BIM Technical Standards: Naming

BIM File Naming

There are two distinct ways in which BIM design software platforms manage files: the traditional method where only one sheet, floor or model will exist per file, and the newer generation of software which can contain a complete project within one file. In this document, the multi-file platforms are referred to as drawing-based file platforms while the other is referred to as project-based file platforms.

Design Software File Management Type
AutoCAD (including Architecture, MEP and all other verticals) Drawing-based file platform
MicroStation (including Architecture, Building and all other verticals) Drawing-based file platform
Revit (all versions) Project-based file platform
Archicad (all versions) Project-based file platform


Graphic displaying the proper method of naming project-based files
  • Drawing-based file platforms will use the most current PBS CAD standard [PDF - 100 KB] (PDF - 100.30 KB) for all file naming. This document makes no changes to the existing standards for drawing-based file platforms.
  • Project-based file platforms will use a four part file name consisting of:
    • The GSA assigned building ID or site ID
    • 1 character major discipline / trade designator (from the PBS [PDF - 100 KB] - )
    • 1 character minor discipline / trade designator (from the PBS [PDF - 100 KB] - )
    • 5 characters to define contained floors
    • 1 character type designator M/S/C (model, sheets, combined)


Example 1

Graphic displaying the proper method of naming project-based files

Example of several Revit models in the standard folder structure

File Name: 00000000_AI_B4-50_C.rvt
Most projects will be Combined files or C files. These have both the BIM and supporting sheets in a single file.

  • Architectural Interior file;
  • Combined sheets and model file
  • Contains floors basement 4 (B4) through 50

Example 2

File Name: 00000000_EP_01-10_M.rvt
Some very large projects will need to have their model and sheets split into separate files to manage computer hardware requirements.

  • Electrical Power file
  • Model file only (no sheets)
  • Contains floors 01 through 10

Example 3

File Name: 00000000_A_B1-03_C.rvt
On smaller projects, a one letter discipline code may be used.

  • Architectural file (all Architectural elements in a single file)
  • Combined sheets and model file
  • Contains floors basement 1 (B1) through 3

Files must be named correctly, and be properly stored within the approved folder structure. See Data Submittal Standards and the Folder Structure Template for additional information on the approved folder structure.

NCS Compliant Discipline Codes

Abr. Name Description
G - General
GI General Information Cover sheet, list of sheets and symbols, code summary, orientation maps
GC General Contractual Phasing, schedules, staging areas, haul routes
GI General Resource Photographs, soil borings
H - Hazardous Materials
HA Asbestos Asbestos abatement, identification or containment
HC Chemicals Toxic chemicals handling, removal or storage
HL Lead Lead piping or paint removal
HP PCB PCB containing and removal
HR Refrigerant Ozone depleting refrigerants
V - Survey
VA Aerial Survey Aerial surveyed points and features
VF Field Survey Field surveyed points and features
VI Digital Survey Digitized points and features
VU Combined Utilities -
B - Geotechnical
C - Civil
CD Civil Demolition Structure removal and site clearing
CS Civil Survey (Site) Plats, topographic, dimension control
CE Civil Erosion Erosion and sedimentation control plans
CL Civil Layout Dimensions and coordinates for aboveground site features
CP Civil Grading and Paving Excavation, grading, roads and parking lots
CU Civil Utilities Water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, power, and communications
L - Landscape
LD Landscape Demolition Protection and removal of existing landscaping
LI Landscape Irrigation Mainlines, valves, controller, pumps, etc.
LL Landscape Lighting -
S - Structural
SG Structural Grid Column grid lines and bubbles (MODEL FILE ONLY)
SD Structural Demolition Protection and removal
SB Structural Substructure Foundations, piers, slabs
SF Structural Framing Columns, trusses, joists, beams
A - Architectural
AD Architectural Demolition Protection and removal
AE Architectural Elements Columns, trusses, joists, beams
AC Architectural Ceiling General architectural
AF Architectural Finishes -
AG Architectural Graphics Signage
AI Architectural Interiors -
AS Architectural Site -
I - Interiors
ID Interior Demolition Protection and removal
IF Interior Furnishings All furniture
IG Interior Graphics Murals and visuals
IN Interior Design -
Q - Equipment
QA Athletic Equipment Gymnasium, exercise, aquatic and recreational
QB Bank Equipment Vaults, teller units, ATM, drive-thru
QD Detention Equipment Prisons and Jails
QE Educational Equipment Chalkboards, library
QF Food Service Equipment Kitchen, bar, service, storage and processing
QH Medical Equipment Medical, exam and treatment
QL Laboratory Equipment Science labs, hoods, benches
F - Fire Protection
FA Fire Detection and Alarm Devices and circuiting (Electrical)
FX Fire Suppression Fire extinguishing system and equipment (Mechanical)
P - Plumbing
PD Plumbing Demolition Protection, termination and removal added
PL Plumbing Fixtures Domestic water, sanitary and storm drainage fixtures
PP Plumbing Piping Domestic water, sanitary and storm drainage pipe, fixtures and equipment(unless split to separate files)
PQ Plumbing Equipment Pumps and Tanks
D - Process
DD Process Demolition Protection and removal
DE Process Electrical Electrical components and wiring
DI Process Instrumentation -
DQ Process Equipment -
DP Process Piping -
DX Process Exhaust Mist collection, dust collection, exhaust stacks
M - Mechanical
MD Mechanical Demolition Protection, termination and removal
MH Mechanical HVAC Ductwork, air devices and equipment
MP Mechanical Piping Piping
MI Mechanical Instrum. Instrumentation and controls
E - Electrical
ES Electrical Site -
ED Electrical Demolition Protection, termination and removal
EG Electrical Grounding Grounding and Lightning Protection
EI Electrical Instrumentation Controls, relays, instrumentation and measurement devices
EL Electrical Lighting -
EP Electrical Power -
T - Telecommunications
TG Telecommunications General Telephone, network, voice, data, alarm, nurse call, security, CCTV, PA, clock
TA Audio Visual -
TC Clock and program -
TI Public address system -
TJ Wireless networks -
TM Monitoring -
TN Data networks -
TT Telephone -
TY Security -
R - Resource / For Reference Only
RC Resource Civil -
RS Resource Structural -
RA Resource Architectural -
RM Resource Mechanical -
RE Resource Electrical -
Z - Contractor / Shop Drawings

