The Evolution of BIM Standards: Tracing PAS 1192 to ISO 19650 & COBie's Role in Streamlined Data Transfer

The BIM Engineers
07 September 2023

In the intricate landscape of Building Information Modeling (BIM), deciphering the standards that govern and enhance our work isn't merely an intellectual pursuit—it's pivotal for operational excellence. Today, as a seasoned expert in construction certification, with a keen eye fixed firmly on the technological horizon, I bring forth a narrative that charts the meticulous evolution from PAS 1192 to ISO 19650. Decision-makers in the BIM outsourcing domain, take heed. Your understanding of this metamorphosis can be the linchpin of your next successful project. Here's our take—leading the charge in the world of BIM.

Origins of PAS 1192

Historical Context: Why PAS 1192 was Conceived

>Our journey commences in the corridors of the UK construction industry, which, around the early 2010s, recognized a pressing need—a structured pathway to achieve Level 2 BIM by 2016. PAS 1192 wasn't just a fortuitous conception; it was a deliberate and strategic response to meet this challenge head-on. It emerged as a beacon, sponsored by the illustrious Construction Industry Council (CIC), aiming to lay down a standardized framework for the collaborative creation of architectural, engineering, and construction information1.

Core Principles: What PAS 1192 Sought to Address in BIM

So, what did PAS 1192 seek to revolutionize? At its heart, PAS 1192 endeavored to make BIM more than just a three-dimensional design tool. It championed the ethos that BIM should envelop the entire asset lifecycle, from its embryonic conceptual phase right through to its decommissioning. The standard emphasized collaborative work, information exchange, and a unified documentation process, ensuring that every stakeholder, from architects and engineers to facility managers, sailed in the same BIM ship, harmoniously.

For decision-makers in BIM, this meant a clearer roadmap, lesser ambiguity, and streamlined operations. The establishment of clear protocols, common data environments (CDE), and lifecycle management was no less than a renaissance for construction projects, significantly enhancing efficiency and collaboration.

In essence, PAS 1192 set the stage for a BIM environment where clarity, collaboration, and consistency reigned supreme—a world where professionals and organizations could tread with newfound confidence.

However, as with all pioneers, PAS 1192 was the precursor to a global awakening, one that beckoned a standard with broader horizons and deeper insights: the ISO 19650.



Comparing PAS 1192 and ISO 19650


The Core Similarities: Shared Goals of Both Standards

Navigating through the dense forest of BIM standards can sometimes feel like a cryptic game of spot-the-difference. However, in the grand scheme of things, it's the similarities that often take precedence. Both PAS 1192 and ISO 19650 share an unwavering commitment to BIM's cardinal principles—collaboration, consistency, and the smooth exchange of information. They are not rivals in the ring but rather siblings, each playing a crucial role in charting BIM's growth trajectory.


Distinguishing Differences: How ISO 19650 Expands and Diversifies

But, as with all siblings, while they may share the same roots, their aspirations often differ. The ISO 19650, while paying homage to the foundation laid by PAS 1192, ventured beyond the UK's shores, extending its expertise to a global audience2. The ISO took the best of PAS 1192 and sprinkled in some universal appeal, ensuring its principles resonated from Europe to Asia, and from the Americas to Africa.


What ISO 19650 brought to the table was not merely a change of name or a fresh coat of paint—it enhanced scalability, added layers of clarity, and most importantly, spoke a universal BIM language. It took into account diverse construction methodologies, varying regulatory standards, and disparate technology landscapes across countries, presenting a consolidated framework that truly epitomized global best practices.


The Global Perspective: ISO 19650's Address to the International Market

In the grand mosaic of global construction standards, ISO 19650 firmly places its stamp, not as a disruptor but as a harmonizer. For decision-makers in BIM outsourcing, this translates to an unparalleled advantage. When projects span continents, having a standardized approach like ISO 19650 eliminates guesswork, ensures that all stakeholders, irrespective of their geographical location, are on the same page, and guarantees that quality benchmarks are met consistently2.


To put it in perspective, while PAS 1192 was a well-crafted sonnet admired in its homeland, ISO 19650 is a symphony that resonates worldwide. And in this symphony, every note, every chord, is a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship that defines "Leading in the World of BIM."

Challenges and Benefits of the Transition

Overcoming Initial Resistance: The Hurdles in Adopting ISO 19650
Change, they say, is the only constant. However, in the world of BIM, change can often be met with a blend of skepticism and caution. Transitioning from the PAS 1192's comfortably familiar territory to the vast expanse of ISO 19650 was no cakewalk. Professionals were wary about recalibrating their methodologies, adjusting to a new lexicon of terms, and, quite frankly, stepping into the unknown.

Some of the challenges echoed concerns of potential implementation costs, the steep learning curve for teams, and apprehensions regarding alignment with existing, localized standards3. And then there was the inevitable inertia—because let's face it, old habits do die hard.

The Silver Lining: Long-term Advantages of Shifting Standards

Yet, every cloud has its silver lining. While the transition was met with its fair share of raised eyebrows and pursed lips, the long-term benefits of ISO 19650 soon began to outshine the initial resistance. A singular, global standard meant that BIM processes could be streamlined across borders, ushering in a new era of international collaborations and ventures.

