Why are standards in the construction industry important? Well, by establishing common standards, greater reliability and consistency can be achieved. From a technology and data perspective these advantages are key, ensuring that the right information is readily available, stored securely and accurately classified. With standards playing an important role in creating a safe built environment, Edocuments data management team takes us through the top standards when it comes to information management.
In terms of the work that Edocuments does, the top standard is undoubtedly ISO 19650 parts 1-5. Formerly BS 1192 – although the current UK 1192 standards are similar and still in use – ISO 19650 is an international standard for managing information across the lifecycle of a built asset. This standard outlines the concepts and principles with recommendations on how to manage building information (BIM). Given its level of detail and applicability, we really look to this standard for our guidance. Edocuments currently holds two BS1192 kitemarks and is in the process of transferring to the IS19650 Kitemark.
Here at Edocuments, we get a lot of our influence from this suite, mainly because ISO 19650 has well-defined processes, rules and best practices around all construction processes, even though our offering is quite niche!
Using ISO 19650 as a framework, we try to pull the standard apart and replicate the workflows and processes to automate them as best we can. We also put a practical spin on them as some of those processes are a recommendation and they don’t necessarily work brilliantly with all our customers and the way they are set up. At Edocuments we follow the standards yet adapt them accordingly, to meet the needs of our customers.
Almost always, we have to make the standards a little more flexible to facilitate the big transitions of information between designers, contractors and our clients. For example, on change of a RIBA stage from Design to Construction, we typically need to sync or move data between various data sources such as multiple CDE’s.
It is why we utilise COBie, a structured output, that enables us to transfer data across the stages of a project. Having a COBie structure enables information to go from designer to contractor and then client, and subsequently facilities managers to help with building operation.
At Edocuments we can go one step further, extending and embellishing this with a lot of extra metadata to make it really personalised and perfect for customers. So, if they need very specific fields and attributes or extra maintenance information, for instance, we can accommodate that to give them what they need.
With information becoming an important commodity on construction projects, its security is key. Data security is a big priority given the sensitivity, granularity and amount of data that’s used across projects, not to mention the fact that data breaches in construction increased 800% from 2019 to 2020 (according to a 2021 Data Breach Outlook Study by Kroll, a risk consulting firm).
Unsecure data can fall victim to cybercriminals and can run the risk of being lost. Adopting the standard ISO 27001 is therefore key to assuring data security.
Edocuments has year after year maintained this standard, which is a real badge of honour showing that we take information security seriously.
Classifications sit alongside standards to ensure information is defined correctly. Uniclass 2015 is one such example, and it is a popular way to define information. At Edocuments from time to time we also see RICS-NRM, and VBIS used, plus a few customer specific classification sets.
Adopting a classification system such as Uniclass provides a standardised language for the built assets that improves data management. Facilities managers or owners will find it easier to find the information, when for example, maintenance or repair works are undertaken.
The level of information (LOI) will have been set by clients in their asset information requirements (AIR). For instance, it may be necessary to have 10 plus pieces of information (data attributes) for a heat-pump but only five for a carpet tile. Utilising our experience and expertise, Edocuments work with their clients to automatically validate the data they need to trust and rely on to manage their assets.
Standards are vital in the construction industry. They ensure quality and consistency, which translate into other benefits such as less risk and greater productivity. Standards are key in this age of technology and information, where data must not only be secure but accurate too.