3D Image Naming

3D Imaging data is considered any non-model based 3D data. On most projects, this data will come from 3D laser scanning. See the 3D Imaging standard for additional information on the capture and use of 3D image data on GSA projects.

Given the diverse nature of 3D Imaging software, a traditional naming standard cannot be developed. The producer of the 3D imaging data is highly encouraged to engage the GSA BIM Manager in a discussion of how to apply the naming standard to the specific software being used to process the scans.


  • A naming convention will be established as part of the BEP.
    • The established naming convention will be followed by all project participants.
  • The naming convention will be hierarchical based on established divisions of the site. For example; interior building data should be named "Area ## - Room #### - ##" where the last two digits are sequential numbers to support multiple scans of the same room.
    • The hierarchical divisions are to be: Building > Floor > Area > Room
  • Hierarchical divisions are not to be repeated. For example, if the building or site name is contained in the folder name of the data's location, it should not be repeated in the name of a single scan.
  • Naming will be consistent across the project, even when multiple capture firms are present.
  • If previous data for the same site exists and conforms to the standard, the naming convention established by that data is to be followed for all new data.
  • All naming within the point cloud data is to follow the General Naming Guidelines.
  • The use of non-standard names for the purposes of logically organizing the data is allowed.
    • Non-standard names must meet the general naming requirements.
    • Non-standard names may only be used when standard names, such as floor or area, do not describe the contents of the folder or file.

Note: Files must named correctly, and be properly stored within the approved folder structure. See Data Submittal Standards and the Folder Structure Template for additional information on the approved folder structure.


Scans in authoring application TruView data in standard folder structure

Graphic of example of proper file structure in Cyclone

Graphic of example of proper file structure in TruView

Data in the authoring application. In this example, Leica Cyclone is being used to process the scan data. Notice that the database is named using the building number. The individual scans are grouped under a scan folder for the purpose of data organization. The scans are further separated by floor and then named by room.
The model spaces are grouped by floor then area, Floor 0x - Area 0x.
Leica TruView data in the file system. Note that the standard folder structure is being used putting this data in the folder ../0000000/Scanning/TruViews/. Since the building number is in the root folder, it is not needed in the individual file or folder names.

