You may be aware that we have recently passed a significant milestone in relation to the ongoing development of Building Information Modelling (BIM). In short, BIM is going international. In the UK, up to January of this year, the processes underlying the use of BIM were contained in Publically Available Specifications (PASs). These covered the whole life cycle of a built asset from its concept through the delivery/building phase to the operational/FM phase and final demolition or refurbishment. The PAS dealing with the delivery phase was PAS1192-2. With effect from January this year, PAS1192-2 has been replaced by ISO19650-2, the equivalent international standard issued by the BSI. At the same time, the BSI also issued ISO19650-1, dealing with concepts and principles applicable to the whole suite of ISO standards dealing with this area. The intention is that next year this suite of documents will be completed by the issue of ISO19650-3 and ISO19650-5. These will replace the existing PASs dealing with the operational phase and cyber security respectively. 

Is there any significant difference between PAS1192-2 and ISO19650-2? Broadly, there is not. The process set out in PAS1192-2 is in many ways the same in the ISO so you will not have to learn a new way of going about using BIM in the delivery phase. There are however some differences: 

  • There is some change in terminology. In order to use terms that are acceptable internationally when translated from English, concepts with which we are familiar in the UK construction sector such as "employer" or "client" and "supplier" have been replaced by "appointing party" and "appointed party" respectively and "contract" or "professional services agreement" now become "appointment". There are a number of other changes, the most significant of which are set out on the first page of ISO19650-1. There are other new definitions in ISO19650-2 and there is also a very helpful supplemental document issued in the UK only known as ISO19650-0 which is transition guidance and which provides a detailed mapping across from PAS 1192-2 to ISO 19650-2
  • There is much more emphasis in the ISO on information management and less on the BIM model itself. The model is seen as a sub-set of the information that is the subject of the ISO process. This reflects the increasing concentration as the market matures on how information is used. The Information Protocol is one of the most important documents in the ISO process
  • In particular ISO19650-1 emphasises the link between information management in the delivery of the asset and its operation and maintenance.The models used in each of these stages are referred to as the Project Information Model (PIM) and the Asset Information Model (AIM) respectively. ISO19650-1 emphasises that ideally the AIM should be available to the parties constructing the asset before the PIM is created. At completion of the delivery phase the PIM feeds in to and revises the AIM. In other words the life cycle of the asset is emphasised rather than assuming everything starts from a design concept which has no relationship to the operation of the asset but is concerned with the build phase only. This encourages the early involvement of the FM contractor in the build process. 

ISO19650-2 outlines the management of information through the concept, design and delivery phase including initial assessment, invitation to tender, tender response, appointment of the relevant parties, mobilisation, collaborative production of information, information model delivery and project close out. It is intended to be scalable so that it can apply to any size of project and contains at the back a useful draft information management assignment matrix, one of the two responsibility matrices referred to in ISO19650-2 which replace the Responsibility Matrix in the second edition of the CIC Protocol. 

Terminology changes aside, the structure and processes outlined in the ISO19650 documents are logical and comprehensive and should be familiar to anyone used to the existing BIM processes. Some guidance will be coming out shortly on the documents published so far and we can expect to see a protocol in the summer focussed on the 19650-2 process. 

The introduction of ISO 19650 marks the next stage in the development of an international approach to information management and BIM. Hopefully by this time next year the remaining parts of the ISO will be with us and the transition will be complete. In the meantime, it is well worth having a look at the general concepts in 19650-1 and familiarising yourself with the process in 19650-2. With any luck this is the way that most projects will be delivered in the future.  

This article was first published in Building.