New ARCHICAD 22 COBie Guide

COBie is the Construction-Operations Building information exchange, used in the handover of facility management information. It is important because it provides a common structure and format for distributing information about new and existing buildings and infrastructure. The use of COBie is mandatory in the UK for all government projects, and is increasingly relevant in the US and Australia.

COBie inventor says ARCHICAD is 100% COBie-compliant

The inventor of COBie, Bill East, was working with Rob Jackson, Associate Director of Bond Bryan Architects, to simulate the early design in ARCHICAD of one of four dormitories on a fictitious site adjacent to the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. The goal was to create a reference COBie test project.

COBie Guide
The inventor of COBie, Bill East

As the design developed, the COBie Plugin for BIMserver.org was iteratively applied to resolve identified issues. In some cases, these issues were the result of modeling. Other issues required direct feedback with ARCHICAD programmers. This communication was extremely helpful, efficient, and resulted in several software change tickets for which work-arounds were applied for this project. According to East,

“The results of this experiment demonstrated 100% compliance with ARCHICAD against NBIMS-US V3, Design Stage COBie requirements.”

What Makes COBie so Useful?

The most important thing about COBie—aside from the essential data it collects—is that all the data is provided in a simple spreadsheet format. Using COBie templates, all the necessary building model information is collected together in one place, which makes it easy to pass that information on to wherever it’s needed. All of the data gathered in a COBie template is available in ArchiCAD as native data, but it’s in a format that’s not necessarily usable by the people who may need it during the life of the building. COBie solves this problem by outputting the data into an accessible spreadsheet format.

COBie provides a wealth of relevant, useful, and valuable data, relevant not just to the building itself, but also to exploring the costs of maintenance and operations over the building’s lifetime. This is the main driver behind the UK government’s mandate for COBie use on all its construction projects.

Updated COBie Guide for ARCHICAD 22

Prior to this new release, the most recent published COBie guide was available for ARCHICAD 19. However, certain parts of the COBie guide became outdated with the release of subsequent versions, mostly due to the introduction of Properties and Classification/Property manager categories. To solve this problem, Graphisoft has provided a new COBie guide, fully updated and ready to be used with ARCHICAD 22, along with new template files for the latest release. Both the guide and the templates are available for download on Graphisoft’s website.

COBie Guide Data Structure

This new guide, along with previous releases—which are still available for those using earlier iterations of ARCHICAD—are designed to help guide users through the process of setting up projects to retrieve COBie information, and to use COBie templates for this purpose. With the help of the guide, it’s easy to set up any project to be able retrieve COBie information that is 100% compliant. Note that not all projects specifically define who should produce COBie data. However, Graphisoft’s new guide notes that this task is usually performed by the project’s information manager. In cases where another party performs the COBie data collection, it’s still typical for the information manager to check the data to make sure it’s compliant with any relevant regulations.

The new guide include a number of sections intended to clarify the process of creating COBie spreadsheets. Included are sections on choosing data for inclusion in a COBie document, along with exporting data as an IFC model in order to convert it into a format that’s usable in a COBie spreadsheet. The guide also provides a sample workflow that readers can follow along with as they get to grips with the process.