by Paul Shillcock
1. What do those companies who have already aligned their business processes to the UK 1192 series need to know about the transition to the ISO 19650 series?
That it’s business as usual and they should carry on with what they’re doing. The transition to the ISO 19650 series should be fairly painless for organizations already aligned with the UK 1192 series. For those who haven’t, it’s no more painful than it would be to align to the UK 1192 series. If anything, it should be much easier due to the logical way that the ISO 19650 series is laid out. The fundamental principles and concepts within the UK 1192 series remain. Yes, the new standards are structured differently to meet ISO editorial guidelines, which hopefully makes them easier to follow, but most of the changes are cosmetic and typically relate to amended or new terms that have been introduced. But this doesn’t mean that companies must now change all their documentation, as long as they can map their existing terms to the new terms in ISO 19650-1 as and when they engage with other parties, who may use different terms for the same thing. There is also a transition guidance document (PD 19650-0) that has been produced by the BSI to support organizations with this challenge.
2. Will the move from a UK series of standards to an international series offer greater opportunity for UK companies working on projects overseas?
That depends. In principle, absolutely, but only for those who have the capability and capacity to manage and produce information in accordance with the UK 1192 series. The expectation is that the adoption of the ISO 19650 series will be widespread as more asset owners and construction clients seek to reduce risk, increase predictability and achieve real business outcomes from the use of digital information. What the ISO 19650 series has created is a level playing field for the providers of information around the world to become experts in this field, for the benefit of their own company and their customers. As it’s just been released, there is a window of opportunity for those who already have the knowledge and experience to have the upper hand over their competitors, but it won’t last forever.
3. When talking about the common data environment, who would typically provide and own this on a project?
ISO 19650-2 goes some way to clarify this ongoing issue. It states that the appointing party is responsible for the provision of the project’s common data environment (CDE), importantly before the first appointment on the project. However, if the appointing party does not have the capability to do this then they are able to discharge this responsibility to a third party, or one of the appointed parties. It is likely that we will see more clients provide this direct: particularly those with large or ongoing programs of work, or asset owners who will maintain the asset information model during the operational phase. But provision is different to ownership. Third party providers can still own the enabling technologies relating to the CDE, and with the advent of SAAS (Software as a Service), projects can actually lease a CDE for the duration of the project if required. The question of who owners the information within the CDE (and when) will always will be based upon the terms within the appointment, and should be included within the project’s information protocol.
4. How important is classification to the management of information on a construction project?
The ISO 19650 series uses the UK 1192 series as its basis. The starting points were the collaborative production of information defined within BS 1192, and the management of information during the delivery and operational phase of assets defined within PAS 1192-2 and PAS 1192-3 respectively.
If providers of information never want anyone to find the information that they produce then it’s really not that important. However, if there is a need to search, group or filter the information then, in my view, classification is critical. As for what is classified, then (as far as ISO 19650-2 is concerned) the requirement is to classify the information within the container – not the asset – which is where the project management (PM) table within Uniclass 2015 comes into play. It contains over 400 different classifications for information. Objects and assemblies within the containers represent assets, and are therefore classified based upon the products and systems that they represent. This is where the other tables within Uniclass 2015 come into play. For more information on this, I’d advise people to review the BS 8541 series of standards.
5. The ISO 19650 series mentions structured and unstructured information; do you see specifications as structured or unstructured information? And how important are they to the project/ asset information model?
Specifications come under ‘non-graphical’ information as they represent the physical and functional characteristics of the asset. As such, this needs to be structured information (i.e. machine-readable) for it to be used and reused throughout the life of the asset. If record documentation is generated from the specification at a given moment in time (say on a drawing or a report) then this is typically unstructured information. For the avoidance of doubt, a PDF or table in a word document is not considered structured information. Specifications need to be structured in such a way that the information can be linked to the graphical objects they relate to, as well as presenting the information in a variety of ways to suit the level of information needed. There is ongoing work to establish a standardized structure for specifications, and in the UK at least, this will need to be mapped to the structures defined within BS 1192-4 (aka COBie).
6. The UK National Annex within BS EN ISO 19650-2 recommends the use of IFC and COBie as examples of open file formats. What guidance is available for appointing parties with respect to defining the scope of what information is needed to be structured in accordance with IFC or COBie?
The UK National Annex provides clarification to clients who may not have any specific requirements for the structure or format of their information models. As such, it states that graphical and non-graphical information, as well as record documentation, should be exchanged in open data formats where possible, and provides recommendations on what these could be. As BS 1192-4 (COBie) is still the current structure for asset data in the UK, this is the recommended structure of non-graphical information. However, life’s not that easy, and clients are still required to specify what non-graphical information they want at each stage of the asset life cycle. Doing so means less time is wasted capturing information that is not needed, and makes it much easier for the client to verify whether they have received the information that they need and have asked for.
7. The UK National Annex within BS EN ISO 19650-2 states that certain metadata are to be captured within the container ID and others as attributes of the container, which is a change to the approach within BS 1192. How did this change come about?
In the original BS 1192 published in 2007, classification, status (suitability) and revision were all optional fields within the container ID. In the 2015 update to BS 1192 (A1), status and revision became attributed to each container as metadata, whilst classification remained an optional field, and all three were removed from the file naming convention within PAS 1192-2. Following the release of Uniclass 2015, the classification codes became longer, and introduced an underscore as a delimiter. This increased the length of the container ID, and could potentially conflict with the existing hyphen delimiter. From my recollection, these were the main drivers for making classification an attribute, but with the added benefit of being able to search, sort and filter containers by classification if required.