Smart business owners seek out and implement industry best practices. In construction, a new framework for implementing building information models into projects is in the works to move toward becoming fully industry vetted.

This week, the National Institute of Building Sciences, www.nibs.org, Washington, D.C., released a draft guide for COBie (Construction Operations Building information exchange), which is the U.S. standard for the exchange of building information management data. The Institute’s buildingSMART alliance is calling for public comment on the draft COBie Guide, which is already a product of several years of developing and pilot testing.

As of this week, the guide is up for industry review by buildingSMART alliance members for three months, with the comment period closing on October 2. After the comment period has passed, the draft will be updated to reflect feedback, finalized, and then submitted as a “best practice” ballot to the National BIM Standard Version 3.

According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, COBie identifies the minimum requirements for the types of digital data that should be collected during the design and construction phases. The goal is to collect this data so it is available and accessible during later stages of a project lifecycle.

COBie does not provide all of the details about how data should be managed, but it does lay out best-practice guidelines and provides a common format for information. The institute says the COBie standard requires scheduled or tagged equipment to be identified by type and location. Additional information such as the make, model, tag, installation date, warranty, and scheduled maintenance requirements should also be captured.

The guide is designed to set up a “framework” for project teams and project owners/operators in the construction industry to implement COBie into their day-to-day practice by offering up a minimum standard that is consistent across the United States.

The idea of capturing and exchanging asset data for the lifecycle of a building project is one that does not need to be industry vetted; the benefits are quite clear and understood. However, the next step is getting the industry on the same page as to a set of national COBie standards.

Thanks to efforts from the buildingSMART alliance, assuming its members comment on, and therefore refine the guide, this is set to change in the near future.