Standard Equipment Abbreviations

GSA has standardized an abbreviation for common mechanical and electrical equipment. When the use of abbreviations is prudent, these standard abbreviations should be used.


When using abbreviations for electrical and mechanical equipment, the following abbreviations are to be used:

Aerator AER
Air Blower ABL
Air Compressor CMP
Air Compressor, Recip CMP
Air Conditioner Package ACU
Air Conditioner, Window ACW
Air Curtain ACT
Air Dryer ADR
Air Handling Unit, 25 ton thru 50 ton AHU-02
Air Handling Unit, 3 ton thru 24 ton AHU-01
Air Handling Unit, Computer Room AHU-04
Air Handling Unit, over 50 ton AHU-03
Backflow Prevention Device BFP
Boiler, Electric BLR-E
Boiler, Hot Water, Oil/Gas/Comb, 120 to 500 MBH BLR-HW2
Boiler, Hot Water, Oil/Gas/Comb, 500 to 1000 MBH BLR-HW3
Boiler, Hot Water, Oil/Gas/Comb, over 1000 MBH BLR-HW4
Boiler, Hot Water, Oil/Gas/Comb, up to 120 MBH BLR-HW1
Boiler, Steam, Natural Gas BLR-ST2
Boiler, Steam, Oil/Gas/Comb BLR-ST2
Boiler, Steam, Oil/Gas/Comb, 500 to 1000 MBH BLR-ST3
Boiler, Steam, Oil/Gas/Comb, over 1000 MBH BLR-ST4
Boiler, Steam, Oil/Gas/Comb, up to 120 MBH BLR-ST1
Building Automation System, DDC BAS-01
Building Automation System, Pnuematic BAS-02
Building Automation System, Terminal End Devices BAS-03
Cabinet Heater CHT
Carbon-Monoxide Detection Sensors CMD
Chiller, Absorption unit, 500 to 5000 tons CHL-A2
Chiller, Absorption unit, up to 500 tons CHL-A1
Chiller, Centrifugal, water cooled, over 100 tons CHL-CW2
Chiller, Centrifugal, water cooled, up to 100 tons CHL-CW1
Chiller, Recip, Air Cooled, over 25 tons CHL-RA2
Chiller, Recip, Air Cooled, up to 25 tons CHL-RA1
Chiller, Recip, Water Cooled, over 50 tons CHL-W2
Chiller, Recip, Water Cooled, up to 50 tons CHL-W1
Chiller, Screw, Water Cooled CHL-S1
Chiller, Screw, Water Cooled CHL-S2
Clean-Agent Fire-Extinguishing Systems FSP-04
Computer Room A.C.1 (CRAC Unit) CRAC
Condenser, Air-Cooled ACC
Condenser, Water-Cooled WCC
Cooling Tower CTR
Davits/Roof Anchors/Fall Protection DAV
Deaerator Tank DEA
Dish/Tray Busing Conveyor DSH-3
Dishwasher - Elect DSH-1
Dishwasher - Steam DSH-2
Drinking Fountain, Packaged EWC
Dry-Pipe Sprinkler Systems FSP-02
Duplex Sewage Ejector DSE
Electric Traction Elevator ELV-2
Emergency Diesel Generator EMG-01
Emergency Lighting ELT
Emergency Natural Gas Generator EMG-02
Escalator ESC
Evaporative Cooler EVP
Exit Signs EXS
Expansion Tank EXT
Exterior Doors DOR
Exterior Walls WAL
Exterior Windows WIN
Fan Coil Unit FCU
Fan, Axial FAN-01
Fan, Centrifugal FAN-02
Fan, Make-up FAN-03
Fan, Utility Set FAN-04
Fences and Gates FNG
Filter, OR FLT-1
Filter, Sand FLT-2
Filter, Water FLT-3
Fire and Smoke Dampers FSD
Fire Detection and Alarm System ALM
Fire Door - Sliding & Rolling FDR-02
Fire Door - Swinging FDR-01
Fire Extinguishers FEX
Fire Hose / Hose Connections HSE
Fire Hydrant HYD
Fire Pump, Diesel FPM-02
Fire Pump, Electric-Drive FPM-01
Fryer, Pressurized Broaster, Gas/Electric DFF
Fuel-Gas Detection Sensors GDS
Furnace, Forced Air, Natural Gas FAF
Garbage Disposal GBG
Glycol Feed System GFS
Grease Trap GTP
Grill GRL
Heat Exchanger, Flat Plate HXR-01
Heat Exchanger, Tube (Shell and Tube) HXR-02
Heat Pump, Air Cooled HTP-1
Heat Pump, Water Cooled HTP-2
Heater, Baseboard BSB
Heating & Ventilating Units HVU
Heating/Cooling Unit HCU
Humidifier, Evaporative Pan w/ Heating Coil HUM
Humidifier, Steam SHS
