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What is COBie?


Studio Victoria

2 minutes

We have already explaining what IFC is and to follow on from the crucial topic of data management, this article we will be exploring what COBie is as we answer the questions: What is the COBie? What is the difference between COBie and IFC? and What are the basic principles of COBie? Keep reading to learn all about COBie to help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS!


COBie is an abbreviation for Construction Operations Building Information Exchange and is commonly used for data exchange from construction to operations. It is a non-proprietary data format for building information models (BIM) which concentrates on delivering asset data as distinct from geometric information.


The COBie data model is a subset of the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) that was developed by buildingSMART. COBie is part of the UK Building Information Modelling (BIM) Task Group level 2 initiative as well as the openBIM movement to collaboratively design, build and operate buildings.

COBie is known for its spreadsheet, the “least common denominator” data management tool that contains digital information about an asset. The spreadsheet allows users to efficiently exchange data as most people have Excel and can be also used by those who also have basic Excel knowledge.


COBie is a step forward for digital construction and lifecycle building information management as it aims to make data exchange more efficient and simpler. Below we outline three basic principles of COBie:

  1. Classification: Many CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) and CAFM (Computerized Maintenance Management System) systems are using classifications to structure documentation. Therefore, implementing a classification system with COBie will add a dimension in navigating the information and provide aggregation possibilities across projects
  2. Data model: As COBie aligns with the open IFC format this means COBie shares the industry best practices making the integration with design and construction tools and processes easier
  3. Format: COBie provides people with options for different delivery formats. As we discussed earlier COBie provides specifications and templates for a data based spreadsheet. As COBie offers different delivery formats this makes collaboration in an openBIM workflow simpler as you do not need a specific BIM tool and knowledge of the IFC data model

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