Delivering “COBie” in Ireland


This month marked the launch of a new training venture between ArcDox, Ireland’s leading BIM consultancy practice, and MMA Consulting Engineers, an industry leader in Sustainable Building Services Design. caught up with Pat Slattery, Managing Partner of ArcDox, and Dr Shawn O’Keeffe, BIM Development Director of MMA Consulting Engineers, to find out what this was all about.

What is COBie?
“COBie (Construction-Operations Building information exchange) is simply the setup and delivery of digital Facilities Management data during normal design and construction practises. It’s a lean methodology for capturing data and is a “contracted information exchange’ for building projects, to help get a facility up and running right away, at handover or occupation,” explains Dr Shawn O’Keeffe of MMA Consulting Engineers. “The COBie Course covers how to create 100% correct COBie design files, correctly formatted, and ready to be integrated into CMMS & CAFM systems (Computerised Maintenance Management Systems and Computer Aided Facilities Management Systems). The course explains the differences between COBie for owners, designers, and contractors, and covers the standard, specification, its commentary, guide, and testing (verification and validation) procedures. The course is relevant to all disciplines in Architecture, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire, Security, Building Controls, etc.”

Dr Shawn O’Keeffe is one of the co-authors of the new book “Delivering Construction-Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) using Autodesk Revit”, who along with his colleague at MMA Consulting Engineers, Richard Kenna, will help deliver the new training programme. They collaborated with Dr Bill East, the founder of the COBie specification, and another co-author Emma Hopper, to produce a detailed guide on how to deliver COBie data when using Autodesk Revit software for BIM. The new training course is based on this book, and their extensive project experience.

Why the Joint Venture?
“ArcDox are recognised as the leading specialist in BIM in Ireland, and for delivering top quality training in Autodesk Revit and related BIM tools. ArcDox are also an Autodesk Authorised Training and Certification Centre, and have trained over 2,000 people in BIM applications over the past 8 years. It was an obvious choice for MMA Consulting Engineers to partner with ArcDox, to deliver this specialised training in the Irish market, to complement the fantastic work they are doing, in upskilling the industry in BIM. It’s a great combination of their BIM and Training expertise, with our specialist BIM and engineering expertise,” says Dr Shawn O’Keeffe.

Why is this important?
“Any building operator, or facilities manager will tell you, that their “nightmare” is trying to get good quality, accurate data, at the end of construction – information they really need, and depend on, to maintain and operate the building. This information is typically delivered 6-12 months after handover and presented as a set of lever-arch files, or static documents on a DVD,” explains Pat Slattery, Managing Partner at ArcDox. “This makes the information very difficult to use and keep up-to-date. Consequently, the operators, or facilities managers, have to manually re-input information into their own management systems (CAFM or CMMS systems). This can be very costly and time-consuming, and it also means they are operating the building, for a period of time, without all the relevant information immediately to hand.”

“The big idea of COBie, is that this information can be delivered in a structured, digital format, following a recognised industry standard, so that is can simply be imported into the facilities management systems, saving enormous amounts of time and cost. When using BIM, this information should be contained in the models, and can easily be produced and delivered, provided the designers and contractors have followed the COBie specification when creating the models in the first place. And, the data has to be good – it must be checked, or quality controlled. This is where we feel this training is going to bring real value to clients and projects.”

Who should be considering this training?
“The successful use of COBie on projects, requires a good understanding on all fronts,” explains Pat Slattery. “Construction clients, or developers, need to understand enough about COBie, to make sure it is correctly requested or specified at the very beginning of the project, so that everyone is working towards the same goal of delivering COBie, otherwise it will be difficult, costly and time-consuming to produce it later. While Construction Clients may never directly operate their buildings, they need to understand the value that good quality, well-structured, and accurate digital data, will bring to future operators. The design team also need to understand COBie, because they will start the process of setting up well-organised, structured information in their design models. Contractors, sub-contractors, specialist contractors, and building product suppliers or manufactures, all need to understand COBie, because they will provide the more detailed information required during construction, commissioning and handover. And obviously, building operators, and facilities managers, need to understand COBie, as they need to know what to expect, and what to do with all the useful, structured data, when they do receive it at handover. So, this training is really aimed at all parties involved in the construction lifecycle, from end-to-end.”

“We have structured the training at 2 levels,” says Dr Shawn O’Keeffe. “There is a 1-day introduction course, which is suitable for company directors and project leaders, who need to understand COBie, but who are not going to be directly involved in producing or delivering COBie data. And then we have a more intensive 4-day course (including the 1-day introduction), with a detailed step-by-step guide, on how to produce and deliver COBie using Autodesk Revit, for those who are going to be directly involved in producing or delivering COBie data.”

What does the Training Course cover?
“The full course provides hands-on training in using Autodesk Revit to deliver COBie. Trainees will gain an understanding of the principles of COBie for Design methodology, as well as hands-on experience building a Revit model in one or more discipline areas; understanding the steps required to quality check output and ultimately to be able to ensure that drawings, schedules, models and COBie in Microsoft Excel (xlsx) format, all match, and can be verified. Success will be the ability to produce a COBie xlsx file from the Revit model that passes the COBie QC (quality control) report. The COBie QC reporter is a software-based verification tool for assuring 100% compliance with the COBie MVD (Model View Definition) in XLSX and IFC formats, for design and construction COBie files,” explains Dr Shawn O’Keeffe. “In the course we cover XLSX format, since it is the one utilised by CMMS systems to date.”  

The course outline is as follows:

•  Principles of COBie
•  Standards
•  Design Practice
•  Tools for COBie
•  COBie QC Checking
•  Classification Manager
•  Component Set Up
•  COBie Extension
•  Managing COBie Extension
•  Drawing Views
•  Optimise Workflow
•  Zone Space Naming
•  Dormitory Project Walk
•  Output Drawings and Schedules
•  Output XLSX
•  Verification
•  Validation
•  Introduction to COBie for Construction

What is the cost of the training?
“Since COBie is very new to the market in Ireland, we have pitched this at a very affordable level, to allow organisations to upskill the many people who will need to understand COBie,” says Pat Slattery.

The 1-Day course: Introduction to Delivering COBie using Autodesk Revit, costs €250 per person and includes a copy of the book Delivering COBie using Autodesk Revit.

The 4-Day course: Advanced “Step-by-Step” Guide to Delivering COBie using Autodesk Revit, cost €700 per person. It includes the 1-day introduction, a copy of the book Delivering COBie using Autodesk Revit, as well as a detailed Step-by-Step Guide produced by MMA Consulting Engineers. 

Where can people find out more about this new training?
ArcDox will be hosting and managing these courses through their training centre in Sandyford Dublin. However, arrangements can be made to deliver training in organisations, or alternative location, if there is demand.
Contact for more details.

ICE Awards 2018

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