BIM and ISO 19650: Understanding the Global Standard

The BIM Engineers
31 August 2023

BIM and ISO 19650: Understanding the Global Standard


Greetings, astute BIM Managers. Allow me to cut straight to the chase—our industry is not what it used to be. The days of doodling architectural fantasies on paper napkins are fading fast. Welcome to the era of Building Information Modeling (BIM), a revolutionary approach that has redefined how we conceptualize, design, and manage construction projects.

But hold your horses! With great power comes, well, the need for great regulation. Enter ISO 19650, the global standard guiding the chaos of BIM into streamlined efficiency. For BIM Managers like yourselves, mastering this standard is not just an option—it’s a necessity. After all, we're not just playing in the sandbox; we're leading in the world of BIM.

In the forthcoming discussion, expect to delve into the complexities and simplicities (yes, they co-exist) of BIM and ISO 19650. We will unearth what they are, why they are critical for international projects, and how they can be woven seamlessly into your existing workflows.

Why is this crucial for you? The future is digital, and being well-versed in these guidelines will not just put you a step ahead—it will place you leagues ahead. And let's face it, no one likes to play catch-up, especially when international competitiveness is at stake.

So, buckle up. Your authoritative guide to 'IM and ISO 19650: Understanding the Global Standard' begins now.

What is BIM (Building Information Modeling)?

The Genesis of Digital Architecture

Ah, BIM, the three-letter acronym that holds the power to transform scribbles on paper into architectural marvels. In layman's terms, Building Information Modeling is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility. But let's not dawdle with textbook definitions; you're here for the meat and potatoes.

BIM isn't just a technology or a piece of software; it's a methodology—a philosophy, if you will. It integrates architecture, engineering, and construction (often lovingly abbreviated as AEC) into a seamless process. With roots dating back to the late 1970s, BIM has transitioned from a 'nice-to-have' to a 'must-have,' and let's just say, if you're not on board yet, you're sailing on the Titanic.

Why Does BIM Matter?

Efficiency is King: Imagine constructing a building with Lego blocks, but each block comes with its unique dataset. Now, any change you make is automatically updated across all related blocks. Efficiency, isn't it?

Cost-Effectiveness: Let's face it, errors cost money, and in our industry, they can cost a fortune. BIM allows for better coordination and less rework. Translation? Say goodbye to budget overflows.

Collaboration and Communication: Working in silos is so 1990s. BIM facilitates real-time collaboration among all stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is on the same page—or should we say, the same model.

The Hierarchical Ladder: BIM Levels

For those who enjoy the intricate tapestry of standards and protocols—yes, I'm looking at you—BIM is also divided into various maturity levels, from Level 0 to Level 3 and beyond.

  • Level 0: As basic as your morning coffee—just 2D CAD drafting.
  • Level 1: We’re talking about a mixture of 3D CAD for concept work, and sets of 2D drawings for statutory approval documentation.
  • Level 2: This is where things get spicy—a managed 3D environment held in separate discipline BIM tools with attached data.
  • Level 3: The utopia we all aim for—fully open process and data integration in a common environment.

Reference: The British Standards Institute (BSI) BIM Levels Explained

And there we have it—a thorough yet succinct overview of what BIM is and why it’s the game-changer we all need. The tone remains professional, providing a polished layer to the complex subjects at hand. This section has equipped you with the foundational knowledge of BIM, offering not just definitions but actionable insights.

In essence, understanding BIM is pivotal for anyone in the architectural and construction ecosystem, especially the stalwarts like BIM Managers. But remember, BIM is only as effective as the standards that govern it. This brings us to our next topic of discussion—ISO 19650. Stay with me, the plot is about to thicken.

What is ISO 19650?

The Lexicon of Global BIM Standards

Ah, ISO 19650—It might sound like a new Star Wars droid, but its impact on the world of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is far from fictional. This is the global standard that serves as the 'rulebook' for BIM implementation, not just within your cozy office space but across international borders. Developed by the International Organization for Standardization, this is where the BIM rubber meets the regulatory road.

The Anatomy of ISO 19650: Parts 1 and 2

  • ISO 19650-1: This part concerns the "Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modeling." In simpler terms, it outlines the concepts and principles for good practice. This isn't 'Good to Know'; it's 'Need to Know'.

    Reference: ISO 19650-1 Guidelines

  • ISO 19650-2: Hold onto your hard hats; this is where the fun begins. Part 2 dives into the 'Operational Phase of Assets,' guiding the delivery phase of assets. It provides the strategies you need, not just to play the game, but to win it.

    Reference: ISO 19650-2 Guidelines

Why is ISO 19650 Imperative?

  1. Standardization: BIM is like jazz; everyone brings something to the table. But without sheet music (read: ISO 19650), it’s just noise. Standardization ensures that you're not just creating data but creating useful data.

