Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Information Management O&M Information

When we look at a piece of equipment installed in a building, such as a heater, a luminaire or even doors and windows, we rarely think about the amount of information collected from different teams to assemble, buy and deliver these products.
Let’s consider for example a fire exit door.
The architects who designed the building identified the need for a fire exit door in a defined location, based on the fire protection regulations.
As this door gives access to an external location, they also identified the need for this door to have a magnetic locking system.
This information is then passed on to the electrical engineers who specify the circuits needed to supply the power this system needs.
The fire engineer then specifies the fire resistance rate for this fire exit. Should it keep its integrity for 30 minutes? 1 hour?
In the construction stage, the contractor will find the manufacturer that can provide the product that fits all these specifications.

This product will then have a maintenance period, an operations manual, a receipt and in some cases a testing certificate.
In the design stage and later, in construction, all this information is usually kept in the servers of different companies and people, in different formats.

People often communicate all these specifications via email and there is no central system that stores all these different files.
When the project is completed, this mass of PDF files, printed plans and excel spreadsheets is handed to the building owner.
The owner, in turn, hardly knows what information they have received and keep these files in some dark, dusty corner of the building to be forgotten.

What is more, years later, when people want to make any modification to the building, they have to pay for a building survey to identify the attributes of a piece of equipment.

“What is the fire resistance class of this door?”, “Which colour should it be painted?”

However, as we have seen all this information was already known and had been produced by the teams that participated in design and construction.
This might seem counterintuitive, but the problem, in this case, is not with technology.

Each one of these teams uses the tools that are available to them to produce and deliver information in a way that is as cost-effective as possible – to do so is a matter of survival.
The project team are keen to implement technologies that could reduce the cost of producing drawings and coordination.
The real problem in all this data collection process is how consistently information is documented, tested and used by the different teams.

We need to remember that keeping consistency in a project, which is a temporary group formed by companies with different cultures, objectives and technologies is something extremely challenging.
This is the issue COBie wants to tackle – How can information used for maintaining and operating a building can be structured in a consistent way?

But before exploring how COBie proposes to solve this problem, we need to understand a few basic concepts.