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ISO 19650 — Go from BIM to Better Information Management in 5 steps

8 minutes read

Asset Owners & Contractors

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People depend on accurate information, especially in the built environment, where design, construction, operation, and maintenance activities and outcomes are critical to health, safety, and compliance. The principle of managing information better across the whole lifecycle of a building cannot happen without the overall digital transformation of the sector. And the road to better information management begins within individual organisations working to international standards such as ISO 19650 — the international standard for current best practice information management using building information modelling (BIM).

The shift towards better information management is necessary because BIM isn’t just about models but about all information. Therefore, setting out information requirements aligned with ISO 19650 suite of standards, even before a project starts, is necessary to ensure you get the information you need to manage your assets better during the operational phase.

However, utilising ISO 19650 can feel overwhelming without knowing where to start.

Read on to learn more about information management and how it relates to the ISO 19650 suite of standards, as well as the 5 simple steps you need to take you there.

What is ‘better’ information management according to the ISO 19650 standard?

Information management, according to the ISO 19650 suite of standards, is essentially about a better way of working using standardised best practice processes. By using best practices from the start, the right information can be specified, delivered, and utilised from the design all the way to the operational phases of assets — bringing efficiency and a connected future.

The ISO 19650 suite of standards, which has been developed by the international community, is something the whole industry needs to get behind. Working from a single guidance framework rather than developing lots of guidance from different global organisations, avoids complications and inconsistencies.

What are ISO 19650 organisational information requirements?

Before setting out your detailed exchange information requirements it is important to first understand why you need information at an organisational level. This need should be built out logically, making sure the information tells a consistent story as well as how and when it should be exchanged in the project lifecycle against a clearly defined purpose. Each purpose will ultimately then drive the detailed information that you require from your suppliers.

A key part of both the previous UK standards and the ISO 19650 suite of standards is that information management needs to be driven by clients. This means clients should ideally set out their information requirements in advance of capital projects beginning.

Correctly developing the purpose, function and format of information will ensure that only the right information is specified and won’t introduce unnecessary waste and cost. For more information about developing information requirements see, Guidance Part D, Developing information requirements, from the UK BIM Framework.

1. Assess your level of information need

Level of information need according to ISO 19650 is a framework which defines the quality, quantity, and granularity of information requirements. The level of information need should be communicated against each purpose; no more and no less. This means that you can receive and organise information in a standardised way.

It’s important to note the risk of over-defining or under-defining information requirements. Anything that contains too much or too little information than is required for its purpose is considered inefficient.

To create your level of information need, you should set out your Exchange Information Requirements in detail. This is an information management resource that sets out the exact information you wish to receive from your suppliers at different points in your project, including requirements around documentation, geometrical (geometry) information and alphanumerical (data). It should include the precise information you wish to receive and your criteria for accepting or rejecting information from your suppliers.

2. Inviting suppliers to tender

Due to the reactive and unpredictable nature of the built environment, the way information is generated can often be ad-hoc. More often than not, due to poor planning at the early stages, problems arise too late in the asset lifecycle to act upon efficiently. When technology is used without proper consideration across parties, information can become siloed, duplicated and difficult to interpret. This can result in disappointing outcomes between the client and contractor while causing potentially costly delays and rework. High-quality information management resources help to mitigate this risk.

Once you have developed your information management resources, you are ready to appoint teams. Anyone appointed directly by the client will be referred to under ISO 19650 as a ‘Lead Appointed Party’ while anyone appointed by a Lead Appointed Party is referred to as an ‘Appointed Party’.

As an Appointing Party (the term used for clients under ISO 19650), the client should then share their information management resources as part of any invitation to tender package. This will ensure the client clearly sets out their information requirements and that the Lead Appointed Party can accurately price against these requirements during the tender response process. It is important to recognise that any party employed may need to provide information, not just designers or contractors and each time you invite organisations or teams to tender you should be looking to include your information requirements.

If information requirements are introduced too late after a team or organisation is appointed, negotiation periods are often more drawn out, costly and harder to finalise. Being organised from the outset will set everyone up for success.

3. Review tender responses from suppliers

Before appointing anyone, it is important to review the tender responses against the client’s information management resources from suppliers. This is just as important as examining general information provided as part of a tender. For a tender response to demonstrate that it follows an ISO 19650 compliant process, you would expect to receive the following information for review from each tendering party:

Who will perform the information management function

The tender should include information about the organisations and individuals who will be responsible for managing information on behalf of each Lead Appointed Party to meet the information requirements set out by the client.

Pre-appointment BIM execution plan (BEP)

A pre-appointment BIM Execution Plan must be provided to convey the information management approach and reviewed to ensure a team has a clear delivery plan in place against the requirements. It will also set out the capabilities and capacity of the team to manage the project information in line with expectations. This will be the basis for managing and exchanging information throughout the project.

Mobilisation plan

This plan from each Lead Appointed Party should set out how they will mobilise their team should they be appointed. It should be implemented effectively from the outset and subsequently as new team members join the project.

Risk register

Any potential risks to the project or organisation in the provision of information should be set out. This could be within a wider risk register or as a standalone resource.

Read more in Guidance Part E, Tendering and appointments, from the UK BIM Framework.


4. Make sure appointments are contractual

Upon setting up an appointment, all information management resources included in the invitation to tender (with agreed additions and amendments) plus additional information management resources provided by the Lead Appointed Party should be included within each appointment.

It should be noted that the Project’s Information Protocol plays a key role in joining the appointment/contract to the information management resources, by setting out in detail what resources are included.

5. Check all delivered information against your acceptance criteria

For information to be usable for the purposes originally set out for the project, any delivered information should be checked against acceptance criteria set out in the Exchange Information Requirements.

It’s worth bearing in mind that requirements for accepting information will be different for documentation, geometrical information, and alphanumerical information. Much of the acceptance process can be supported by automated checking processes. To speed things up and provide greater consistency in the information received, it may be beneficial to provide standardised checking rules directly to suppliers.

Checking information as it progresses will ensure there is time to reject any non-compliant information and make sure it is rectified effectively, instead of simply waiting until it becomes critical.

Conclusion

Thinking about the information you need to manage your business before capital projects begin will ensure you are in the best place to guarantee you receive the information you need when projects are undertaken. Developing robust information management resources will improve your overall approach to better information management and improve the quality of information you store and manage during the asset’s lifecycle. These principles underpin the ongoing digital transformation of the sector, as well as a golden thread of information that will ensure all design, building and operational information is stored digitally for key stakeholders to access throughout the life of an asset.

To learn more about how to apply better information management across your projects, book a demo to speak to an expert.