Hydraulic Elevator ELV-1
Ice Machine ICE
Irrigation Pump PMP
Kettle, Steam KTL
Metering Devices MTR
Mixer, Electric MIX
Motor MOT
Motor Control Center MCC
Motor, Fan MOT-01
Motor, Pump MOT-02
Oven, Convection, Gas or Elect OVN-1
Oven, Rotary, Elect OVN-2
Oven, Rotary, Gas OVN-3
Package Unit, Air Cooled RTU
Package Unit, Water Cooled RTU
Panelboard, Lighting & Appliance PNB
Panelboard, Power Distribution EPB
Parking Arm Gates PAG
Parking Lots (Paving) LOT
Powered Doors PDR
Preaction Sprinkler Systems FSP-03
Pump PMP
Pump, Centrifugal PMP-01
Pump, Chemical Feed PMP
Pump, Chilled Water PMP-02
Pump, Circulating PMP
Pump, Circulating, Hot Water PMP
Pump, Condensate PMP-03
Pump, Condensate Return PMP-04
Pump, Condensate Return, Duplex PMP-05
Pump, Condenser PMP-06
Pump, Fuel Oil PMP-07
Pump, In-line PMP-08
Pump, Re-Circulation PMP-09
Pump, Vacuum, Duplex PMP
Pump, Water, Boiler Feed PMP-10
Radiator, Finned Tube RAD-01
Radiator, Steam RAD-02
Range, Gas RNG
Refrigeration Machine RFR
Refrigerator unit/display case w/external condenser FRG
Refrigerator/Freezer, walk-in box w/external condenser FRZ
Roof System and Drains RFS
Smoke Detection Sensors SDS
Snow Melt System SMS
Space Heater UHT-01
Steam Station STS
Steam Trap STR
Sump Pump SMP
Switch, Automatic Transfer ATS
Switch, Disconnect DCT
Switchboard, Electrical SWB
Tank, Fuel TNK-01
Tank, Hot Water TNK-02
Tank, Oil Storage TNK-03
Tank, Water TNK-04
Terminal Unit TMU
Transformer, Dry DTT
Transformer, Oil-Filled TRN
Undergraound Storage Tank (UST) UST
Unit Heater UHT-02
Unit Heater, Cabinet UHT-03
UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) UPS
Vacuum Pump VCP
Valves VLV
Variable Frequency Drive VFD
VAV (Variable Air Volume Boxes) VAV
Voltage Regulator VLT
Water Heater, Electric WHT-01
Water Heater, Natural Gas WHT-02
Water Softener WSF
Water Treatment (Chemical) WTM
Wet-Pipe Sprinkler Systems FSP-01
Wheelchair Lift WLF

General Naming

Within any of the major BIM platforms, there is a need for clear and concise naming for many different kinds of data. Whether it is Revit worksets or Bentley parts and families, the ability to effectively work with the BIM is intrinsically tied to the effectiveness of given names. The guidelines listed below will apply to any objects present in the dataset at the time of delivery to the GSA. Temporary or working data that will be purged from the file prior to submittal is excluded.


  • Naming schemes should be consistent throughout the project data.
  • Names should be in plain text. No abstractions such as Uniclass or Omniclass numbers.
  • Names of people should not be used in naming any object. For example “John’s Workset” is not acceptable.
  • Non-English language should not be used with the exception of non-English manufacturer names.
  • Abbreviations should be kept to a minimum and if used, they should be consistent throughout the project.
  • Standard title case should be used for all names.
  • Imperial units in names should appear as a’ – b c/d” x a’ – b c/d”. In most cases, sizes should be in inches i.e. aa” x bb”.
  • Sequential numbering should not be used. For example, Exterior 01, Exterior 02, etc. These numbers should be replaced by descriptive text, highlighting the difference between the objects being named. The exception to this is the use of sequential numbering as a means of forcing a particular sort order.
Last Reviewed: 2019-02-26