 2013, facility management software product providers presented their results at the National Facility Management and Technology (NFMT) conference in Baltimore. In January 2013, design and construction software product providers presented their results at the National Institute of Building Sciences conference, Building Innovation.
With the abundance of data available to facility management teams today, it is important to carefully evaluate who is providing what data, and in what format. If data about facilities is only accessible in PDFs and paper copies, it can be very time consuming to find the right information to maintain and replace equipment. When standards such as COBie are used, it is possible for more data to be available in a useful format — helping your facilities team to more effectively support the mission of the parent organization.
Implementing any new tool or standard has a learning curve. To learn more about COBie, access the following resources:
COBie Offers Easier Way To Manage Asset Data
COBie-capable Software Provides Standardized Asset Management For Project Teams
BIM, COBie Make A Powerful Team
Resources For Learning About COBie In Depth