The management of project information, goes well beyond using 3D CAD models or BIM, and involves all project participants who produce/manage any project related information (whether working in BIM or not). The Common Data Environments (CDE) as a shared/central project data repository for ALL project information (graphical, non-graphical, documents) – so it applies whether you are working on a BIM Project or not, and it applies to all participants.
The CDE (Common Data Environment) is a “Specification for Information Management”, which requires everyone to integrate and engage with the process, and a key part of this process is the a shared data repository, which contains far more than the 3D CAD. It contains:
- Graphical Data (models, drawings, IFC, etc)
- Non-graphical Data (schedules, databases, COBie, etc)
- Documents (contracts, minutes, RFI’s, brief, specifications, reports, BOQ, inspection plans, commissioning certificates, product data sheets, user manuals etc, etc)
Collectively this information is called the Project Information Model (PIM) during design/construction phase, and once handed over, the Asset Information Model (AIM) for operations phase (the word “model” in these terms should not to be confused with only the 3D model – it is ALL information as described above).
The CDE is the “single source of truth”, when it comes to ALL building information on the project (whether it is BIM or other). It should be the only place that participants put information, and the only place people go to look for information (the purpose is to have the latest information centralized in one place). You should never have to email documents, you should simply notify people that the CDE has been updated (or if you like, provide a link to the documents in the CDE).
A Common Data Environment (CDE) requires every document/file to have the following bits of information (usually depicted as a 2-letter, or 2-number code in the file name, pre-agreed by the project team, and recorded in their BIM Execution Plan, or specified in the Project BIM Brief:
- Project (code for the project name)
- Originator (the company rather than individual – selected from a list of companies involved in the project)
- Zone (could be units, or departments, etc – selected from a list of pre-defined zones. 00 if all Zones)
- Level (which floor it relates to – selected from a lisy of pre-defined levels. ZZ if all Levels)
- Document Type (selected from a pre-defined list of document types – see below)
- Role / Purpose (from a pre-defined list of disciplines – see below)
- File Number (usually sequential number for that document type)
- Status (from pre-defined list – see below)
- Revision (sequential number with “P” pre-fix while preliminary, sequential number with “C” pre-fix once authorized for construction)
Maintaining consistent file naming and structure is critical for referenced (linked) files to function properly across Design Teams and for end users (such as facilities managers) to retrieve files quickly once the project is complete.
For this reason, the Design and Construction Teams define a file protocol for the team during the development of the BIM Execution Plan (BEP.)
- Model Files
– Original files from other disciplines are linked from their discipline folder location and relative path to models. Model file names follow file naming convention outlined in the BEP.
- Sheet Files
– PDF and native file formats of the most current sheets are maintained in this folder and organised with sheet file naming outlined in the CAD/Drawing Standards.
- BIM Folders
– BIM Files are sorted by model files and sheet files.
- Support Files
– Standard items needed for the project, such as a project specific symbols, applications (lisp, script, etc.) logos and graphics. Project-specific model content can also be placed here.
- Coordination Files
– Files for construction coordination (clash detection) are managed by the BIM Manager, and organised by date as the project progresses.
- Other Folders
– Renderings, analyses, environmental rating schemes (eg. Green Star) etc. will have their own folders.