COBie2 Tutorial

Construction Operations Building Information Exchange Version 2, known as COBie v2 or COBie2 is a developing standard for the exchange of data to support facility management by owners and operators. COBie development is being guided under the direction of the Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S Army Corps of Engineers.

This guide will walk the BIM data creator through a process of COBie deployment. It is in no means intended to be an all encompassing guide for the COBie specification. This guide does not address aspects of COBie that do not directly relate to the BIM model. Readers are encouraged to review the more comprehensive COBie guide found on the Whole Building Design Guide.

Introduction to COBie2

Although COBie2 data may be output into many different formats the most common are simple, structured, spreadsheets. Spreadsheets have been chosen as a interim step until more automated abilities are developed by software vendors. Most projects will rely on these spreadsheets to exchange COBie2 data.

COBie College

Bill East of the Engineer Research and Development Center has created a series of videos on COBie. It is highly recommended that those new to COBie watch the videos prior to COBie deployment on a project.

Revit Implementation of COBie2

GSA has implemented COBie2 into a series of Autodesk Revit templates. COBie2 parameters were added to the templates using the guide published by Autodesk. Projects which were not started with GSA's BIM templates can add the COBie2 parameters to their existing model by following the guide.

Simply adding COBie2 to your Revit BIM will not bring your model into compliance with GSA Standards. Projects should always be started using the GSA supplied Revit templates. Projects not using these templates must still meet all requirements outlined in the standards.

Revit is able to accommodate a large amount of COBie2 data but not all of it. Much of the needed FM data does not lend itself to being added to a BIM. This is especially true in the early design stages when large amounts of FM information is still unknown.

The project's BIM execution plan should detail the roles of the various team members in the process, including the owner, as well as outline the information that reasonably can be developed and accumulated for the project at hand. COBie2 is a general framework for data exchange or delivery. Each project must tailor its goals for the resources and requirements of the project, and for the continuing lifecycle needs and capabilities of the owner/operator.

Enabling COBie2 data within Revit

If you are beginning a new project that does not have any existing BIM data, all you need to do is use the GSA Standard Revit Template for your discipline. If your project involves bringing existing data forward, the process is slightly more complex.

Adding COBie2 parameters to existing Revit Models

Diagram of how to copy COBie2 schedules into an existing OMNIClass schedule

Step 1: Obtaining and opening the files

Step 2: Copy the COBie2 schedules into the existing model

  • In the blank template navigate to Schedules/Quantities.
  • Select the 8 COBie2 schedules and the single OMNIClass schedule.
  • Right-click on the selection and select Copy to Clipboard
  • Set your existing Revit model (“target” model) to be the active workspace, and on the Revit Modify tab, select Paste > Paste from Clipboard&
    • You may get a “Duplicate Types” message alerting you to the fact that certain data is being duplicated when copying in the template data. Take note of the renaming that Revit has executed, and click OK to proceed.
  • Close the empty template file.
Systems and Zones Schedules diagram

Step 3: Systems and Zones Schedules

Whereas the COBie2 worksheets for component, space, and type, easily correlate to Revit entities (objects, space/room objects, and family types), systems and zones do not have specific Revit definitions. The project team will need to define the scope of information to be defined and included in these schedule views if they are to be included in the COBie2 deliverable.

  • In your existing model, go to Insert > Load Family
  • Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\COBieV2_30UtilitiesforRevit2012x64\Family and load COBie2_30System.rfa and COBie2_30Zone.rfa into your project.
  • If your project doesn't have a site plan view, create one. (In brief, to do so: duplicate the first or ground floor plan and rename it “Site”. Open the Site view, adjust the view range, and adjust visibility settings).
  • On the site plan view, add the COBie2-System and COBie2-Zone objects in an out-of-the-way place. These objects are a means to provide data fields for those two COBie2 worksheets. By default, Revit does not organize model data that directly correlates to these two categories. Placing these site objects is a workaround to accumulate system and zone data in the Revit model.
  • Run the Update COBIE2 Parameters 2012 external tool from the Revit Add-Ins menu to set up your COBie2 project defaults

Once completing the steps you will have succesfully added COBie2 attributes to your Revit model.

Controlling Schedules

Within the templates you will find a number of schedules related to COBie2. What is displayed in the schedules is handled through the "ComponentsToSchedule" schedule.

