To COBie or Not To COBie? For Vectorworks Users, That is the Question


In an effort to stimulate discussion on Building Information Modeling (BIM), specifically highlighting how information should be shared and delivered within the UK Government’s digital information requirements, CAD User magazine hosted an event sponsored by Vectorworks titled COBie or not COBie at the London Transport Museum on May 16, 2017.

The London Transport Museum. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

The London Transport Museum. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

According to the buildingSMART alliance, COBie (Construction Operations Building information exchange) is an information exchange specification system that helps minimize the amount of paperwork and tracking associated with BIM projects.

The one-day seminar consisted of a series of panels led by industry experts proposing various information delivery and presentation solutions. These panels were then followed by an extensive Q+A forum where seminar attendees could ask more directed, thorough questions.

Stephen Holmes presents to the audience. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

Stephen Holmes presents to the audience. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

Here are the highlights from the engaging sessions that took place at this well-attended event:

Information is the Key to BIM. But what information, how do we save it, why, and how much? Led by Martyn Horne, Group Product Development Manager, Computers Unlimited, and Jonathan Reeves, Director, Jonathan Reeves Architects (JRA)

To get the ball rolling, Horne and Reeves discussed how information can be stored within a COBie database — making sure to explicitly emphasize that this format is not simply a spreadsheet, but a way to compile building components and associated information into a database that is usable for asset management purposes.

Why can’t we use a Federated Building Model as an Information Delivery System? Led by Andrew Norrie, Commercial Director, 3D Repo

Norrie discussed a federated building information model as another information delivery option to bring to the table. As the commercial director of 3D Repo, he described his team’s process of integrating building information into a single 3D model using complex visuals and virtual reality options that can all be accessed easily through cloud-based collaboration.

What information do I need for managing my assets, and how do I want it? Led by Andy Stanton, Infrastructure & Sustainability Manager, Transport for London

Stanton’s presentation focused on his use of BIM for current projects working with the Underground London network, better known for its nickname the Tube. He talked about the information and formats needed to complete his work responsibilities that include building management, new buildings, refurbishments, and maintaining the Transport for London’s entire portfolio of buildings. His experiences as an asset manager and whether or not COBie helps him obtain promised deliverables that are properly supplied, identified, and used were particularly beneficial in opening the conversation surrounding COBie and BIM to a broader perspective.

When theory meets practice: Unanswered questions about COBie and the FBM. Led by Stephen Holmes, Professional Services Director, Cadventure Ltd.

Holmes wrapped up the presentations with thoughtful advice on dealing with potential issues related to implementation and BIM within large-scale projects. Topics discussed included data ownership, maintenance, and the legal ramifications of incorporating this process.

Informal networking at the seminar. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

Informal networking at the seminar. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

Did we find the answer? 

As evidenced by the panelists and the Q+A Forum afterward, COBie is a needed point of discussion for many Vectorworks users. By co-sponsoring this event with CAD User magazine, we provided a thoughtful space for these conversations to occur.

Attendees walked out of the London Transport Museum that day:

  • With more knowledge about COBie and BIM;
  • Feeling comfortable making informed decisions for their companies when it comes to COBie and BIM; and
  • Eager to explore the potential of BIM in their current projects and beyond.

For more information about the COBie or not COBie event, check out this recap by CAD User magazine. And click here to learn more about what BIM can mean in your firm.

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