  2. Global Applicability: This isn't your grandpa's local shop manual; it's a globally accepted standard. Working on a skyscraper in Shanghai? ISO 19650. Retrofitting a Roman villa? Again, ISO 19650.

  3. Seamless Integration with BIM: Think of ISO 19650 as the ‘Yin’ to BIM’s ‘Yang’. It complements the technology, setting rules and protocols that make BIM not just operational but optimal.

ISO 19650: The Global Standard

So, why is it a global standard? Because it has teeth. Regulatory bodies across the world have adopted or are in the process of adopting ISO 19650. It's not something to consider; it’s a compliance requirement.

Reference: Global Adoption of ISO 19650

In essence, ISO 19650 isn't just a set of guidelines; it's the playbook for success in the digital transformation of construction. It is not an overstatement to say that ISO 19650 is rewriting the rules of the game in our field, bringing structure to an otherwise fragmented landscape.

Understanding ISO 19650 is not just about ticking a box; it’s about positioning yourself and your organization at the forefront of an industry revolution. Up next, let's explore how this high-octane duo of BIM and ISO 19650 can be integrated into your operations to set new benchmarks in project delivery.

Integrating BIM and ISO 19650: A Symbiotic Relationship

The Confluence of Two Titans

By now, it should be as clear as a well-drafted CAD model—BIM is the future and ISO 19650 is the key to unlocking that future responsibly. But understanding them individually is like having a great pair of shoes and nowhere to wear them. Let’s talk about the power of integration.

Setting up the Framework

Before leaping headfirst into a whirlpool of data and graphics, you need a solid framework. And not just any framework—a structure compliant with ISO 19650. Here's a roadmap:

  1. Data Assessment: First, identify what data you have and what you need. This isn't just a spring cleaning exercise; it's about establishing your data inventory in alignment with ISO 19650 requirements.

  2. Staff Training: Let's not kid ourselves; technology is only as good as the people using it. Conduct focused training sessions on both BIM and ISO 19650 protocols.

Reference: ISO 19650 Training Modules

  1. Pilot Testing: Roll out a pilot project to see how well your team adapts to this new paradigm. Measure, analyze, and, if necessary, recalibrate.

The Tactical Execution

  1. Collaborative Workflow: Use BIM tools that allow real-time collaboration and are ISO 19650-compliant.

Reference: Top ISO 19650-Compliant BIM Tools

  1. Data Management: Adopt a Common Data Environment (CDE) to manage information efficiently, in line with ISO 19650 specifications.

  2. Monitoring & Reporting: Maintain logs to document how data is manipulated and shared. Make sure the logs are easily auditable, as transparency is crucial in a regulated landscape.

Governance and Compliance

Last but certainly not least, governance is the linchpin. You'll need:

  • Quality Checks: Continual assessment and validation against ISO 19650 standards.

  • Documentation: Maintain a thorough, time-stamped record of all processes and communications.

  • External Audits: Periodically bring in third-party auditors to ensure unbiased compliance checks.

    Reference: ISO 19650 Compliance Audits

By marrying BIM with ISO 19650, you're not just meeting an industry standard—you're setting one. Integrating these two not only amplifies the benefits of each but also results in a sum greater than its parts.

The next time someone brings up BIM or ISO 19650, you won't just nod knowingly—you'll be the authority they turn to. Next up, we tackle some frequently asked questions to bring even more clarity to this intricate subject matter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To serve as a one-stop resource, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions related to BIM and ISO 19650. Whether you're a seasoned BIM Manager or someone looking to understand the nuances, these FAQs will come in handy.

What is BIM?

Answer: Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility. It is a collaborative method involving architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals.

What does ISO 19650 cover?

Answer: ISO 19650 serves as a global standard that outlines the organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works. It is divided into multiple parts, each focusing on different aspects of BIM implementation.

How do BIM and ISO 19650 integrate?

Answer: BIM and ISO 19650 integrate by providing a standardized framework for the digitization and management of construction-related information. This ensures high-quality data, efficient processes, and enhances collaboration among all stakeholders.

Why is ISO 19650 important?

Answer: ISO 19650 is important because it brings a uniform standard to the world of BIM. It enhances efficiency, ensures quality, and makes BIM globally applicable, thereby serving as a compliance requirement in multiple jurisdictions.

That wraps up our comprehensive look into BIM and ISO 19650. For BIM Managers who aim to be at the cutting edge of construction technology, understanding these concepts is not just advantageous—it's essential. By mastering the symbiotic relationship between BIM and ISO 19650, you're not just meeting industry standards; you're setting them.

Remember, in the ever-evolving world of Building Information Modeling, we are your compass, Leading in the World of BIM.

Feel free to reach out with any questions or insights. Until then, let's build a smarter future together.