The comprehensive nature of ISO 19650 also catered to a more holistic lifecycle approach, emphasizing not just the design and construction phases, but the operation and maintenance of assets as well. The increased clarity in processes, the uniformity in standards, and the enhanced scope of integration all culminated in one undeniable fact: projects were running smoother, collaborations were more seamless, and outcomes were more predictable4.

Aligning BIM Practices: Ensuring Consistency Across Projects

For the discerning decision-makers in BIM outsourcing, this transition underscored a pivotal realization: staying ahead in the BIM world is not just about adopting the latest technologies or tools—it's about aligning with standards that promise consistency, quality, and global resonance. By embracing ISO 19650, organizations not only fortified their BIM practices but also positioned themselves at the vanguard of global BIM leadership.

In essence, the shift from PAS 1192 to ISO 19650 wasn't just a change—it was an upgrade. An upgrade that encapsulates our ethos at "Leading in the World of BIM," where excellence is not an aspiration but a standard we steadfastly uphold.

Exploring COBie: Streamlining Data Transfer in Construction

COBie Unveiled: The Cornerstone of Efficient Data Management
Before diving deep, let's demystify the acronym. COBie stands for Construction Operations Building Information Exchange. Quite a mouthful, but its significance in the realm of BIM is even grander. Think of COBie as the unsung maestro conducting an orchestra of data, ensuring each note (read: piece of information) reaches its intended audience without a hitch.

A Brief Genesis of COBie
Developed with the backing of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, COBie came into existence to bridge a glaring gap in the construction sector<5. How does one transfer information pertinent to facility management without getting ensnared in the intricacies of BIM tools? COBie emerged as the answer, streamlining data from the phase of handover to the facility's operational life cycle.

Why COBie Matters: The Ingenious System Behind the Scenes

But why should the decision-makers in outsourcing BIM projects care? Simple. COBie is not just about data transfer; it's about intelligent, efficient, and structured data transfer. By utilizing a standardized format, it ensures that every stakeholder, from architects and contractors to facility managers, can access the information they need without wading through a sea of unnecessary data.

Here's the kicker: COBie does this without being overly reliant on specific software, making the data exchange process as frictionless as possible6. This translates to time saved, reduced errors, and enhanced collaboration—a trifecta every BIM project aspires to achieve.

COBie and ISO 19650: The Symbiotic Relationship
And now, for the pièce de résistance. With the global acceptance of ISO 19650, the relevance of COBie has only been amplified. The international standard recognizes the pivotal role COBie plays in data transfer, recommending its use to ensure consistency across projects3. It's akin to a dynamic duo, where ISO 19650 sets the stage and COBie ensures the performance is executed flawlessly.

In the constantly evolving world of BIM, the amalgamation of ISO 19650 with the prowess of COBie signals a new dawn—a dawn where data is not just managed but orchestrated with precision. A symphony, if you will, that resonates with our commitment to "Leading in the World of BIM."

Key Takeaways: Understanding the Evolution and Future of BIM Standards

The Epochs of BIM: From PAS 1192 to ISO 19650
As we look back, the journey from PAS 1192 to ISO 19650 stands as a testament to the industry's relentless pursuit of excellence. The narrative is not merely about a transition of standards but a reflection of the construction sector's evolution in response to global demands.

COBie: The Unsung Hero of BIM Processes
No discussion about BIM's recent advancements would be complete without tipping our hats to COBie. By decoupling data from the tools that created them, COBie shifted the focus from mere creation to effective communication. For projects with a multitude of stakeholders, this is nothing short of revolutionary.

Challenges: Inevitable Yet Surmountable
Innovation seldom comes without its challenges. The initial apprehensions surrounding ISO 19650 and COBie are reminders that change, though inevitable, requires adaptation. But as we've seen, the long-term benefits far outweigh the teething problems. It's a narrative of initial skepticism turning into widespread adoption and appreciation.

Why This Matters for BIM Outsourcing Decision-Makers
For those at the helm of BIM outsourcing, understanding these developments is not just beneficial—it's imperative. By aligning with global standards and leveraging tools like COBie, businesses stand to gain competitive advantages, ensuring their projects are not just compliant but exemplary.

The Road Ahead: "Leading in the World of BIM"
Our voyage through the intricacies of BIM standards, from the foundational PAS 1192 to the global ISO 19650, and the brilliance of COBie, offers valuable insights. But what lies ahead is even more promising. As technology continues to advance and global collaboration becomes the norm, adhering to and shaping these standards will dictate success.

At "Leading in the World of BIM," we remain committed to pioneering these advancements. Together, we'll continue to shape the future, ensuring that our projects don't just meet the benchmarks but consistently redefine them.


Construction Industry Council (CIC) - BIM Standards

  1. ISO 19650 - Transitioning from PAS 1192
  2. The Global BIM Playbook: Benefits of Implementing ISO 19650
  1. ISO 19650 Transition: Hurdles and Opportunities
  2. Advantages of Global BIM Standards in Construction
  3. The Emergence and Evolution of COBie
  4. Why COBie? Benefits and Implementation
  5. ISO 19650 Guidelines: The Role of COBie