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COBie principles and benefits: An interview with Alex Galatoulas

Updated: Oct 30, 2023


COBie course by BIM Design Hub

In this post, I invited Alexandros Galatoulas to discuss the COBie principles and benefits and how can COBie support construction projects. Alexandros is a civil engineer, the director of XYZ Management Consulting and the instructor of the CPD certified course "BIM Basics for SMEs" in collaboration with BIM Design Hub. He holds an MEng degree in Civil Engineering and an MSc degree in Construction Economics and Management. Alexandros is also a Certified Passive House Designer -CPHD and a Living Future Accredited-LFA professional. His project experience spans in all RIBA stages (0 to 7) and his work is focused on the built environment regeneration and zero-carbon design solutions with an emphasis on asset management and COBie implementation, in line with ISO 19650.


Can you provide some information about your background in BIM and digital construction?

While working for the London Mott MacDonald office in the UK, I had the opportunity to participate in different BIM ISO 19650-based projects across various project lifecycle stages. With XYZ Management Consulting we bring technical know-how in Athens, Greece, helping professionals and clients to transition towards a digitalised and a zero-carbon future for the local built environment. We help property owners to implement COBie methodology to achieve an efficient and lean handover in their projects that allow building owners to reduce and optimise costs during the operational phase of their projects.


COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange) is an international standard for building data exchange. What is the purpose of COBIe and how it can support the construction handover?

COBie helps designers, contractors and clients. It assists construction companies in capturing and storing in an open format crucial project information, such as equipment lists, warranties, product datasheets and maintenance schedules. Once the built asset is operational, this information is essential to support operations, maintenance and asset management by replacing paper-based dependency and duplication of work by Facility Managers.

COBie standard and methodology integrates with multiple BIM software assisting in the planning, design, construction and in-use (operational and maintenance) stage. It is expressed in an excel format so it can allow deeper technological adaptation as the excel format can be safely considered as a common denominator for the majority of built environment professionals.

The excel format is intended to capture project data in two distinct phases, the as-designed and the as-built phases. Each workbook has worksheets that need to be populated depending on the project stage.


What are the basic principles of COBie?

COBie is the key to swift focus from paper templates and handover lists and allows users to select relevant delivery formats which are expressed in an open excel format. The simplified sheet layout (without requiring knowledge of a specific BIM tool nor understanding IFC data model) is a great advantage for users to apply the COBie standard as spreadsheets are supported in most cases by both importers and exporters from various systems and databases. COBie is a Model View Definition (with the Industry's best practices) of the IFC data model.

The classification system that COBie utilises, adds a level of information navigation along with opportunities between projects and owners, especially when this classification is embedded in the contracts. The same classification is mostly used by CAFM (Computer Aided Facility Management) and CMMS (Computer Maintenance Management System) Systems in order to organise documentation.


What are the benefits of COBie for facility managers and asset owners?

One of the great advantages of COBie is that encourages the collaboration of asset data within project teams but also assists facility managers in using CMMS efficiently. COBie is considered the most cost-effective method of data transferring to facility managers after the construction completion. COBie files can be exported with ease from BIM software and imported to COBie-friendly CMMS and CAFM systems with no data losses along the way.

If you are a construction professional I am sure you are aware that during the project lifecycle stages, vast amounts of information and data are being generated (like BOQs, RFIs, Safety licences, permit documentation, planning paperwork and so on). This information will be generated in every built project. This type of data will need to be handled consistently and in a structured manner. The problem is that project teams may be different in each project, even with the same project owner. Therefore, one of the greatest COBie benefits is the standardised approach to asset data management.


You can find out more about COBie through my CPD Certified course issued by BIM Design hub and join a constructive dialogue on how COBie can unlock the BIM process and add value to your projects.


COBie Basics for SMEs course by BIM Design Hub

The course provides an understanding of the scope and the structure of COBie, helps you synthesize your COBie knowledge and recognizes the key concepts of COBie spreadsheet content and deliverables.


#Interview by Panagiotidou Nicoleta, BIM specialist, Breakwithanarchitect


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BIM TRAINING IN LINE WITH ISO 19650

BIM training by BIM Design Hub introduces you to the concepts and principles of Building Information Modeling, BIM, in line with ISO 19650 and provides sufficient skills and knowledge of the BIM process, standards and guidelines that support the digitalization of the construction industry.

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