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How is COBie Created?

The contact tab brings us to another important topic in COBie – the way information is generated by different teams and across different project stages and later merged to create a single source of truth.
Remember that we have started today’s talk by giving an example of how information about a single product, in our example, a fire exit door, is generated by different specialists at different stages of the project.

This has an impact on how the fields in COBie are filled in with information.
Every discipline will have a different contribution to the information recorded in COBie.

For example, on most projects where BIM Academy has been appointed for the Information Management role, we see that the ‘Floor’ and ‘Spaces’ tabs are usually filled in by the architects.

This is because the architects are the ones responsible for setting up the levels and placing room objects in the model.
HVAC, Electrical and plumbing specialists will likely contribute with information that will be inserted in the ‘Type’ and ‘Component’ tabs, as they are the ones who give a high-level specification of the equipment that will be installed in the building.

This information will then be complemented by the teams appointed by a contractor, at the construction stage, when this equipment is purchased and information like model number and warranty becomes available.
Other teams, such as structural engineers will have minimal contribution towards the production of COBie information as almost none of the elements designed by them are maintainable.

In this case, their contribution could be limited to recording their contact details in the ‘Contact’ tab if required by the client.
The fact that COBie information is generated by different teams also has an impact on the way this information is produced, recorded and exported.

Most teams in the design stage will use add-ons to their authoring tools to aid them to manage the COBie information.

Architects, for example, usually create model objects and add parameters to these objects that capture the data required to fill in the fields in COBie.

In Revit, this process can be supported by the COBie extension tool.
This tool makes the process of recording and exporting the COBie information to the required format easier.

The user interface makes it clear which parameters are being filled in and exported.
An alternative to that is to configure the attributes and exports manually, either with the use of some spreadsheet manager app or visual programming, such as dynamo.

These solutions are less often seen, though.
Later, at the construction stage, the people on the construction site might have the same software and skill used throughout the design stage available to them.

They might want to use excel to complement the COBie information handed over from previous stages.
For the information recorded through COBie to become effective, the files generated by different specialists will then need to be merged, to create a single source of truth.

This is why it is important to specify file formats and delegate responsibilities at the project outset.
It might be very difficult to merge this data if the teams hand in information in different file formats.

Also, some skilled person might be required to perform this task.

The client needs to define who is going to do it.