EasyCOBie – Automated COBie Data Validation

EasyCOBie – Automated COBie Data Validation

Why The Future of BIM Coordination Has To Be Smarter 

BS 1192-4:2014 – Collaborative production of information Part 4: Fulfilling employer’s information exchange requirements using COBie. This document defines expectations for the exchange of information for use throughout the lifecycle of a facility.


This article will be of use to estates manager, contractors, designers and in-house BIM teams alike as COBie is becoming more mainstream across the construction industry.

There are long-term and short-term benefits of coordinating your BIM information to ensure you reduce CAPEX project risks and OPEX lifecycle costs.

In the short-term (CAPEX), it’s important that the right data is provided first time in order to reduce the risk of delays and costly re-work exercises. Client requirements can sometimes be vague for a number of reasons, here are a few examples in our experience;

  • A lack of buy-in from their internal stakeholders, due to either a lack of BIM awareness, misunderstanding of their role, internal politics or simply a case of workload management.
  • A lack of engagement from external consultants; due to either a lack of client direction, the submission of generic non-project specific requirements, or simply a breakdown in communication between client and consultant.

Whichever reason it may be, they can cause misunderstandings in supply chains. We reduce this risk by providing clear responsibilities for assets, before validating the data against the original requirements.

In the long term (OPEX), quality COBie data is essential in order to effectively manage and maintain assets in order to reduce lifecycle costs. Bimsense provides all data in a clear, uniform, filterable format to aid navigation to find the required information, as it’s needed.

Here at Bimsense, we are consistently trying to find ways to work smarter with data – believing that data should be automated and broken down into simple steps in order to get true value from it. These objective checking methods speed up the process of data validation (reducing time/cost) whilst increasing accuracy and quality.


COBie Data Automation and Validation

Once client COBie requirements have been provided, it is then our responsibility to take all the pain, concerns and problems away in respect of collating, validating and storing COBie data, we do this with our new in-house developed platform EasyCOBie.

After we have defined your stakeholder’s requirements (their ‘wants’), we define exactly what data is needed and identify all responsibilities in order to deliver them (their ‘needs’). We then transfer the vast amount of data into a simple, easy-to-use format. We also check the data is accurate in line with the original requirements by performing automated validation checks.

The validation check is made up of a wide selection of simple rules, built with software code. Each rule being objective in order to automate the process of finding errors. These rules – once set up – can be used time and time again.

As an example, see the below image. The sets of COBie data are organised by Sheet.Column (e.g. Type.Name), for each set the relevant validation checks are then performed in order to objectively check for errors. For example, the validation check “Name is unique within the sheet” for Type.Name is showing 5 errors out of 139.



Looking at the corresponding COBie data below, the 5 errors are clearly highlighted in the Type.Name column, with the name “Standard” repeated multiple times and highlighted in red. Of course, this could have been found manually, however, if the problem can be found using simple rules, then this saves masses time (and therefore cost, confusion and conflict).

Creating the validation algorithms requires an initial set up, but the resulting code can be used again and again, providing long-term benefits. We are constantly looking out for any new problems in order to create simple solutions for them. It is of vital importance for us to check that we are providing data that the client wants, and the quickest, most accurate way to do this is by automating the validation process.



Data will be useful for the whole life of the building to ensure stakeholders responsible for the general management of the building have all the information they need in order to operate and maintain the building efficiently.

So, there is an imperative need to know that all your data is correct when it is handed over on completion of the building. You do not want people coming back to you telling you it is wrong and having to update it, much like the problems encountered with traditional age-old paper O&M manuals that are notoriously incorrect, out of date and difficult to navigate. If only someone could invent a Digital O&M utilising COBie data direct from the BIM model… watch this space!

Any additional comments or feedback? Then please do not hesitate to get in touch at info@bimsense.co.uk


Other Relevant Resources:

BIMToolbox (Free BIM Resources)

BIM for Estates (Our Amazon Best-Selling Book)

BIM Glossary of Terms


Author: Alison Rolfe
Editor: Scott Pilgrim
Published:  9 May 2019
Last Updated:  9 May 2019



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