The construction industry has fully adopted virtual design. Driven by a combination of government policy and strategies for more efficient, cost effective design practice, building information modeling (BIM) has become widely accepted as a transformation of analog text and 2D graphics, to 3D, digital electronic imagery and information. BIM as a design software tool is utilized by nearly 80 percent of architectural firms in the United States today, and is expanding globally. The benefits of BIM are vast; sharing the “I” in BIM is certainly one way that this technology has helped architects, engineers and other construction professionals become better, faster designers. There is plenty of evidence to show that BIM saves money during construction and facilitates project delivery. But now it’s clear that the benefits of BIM go beyond the construction phase. In the operational stage of the facility, BIM data is turned into a format useable by facility managers for performance assessment and facility management over the life- cycle of the building. Called Construction Operations Building information exchange, or COBie, it is a specification for the life-cycle capture and delivery of information. COBie can be viewed in software as well as in simple spreadsheets. COBie is used in completed structures for information essential to support building operation, including important project data at the point of origin; equipment lists, product data sheets, warranties, spare parts lists, trouble-shooting guides, system operational procedures, system analysis, energy efficiency management and preventive maintenance schedules.
Building product manufacturers, consultants, systems integrators, networking professionals, vendors and sub-vendors should be aware of the successful commercial implementations of COBie. Designing energy efficient, high performance structures are common goals for today’s construction professionals. Building information modeling and COBie are proven methods of delivering quality projects faster and for less money. In the age of smart buildings, we have the technology to design, build and operate intelligent environments where building occupants can be safe, healthy and productive.