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BIM standards: What’s the latest?

If you work within a BIM environment across engineering and construction, you’ll know the importance of keeping up to date with the latest BIM standards. But sometimes, figuring out exactly what the latest standards are can be confusing. We’ve prepared this article to help you find out just that, without having to scroll hundreds of pages to get there.

PAS 1192-2 is in the past

Depending on the type of asset and the phase of the project, you may need to look at one set of standards or another. During the past decade, PAS 1192-2:2013 was the most common standard. It was applicable to most architectural and engineering projects, from concept design all the way through to construction. Although many people in the industry still use and refer to this standard, you may be surprised to find out that it was superseded in January 2019.

PAS 1192-2 was the first standard to define BIM Level 2 in detail. This Publicly Available Specification was always meant to be a provisional standard to help professionals with the implementation of BIM until an international specification was developed. But now, the latest BIM standard for engineering and construction projects is BS EN ISO 19650. This new international standard is the replacement of the well-known PAS 1192-2. The aim of the ISO standard is to expand on the concepts and processes introduced by PAS 1192. It also seeks international consistency in the approach and naming conventions for BIM.

Key changes in ISO 19650

BS EN ISO 19650 introduces many changes to the concepts previously included in PAS 1192. Contractual relationships now adopt new terminologies. The previous ‘Employer’ is now referred to as ‘Appointing Party’. ‘Principal Supplier’ or ‘Principal Contractor’ are now ‘Lead Appointed Party.’ Finally, ‘suppliers’ and ‘contractors’ are ‘Appointed Parties.’ These changes seek consistency in the international convention, but it introduces a level of uncertainty on UK law compatibility which is yet to be clarified.

The information types terminology has changed. ‘Graphical information’ in PAS 1192 is now ‘geometric information’ in ISO 19650. ‘Non-graphical information’ in the old standard is now ‘alphanumeric’ or ‘non-geometric information’. On the other hand, the term and use case for ‘documentation’ has been retained.

Less confusion in the latest BIM standards

Acronyms have been removed wherever possible. This is to reduce confusion, which is especially important for an international standard. Different countries and sectors were using the same acronyms for different purposes. In a previous post about the Level of Detail we explained more about this.

Level of Information Need replaces the previous LOD/LOI/LOMD. As explained above, in order to minimise confusion and to find a standardised terminology, the acronyms LOD (Level Of Detail), LOI (Level Of Information) and LOMD (Level Of Model Development) have been removed. In the latest BIM standard, we can only find Level of Information Need (note it does not allow the use of LOIN or LIN to refer to this term). This Level of Information Need gives equal importance to alphanumeric and geometric information.

Say goodbye to BIM Level 2

BIM Stages now replace the previous BIM Levels. This means technically BIM Level 2 no longer exists. In fact, it is now BIM Stage 2. However, BIM implementation represents a challenge for many companies and professionals in the engineering and construction sectors. With many professionals still trying to get up to speed with PAS 1192, we will still hear ‘BIM Level 2’ for several years, until everybody is on board with the latest BIM standards.

There have been significant changes to the information management process. ISO 19650, in combination with PAS 1192-3, now sets out the specification for information management in the operational phase of assets. It puts more responsibility on the Appointing Party (previously the ‘Employer’).

There have also been important changes to the hierarchy of information requirements. Previously, in PAS 1192-2, the main document for information requirements was the Employer’s Information Requirements. Now, in ISO 19650, there have been several additions, with a greater emphasis on the Appointing Parties to plan better pre-tender. Firstly, they need an Organisational Information Requirements document. This generic document contributes to the development of Project Information Requirements, which are specific for each project. Additionally, Appointing Parties must have Asset Information Requirements. This document contributes to the Exchange Information Requirements, which is also project specific.

In summary, if you want to keep up to date with the latest BIM Standards, we recommend obtaining a copy of ISO 19650 to explore the above in more detail

And if you’ve already started using ISO 19650, what other key changes did you find? Let us know if you think we’ve missed anything of note in the comments below!


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