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ISO 19650-3: Operational phase of assets

ISO 19650-3 represents the key BIM standard for the operational phase of assets. Here’s all you need to know in a nutshell.

ISO 19650-3 arrives to expand the 19650 series

The full name of this standard is ‘ISO 19650-3:2020. Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling (BIM) — Information management using building information modelling — Part 3: Operational phase of the assets.’

It was published in July 2020, a year and a half after the publication of ISO 19650 Parts 1 and 2. Step by step, BIM standards are becoming international and consistent throughout the industry in all parts of the world. In June last year, the International Standard Organization also published ISO 19650 Part 5. This one covers the security-minded approach to information management. Both sets of documents, ISO 19650 Part 3 and Part 5, come from PAS 1192-3 and 5 respectively. As a consequence, both ISO standards have now replaced their PAS counterparts in the UK. Once again, this is in line with the international strategy to align all BIM practices in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries.

With Parts 1, 2, 3 and 5 of the ISO 19650 series now published, the International Standard Organization is currently developing Parts 4 and 6. After publishing them, they should complete the ISO 19650 series, at least for a few years. On the one hand, ISO 19650 Part 4 will focus on Information Exchange (and possibly COBie too). On the other hand, Part 6 will focus on Health and Safety, as PAS 1192-6 does. But they are only at 40% and 20% of the development stage according to ISO.

The purpose of ISO 19650 Part 3

Going back to ISO 19650-3, it is important to highlight that if you were already used to PAS 1192-3, you can rest assured that the key principles have been brought forward to its ISO counterpart. The objective of ISO 19650-3 is to set out the requirements for information management using BIM during the operational phase of an asset’s life. Therefore, Part 2 and Part 3 together close the asset lifecycle, combining the delivery phase with the operational phase.

ISO 19650 Part 3 applies when an asset is in use, or when it requires management even if it is not in use. As a consequence, the primary users of this standard will be asset managers and facility managers and their respective teams and contractors. In addition, the standard will also be helpful to those delivering capital projects to design and build new assets. This is because ISO 19650-3 will help them understand better why they are asked to produce operational information as part of their work.

Similarities between ISO 19650-2 and 3

There are many similarities between ISO 19650-2 and 3, as both cover a similar process, one for design and construction, and the other one for operation and maintenance.

Firstly, the terms and definitions in both documents are very similar. As we could expect, we can find references to ‘lead appointed party’ and ‘appointing party‘ in both sets of documents. We can also find references to BIM Execution Plan and Master Information Delivery Plan.

Another key similarity is that both standards use the same eight-step information management process. From step 1 being the high-level preparation by the appointing party, to steps 2 and 3 related to the selection of lead appointed parties, all the way through to step 8 being the project close-out.

There is also a clear similarity in the separation between asset/project level activities and appointment level activities. ISO 19650-2 and 3 set out activities that occur once per project or asset. These relate to steps 1 and 8 in the information management process.

Finally, there are many sub-sub-clauses that are very similar in both sets of standards. They of course replace the word project with asset and differentiate between project activities and asset management activities. But the purpose and meaning of those clauses are very similar. Users who are familiar with ISO 19650 Part 2 should be able to follow Part 3 without any problems.

Differences between ISO 19650 Part 3 and Part 2

But ISO 19650-3 also has a few differences when compared to ISO 19650-2. One of the principal ones is the presence of trigger events in ISO 19650-3, which are not present in Part 2. Trigger events are the occurrences during the life of an asset that require updating or producing information. Some trigger events are of a foreseeable nature. This is for example the case of regular maintenance or inspections. There are other trigger events, however, which are not foreseeable and therefore very difficult to plan for, such as the case of a lightning strike for example.

Another key difference between Part 3 and 2 of the standard is that ISO 19650-3 includes different pathways in the information management process. The reason behind this is that different trigger events require different pathways. For example, the process for an asset will be different if there is a particular type of information acquisition. A planned trigger event will require a different pathway, and a different one yet for an unplanned trigger event.

Long-term vision introduced in ISO 19650-3

ISO 19650 Part 3 also has a long-term focus that we do not find in ISO 19650 Part 2. This is mostly because ISO 19650-2 focuses on a project cycle, which has a defined start and end. During the operational phase of an asset, however, there will generally be multiple cycles of the information management process. This is because each trigger event will have its own process. As a result, the asset information model generated as output during one trigger event is likely to be used as input for the technical team that will be dealing with another cycle of the information management process triggered by a later event.

A final key difference: EIR at appointing level

Finally, the last difference is that ISO 19650-3 introduces Exchange Information Requirements (EIR) at the appointment level. Initially, ISO 19650-1 established a hierarchy that started at Organisational Information Requirements (OIR) and Project Information Requirements (PIR). From there, the EIR and the Asset Information Requirements (AIR) were derived. However, ISO 19650-3 introduced EIR at the appointment level during the operational phase. Therefore, in ISO 19650-3 AIR, which are established at an asset level, are more generic than EIR, which are established per appointment for each trigger event.

In summary, ISO 19650-3 is similar in many ways to ISO 19650-2, but with a focus on the operational phase of an asset rather than the delivery phase. That said, there are also a few important differences. It is crucial that asset owners and the rest of the industry start implementing ISO 19650 Part 3. This would represent a key step to materialising the real benefits of BIM, which are mostly derived during the operational phase of assets.

Have you familiarised yourself with ISO 19650-3 yet? If so, let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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