From the Autodesk Guide:

"This schedule view is included in the Revit COBie2 template to provide users with a means to select the components to include in COBie2 schedule views. The 3rd column in the schedule (Figure 10) contains a check box. Clicking the check box ON will specify component types to include in COBie2-Type schedules. By default, the box will appear grayed out (and checked), and the component will not be included in the Type schedule. Run this macro as new objects are added to the model that need to be included in the COBie2 components schedule."

Components to Schedule view

Parameters

The COBie2 Parameters are assigned through the model at various levels and groups. These have been arranged to best facilitate data normalization. For example, COBieWarrantyDescription is a type level parameter while the COBieWarrantyStartDate is an instance level parameter. These should be maintained as-is.

Example of how to assign parameters in COBie2

Populating COBie2 Data in a Revit Model

All COBie2 fields within the Revit model are scheduled. The data creator has the option of either inputting this data directly into the Revit object or adding it to the supplied schedules.

Schedule Example

Example of a Schedule in COBie2

Object Example

Example of an object in COBie2

The System and Zone Families

COBie2_30System Family

Visual rendering of a 30System menu in Revit

In the setup of your COBie2 based Revit model you added two special Site families to the model, COBie2-System and COBie2-Zone. These families act as a simple storage location for System and Zone data. The user should place one of these families in the Site view for each System or Zone they wish to schedule.

Working with the Schedules

There are many schedules provided with the COBie2 enabled templates. These will be the primary means of exchanging data with the Facility Operators. These schedules are based around the COBie2 standards with a few exceptions to accommodate doors and windows.

Name Description
COBie2-Component Master schedule of components. Components are derived from object instances within Revit. What is and is not shown on this schedule is driven by the COBie2-ComponentsToSchedule.
COBie2-Component-(Door/Window) Special component schedules to address the objects spanning multiple rooms and spaces.
COBie2-ComponentsToSchedule Controls what components will appear on the other component schedules.
COBie2-Space Basic Space schedule adopted for the COBie2 standard.
COBie2-System Schedules all the COBie2-System object instances that have been added to the site plan.
COBie2-Type Schedules the Family Type level properties in the COBie2 format.
COBie2-Zone Schedules all the COBie2-Zone object instances that have been added to the site plan.

Exporting the Schedule Data

Visual diagram of how to export files in Revit

Since there is no direct Revit to COBie2 functionality, the path to getting the Revit data into COBie2 is by exporting your schedules. In this process you will be exporting the schedules to a TAB delimited text file. This text file can then be imported into the COBie2 Excel file.

Step 1: Exporting the files

  • With any of the schedule views active, select the command sequence:
    • Revit > Export > Reports > Schedule
  • Type in a filename and select the location for the delimited text (.txt) file you are creating, and click on Save.
  • On the Export Schedule dialog that is displayed next (Figure 16), select the default export choices and press OK.
  • Repeat the process for each of the schedules you wish to export. Make sure your settings match what is shown in the sample screen shot.
Visual diagram of how to import data from Revit into Microsoft Excel

Step 2: Importing Data into Microsoft Model

  • In an MS Excel worksession, load the COBie2-formatted worksheet created during the installation process (COBie2_30_Candidate1_Template.xls), or one that has been created from this template for your specific project, if that exists.
  • Select the tab in the Excel file to access the schedule/worksheet you are going to import.
  • Open the text file you just exported from Revit in a text editor, such as Notepad.
  • Highlight the data lines (not the headers) for each record you wish to import and copy to the clipboard (press Ctrl C).
  • In the Excel worksheet, place the cursor on the first cell of the first line that you want to place your imported data.
  • Paste the data into the Excel worksheet (press Ctrl V) and save the file under a project specific name (to differentiate it from the Excel template file).

More information on the Autodesk COBie2 Toolkit

The majority of this guide is a modified version of the Autodesk supplied COBie2 Toolkit. It is highly suggested that teams review the original content of the Toolkit as it contains information on more advanced topics.

Systems and Zones Schedules diagram
Example of a Schedule in COBie2
Example of an object in COBie2
Visual rendering of a 30System menu in Revit
Visual diagram of how to export files in Revit
Visual diagram of how to import data from Revit into Microsoft Excel
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