The adoption of the ISO 19650 series will be widespread as asset owners and construction clients around the world seek to reduce risk, increase predictability and achieve better business outcomes from digital information. Paul Shillcock, co-author of PAS 1192-2, discusses the development of the new standards and the benefits they offer
Unless you’ve been living in a cave the past few months, you will have heard that the ISO 19650 series has finally arrived. This means there is now an internationally agreed set of standards that define the business processes for the effective management and collaborative production of information when using Building Information Modelling (BIM).
The aim of the ISO 19650 series
The ISO 19650 series has been developed by an international working group with the aim of enabling teams to minimise wasteful activities and increase predictability around cost and time. Designed to be achieved through a common and collaborative approach to the management of information.
The publication of these standards has created a level playing field for the providers of information to work collaboratively and find innovate solutions to ensuring the right people get the right information, at the right time – setting themselves apart from the competition.
Impact and benefits
Now that the standards have been published, there will be a need for both the providers and receivers of information adopting the standards to transform the way in which they produce, exchange and use digital information, while aligning their business process to the latest industry standards and best practice.
The benefit of the ISO 19650 series is that there is now a common approach that can be adopted. This is especially beneficial at a time when we are increasingly seeing delivery teams formed of organisations from different countries, with different cultures and differing ways of working, coming together on projects.
There are also big benefits for large multinational organisations, who for many years have struggled to accommodate the differing requirements from their customers, partners and suppliers. The ISO 19650 series provides a unified approach that each region, country and office within an organisation can adopt.
The development process
The ISO 19650 series is based upon the UK 1192 series. The first 1192 standard to be “internationalised” are BS 1192, covering the collaborative production of information, and PAS 1192 parts two and three, which cover the management of information during the delivery and operational phase of assets respectively.
As lead authors, the first step for David Churcher and I was to extract the text from the three base documents and remove all the UK-isms, such as the UK government strategy, BIM Level 2, and UK-specific references.
We then took the concepts and principles from all three documents to form the initial draft of ISO 19650-1. For BS 1192, this related to the concept of principles behind the collaborative production of information and the common data environment. For PAS119-2 and PAS1192-3, it was the concepts and principles around the effective management of information. At this stage it was important to include PAS1192-3, so we could have the concepts and principles throughout the entire life of the asset.
Next, we focused on the main clauses relating to the activities and tasks within the information management process for the delivery phase of assets from both BS 1192 and PAS 1192-2. Combining the two documents made a lot of sense as they are very closely related. This became the initial draft of ISO 19650-2.
However, during the process of developing ISO 19650-2, it became apparent that there were some things that we were just not going to be able to get international consensus on, particularly when it came to standardised conventions and codification. So we came up with the idea of including regional-specific requirements within an national annex.
The idea being that ISO 19650-2 defines the requirements and the national annexes define the standards that must be used to meet the requirements in a particular region. This enables the requirements within ISO 19650-2 to be met, but in a way that allows flexibility for each region to use local standards that are already in place.
For the UK, this meant that the remaining clauses from BS 1192 and PAS 1192-2 were included within the UK National Annex (which can be found at the back of BS EN ISO 19650-2).
What does this mean for organisations and projects already using the UK 1192 series? In January, the ISO 19650 series was published by the British Standards Institution as BS EN ISO 19650, parts 1 and 2. This also means that BS 1192 and PAS 1192-2 have now been withdrawn. This is because there cannot be two competing standards at a national level.
Projects already using BS 1192 and PAS 1192-2 should continue to do so. However, new projects now have the choice to adopt the BS EN ISO 19650 series or continue to use BS 1192 and PAS 1192-2 if there is a justifiable reason to do so.
Publicly funded projects should note, however, that CEN, the European standards body, has published the ISO 19650 series as a set of European standards (EN ISO 19650). This means that they will become the preferred method of procuring publicly funded projects across Europe.
Help and support
I personally believe that the adoption of UK 1192 series in the UK was hampered due to the lack of clear guidance. As a result, we ended up with a scattergun approach to guidance that was based upon different interpretations of the standards, which was invariably misinterpreted, contradictory or simply wrong.
Therefore, it is vital that organisations and teams get the help and support needed to transition from the UK 1192 series and to navigate their way around the new documents. This led to the publication of PD 19560-0, which contains transitional guidance for those familiar with the UK 1192 series, including the mapping of terminology and key amendments.
Moving forward, the three leading bodies in this space, the British Standards Institution (BSI), UK BIM Alliance and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB), have agreed to collaborate to create a single guidance framework for the adoption and implementation of the ISO 19650 series.
This guidance framework is due to be available in the next few months, but it will be an ongoing process that will rely on everybody getting involved to share their experience with others. So I would encourage everybody to get involved in supporting this initiative, which I’m sure will become a valuable resource for everybody and at all levels.