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The Assessment and Need is the most critical phase in ISO 19650 project delivery phase. Here’s Why.

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

The Assessment and need is the first stage within the information delivery cycle in ISO 19650-2 driven projects (read about what is ISO 19650-2 about in the BSI website here and my post on the the strategic role of ISO 19650 here) and is considered the most critical stage for effective information management. This stage sets the foundation upon which the entire project's information management processes, strategies, and decisions are built and will set the long-term asset information strategy and, after completion, will initiate the Invitation to tender activity.


Assessment & Need activity, ISO 19650-2, BIM Design Hub

According to ISO 19650, the Assessment and Need stage includes 8 tasks:


1. Appoint Information Management functions. The Information Management functions (read more about Information Management functions here) are a set of tasks appointed by the client or a third party to the prospective lead appointed party. Functions could be relative to the asset, e.g., validate information for operation and maintenance, to the project, e.g., establish the project CDE and to tasks, e.g., the requirement to coordinate information across multiple tasks.


2. Establish the Project Information Requirements, PIRs. The client should understand what information (read more about Information Requirements here) is required at each critical point of the project to align it with the project's strategic objectives and the different types of information. PIRs content may include relevant OIRs, the business case, the strategic brief, stakeholders and tasks. Examples of project requirements may be a carbon report with embedded carbon values or an energy report with the energy usage of equipment.


3. Establish the Project milestones. The client shall consider the critical decision milestones and their associated responsibilities for delivery, as well as the specific details regarding the type and content of information to be delivered.


4. Establish the Information Standard. Clients play a central role in setting up project standards, such as interoperability standards that ensure that different software systems and tools can communicate effectively, facilitating data sharing and collaboration. Standards may also relate to the structuring and classifying of information (e.g., Uniclass 2015), the operational phase (e.g., NRM3, RICS), the method of describing the Level of Information Need (e.g., NBS level of definition) and the naming of information containers ( e.g. BS EN ISO 19650-2). They may also require compliance with sustainability standards, such as BREEAM or LEED.


5. Establish the Information production methods and procedures. Clients must decide on the information production methods and procedures that include the way the information is captured, generated, reviewed, approved and delivered. They may include permitted values, measurement units, templates, software used, security and metadata, quality control, data management, the transition from the Project to the Asset information model and the CDE solution.


6. Establish reference information and shared resources. Shared resources may include style objects and libraries, output templates for documents, information container templates or existing asset information.


7. Establish the CDE. This task includes the definition of the CDE structure, including the naming of information containers, the field codification and attributes and access to information containers.


8. Establish the information Protocol. The information protocol can be incorporated into any level of appointment at any level in the supply chain and should include the specific obligations of parties relating to the management or production of information, including the use of CDE.


Now that we have an overview of the Assessment and need tasks, let's talk about the resources/documents that should be developed during the activity to support the initiation of the project. These resources help the client gain a broad understanding of the requirements of the project and articulate their objectives and goals explicitly in a formal and structured manner. This clarity ensures that everyone involved in the project comprehends the project purpose and vision, which is essential for alignment and consistent decision-making throughout the project lifecycle.


Below, I provide a list of recommended resources to be developed during this stage:

  • Information Management Assignment Matrix (shows who does what in managing information).

  • Organizational Information Requirements (lists what information the organization needs).

  • Project Information Requirements (details what information the project needs).

  • BIM uses Matrix (shows how Building Information Modelling (BIM) will be used).

  • Procurement route (decides how the project will be procured).

  • Milestone schedule (plans important project dates).

  • Project Information Standard (sets rules for information).

  • Project’s information production methods and procedures (explains how to produce and share information).

  • Project's reference information and shared resources (collects useful information).

  • Project’s CDE structure (organizes where information is kept).

  • Project’s information protocol (explains the obligations of parties).

  • Asset information requirements (lists what information is needed for managing the asset).

Following, I provide some insights why the Assessment and Need is the most critical stage in ISO 19650-2 driven projects.

7 reasons why the Assessment & Need is the most critical stage in ISO 19650-2 driven projects, BIM Design Hub

Building the foundation: Think of it like building a house. You need a strong foundation to make sure the house stands tall. In ISO 19650 projects, the Assessment and need stage creates the base for everything that comes after. Clients or representatives can communicate their expectations, objectives, and the importance of information management, ensuring that designers, contractors, and suppliers are all on the same page. This alignment fosters better collaboration and decision-making.


Long-Term Planning: This stage helps make a plan for the project's information that will last even after the project is finished. It's like making a map for the future. This stage involves comprehensive planning for information management throughout the project's life cycle. Clients define what information they need, why they need it, and how they will use it. This includes specifying data requirements, formats, and standards. Effective planning ensures that the information is collected and delivered in a structured and consistent manner, which is crucial for efficient collaboration and decision-making.


Appointing Roles: It's like choosing the right players for a sports team. Some people or groups will be responsible for certain tasks, and this stage helps pick the best people or teams for those jobs. This ensures that everyone knows their role and can work together smoothly.


Knowing What's Needed: This stage figures out what information is needed at different times in the project. It's like preparing a meal and you need different tools and ingredients for each dish. But instead of cooking, it's about information. Just like a chef wouldn't want to run out of ingredients while cooking, the project wants to make sure it has all the information it needs at the right times to avoid any hiccups.


Rules and Methods: This stage creates rules and ways of working relative to the exchange, structuring and classifying of information, the method of describing information requirements, etc. By having these rules and methods in place, everyone on the project knows exactly what to do and ensures that everyone works on the same project. This consistency and clarity help the project run smoothly and avoid confusion.


Invitation to Tender: Once the Assessment and need stage is done, it's time to invite others to join the project. Imagine you're hosting a big event, and you need people or companies to help make it happen. This stage is like sending out invitations. You're asking others to be part of your project team. These could be experts, suppliers, or partners who will contribute to the project's success.


Control budget: Just as staying fit and healthy requires regular exercise and a balanced diet, maintaining the financial health of a project requires careful planning and monitoring. The Assessment and need stage directly influences budget control. By defining information requirements accurately, clients can develop more precise cost estimates and budgets. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of budget overruns resulting from unforeseen information-related challenges or additional requirements that may arise during the project.


The Assessment and need stage lays the groundwork for effective information management, collaboration, risk mitigation, resource allocation, and budget control, ensuring that the project is set on the right path from its inception. Errors or oversights at this stage can have cascading effects throughout the project life cycle, making it imperative to prioritize a well-structured and comprehensive Assessment and need phase.


Learn more about ISO 19650 CPD-certified training by BIM Design Hub here.


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Author: Panagiotidou Nicoleta


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