Excited about BIM Level 2? No. Why not?

BIM Level 2, are we making the most of it?

Excited about the possibilities of BIM Level 3: linked data and the Internet of Things?

Excited about BIM Level 2, COBie? No. Why not?

We believe that through BIM level 3 we will have intelligent models that can control assets via telemetry and machine learning. We imagine BIM Level 3 to be the basis of using algorithms to self-learn and improve building performance such as optimising energy consumption to make occupants warm and happy whilst reducing energy usage…

So, what has this got to do with BIM Level 2?

Everything, as Level 2 can let us do most of this cool stuff now! By stating what data we need to perform the functions we require, we can use clever IoT, AI, Machine learning principles etc. NOW. BIM L2 is supporting us to do this, by providing us with framework to state what data we need and giving us the ability to collect it in an open format.

So what is the problem? Well, firstly, what cool stuff do we want data to help us achieve? LET’S THINK BIG HERE! FM/CLIENTS what do you want to achieve? Let’s not be held back by CAFM software, let’s determine what we want and how we are going to make it happen. However, unfortunately most clients are not making clear data requirements based on what they need data for. For instance, if your question is ‘I need data to be able to control buildings, by using algorithms to learn the optimum energy consumption to make the occupants warm whist reducing energy usage?’, then what data do you need to achieve this? How are your contractors going to give you this data? And how are your facility managers going to use it to meet your needs?

Currently, most Facility Managers are just collecting the same old information they have always collected based on their CAFM tools, without asking fundamental questions like those previously mentioned. If you think about the art of the possible and then work out what data you need, the possibilities are endless. So, are you are still asking what has this got to do with BIM Level 2 and COBie?

If we can get clients and FMs to think about how they could use data to improve the way buildings and infrastructure are managed, then BIM L2 and COBie become THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF IOT, machine learning capabilities and Industry 4.0.

Instead of just collecting a load of PDFs and maybe tagging it to a model or collecting poor quality un-validated and un-verified excel based COBie data from a few supply chain partners (see most O&M tools on the market right now), we can determine the data we need to undertake the really cool things we want to do with it.

We can collect it, validate and verify it, attribute it models and output the data in COBie (remember COBie is just a method to store and transport data), and here is THE IMPORTANT BIT, we can link it to innovative CAFM systems that can use the data to do the IOT sexy stuff we dream about. We don’t need Level 3 to do this, it IS ALL POSSIBLE NOW.

So here are three little tips to make this happen now:

1. Clients,

make sure your consultants work with you to determine what you want to achieve with data and therefore, what data you need (Please, don’t just ask for COBie. What data do you want? It can be collected in a COBie format, but what for?).


2. Designers and contractors,

make sure you collect and deliver validated and verified data that you have been asked for, especially the ‘as built’ hand over data. Old fashioned O&Ms with PDFs simply will not do anymore.


3. Facilities Managers/ CAFM companies,

please engage with the supply chain to make sure your working processes and tools can meet the aspirations of your clients and do not just offer the same old solutions. Can you use openBIM data, IFC, COBie?

Intelligent buildings and infrastructure are achievable now at BIM level 2, so what are you waiting for?