April 2013

COBie Challenge for Facility Management Draws a Crowd at NFMT

Nearly 350 people attended the Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) sessions, held March 12, 2013, at the National Facility Management and Technology Conference (NFMT2013) in Baltimore, Maryland. This year, the NFMT program included a trilogy of sessions focused on the COBie theme and the importance of facility management data to support decision making.

“Saving Money, Increasing Efficiency with FM Data,” presented by Robert Clark and Danilo Stapula of the U.S. Department of State, Overseas Buildings Operations, and James Whittaker of the Facility Engineering Associates, showcased a case study of the State Department and explained the benefits of FM data and standards from a practical perspective.

“Making the Most of FM Data: COBie Standards and Resources,” presented by Mariangelica Carrasquillo-Mangual of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center, and Igor Starkov of EcoDomus, and moderated by Angela Lewis of Facility Engineering Associates, provided an overview of COBie, and a case study on the Federal Aviation Administration.

“CMMS, CAFM, IWMS Questions Answered,” also presented by Angela Lewis, was the actual COBie Challenge itself. This session featured a panel of software vendors demonstrating how their software complies with the COBie standard and interacts with computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), computer aided facility management (CAFM) and integrated work management systems (IWMS). Seven facility management software vendors were in attendance: Archibus, AssetWorks, Bentley, EcoDomus, Planon, Onuma and TMA. (In addition, IBM participated in the Challenge but was not present at the event.)

The final session, “Updating Historic Buildings Using the Whole Building Design Guide, presented by Richard Paradis, National Institute of Building Sciences Program Director, provided information on how this web-based portal provides substantial information on achieving preservation objectives.

The Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee also held a meeting at NFMT. During the meeting, Ryan Colker, National Institute of Building Sciences Presidential Advisor, and Kerry Joels, Total Learning Research Institute (TLRI) President, provided an overview of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Program, jointly organized by the Institute, TLRI and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to create and inspire interest in careers within the built environment. Named Sustainable Facilities and Infrastructure in Constrained Environments (SuFICE), the program is working to advance STEM to support facility design, construction, operations and maintenance.

In addition, the Institute hosted a booth in the exhibit hall, which was extremely well attended. Many of the exhibit visitors had attended the COBie Challenge and other sessions, and wanted to get additional information about COBie and the COBie Challenge.

What is COBie?
COBie supports the collection of asset data to allow information to be collected once and shared among industry stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, facility management and building operators. Thus, COBie provides a structure to collect commonly required asset data, such as space names, room numbers, floor names and numbers, equipment types, and preventive maintenance routines. Often used in coordination with a building information model, COBie is an information exchange standard included in the National BIM Standard-United States™ (NBIMS-US™), developed by the buildingSMART alliance™.

What is the COBie Challenge?
The COBie Challenge for Facility Managers held at NFMT2013 served to demonstrate that version 2.4 of the COBie Standard can be successfully imported into commercial off-the-shelf facility management software, such CMMS, CAFM and IWMS. The importing process is observed through a series of quality assurance meetings using a test model. The Challenge was led by Facility Engineering Associates and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research Development Center.

View the results and proceedings from the 2013 COBie Challenge for Facility Managers.

Learn more about COBie.

Find out about the next COBie Challenge.

The National Institute of Building Sciences, authorized by public law 93-383 in 1974, is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that brings together representatives of government, the professions, industry, labor and consumer interests to identify and resolve building process and facility performance problems. The Institute serves as an authoritative source of advice for both the private and public sectors with respect to the use of building science and technology.

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