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Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) is an international standard relating to managed asset information including space and equipment. It is closely associated with building information modeling (BIM) approaches to design, construction, and management of built assets.


boxes of construction handover documents stored in a boiler room.
Figure 1. Traditional construction handover documentation.

COBie helps organisations to electronically capture and record important project data at the point of origin, including equipment lists, product data sheets, warranties, spare parts lists, and preventive maintenance schedules. This information is essential to support operations, maintenance and asset management once the built asset is in service,[1] replacing reliance on uncoordinated, often paper-based, handover information typically created by people who did not participate in the project and delivered many months after the client has taken occupancy of the building (see figure 1).

COBie has been incorporated into software for planning, design, construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance, and asset management. COBie may take several approved formats include spreadsheet, STEP-Part 21 (also called IFC file format), and ifcXML. The current COBie test data of record was developed by an international team of designers and builders in the US and UK. This information is available under Creative Commons Licence.[2]


COBie was developed by Bill East, of the US Army Corps of Engineers, while at the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in 2007.[3] Following this introduction, East has led COBie development through buildingSMART International (BSI; formerly the International Alliance for Interoperability) processes.

From 2008-2015, the Construction Engineering Research Lab conducted a series of public events to demonstrate the ability of commercial software to produce and/or consume COBie data (in associated date-related version). In these events, software companies were often arranged at the front of a large conference room in order: planning, design, construction, maintenance management, and asset management. The COBie data flow (COBie is about building equipment only) was demonstrated. Over 90% of those participating delivered information in the COBie spreadsheet format. The other software exported spreadsheet format data from Coordination MVD STEP files so that others could use this data.

In 2009, COBie version 2.26 was published as the Basic FM Handover Model View Model Definition using the Industry Foundation Class Model 2x3.[4]

In December 2011, COBie 2.26 was approved and included by the US Chapter of buildingSMART International as part of its National Building Information Model (NBIMS-US) standard, version 2.[5]

In early 2013, buildingSMART was working on a lightweight XML format for COBie, COBieLite, which became available for review in April 2013.[6]

In September 2014, a code of practice regarding COBie was issued as a British Standard: "BS 1192-4:2014 Collaborative production of information Part 4: Fulfilling employer’s information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice".[7] This requirement is a one line reference to the National Building Information Modeling Standard - United States (NBIMS-US), Chapter 4.2, the document that eventually published COBie version 2.4.

In March 2015, the buildingSMART USA published COBie version 2.4 in NBIMS-US, Chapter 4.2.[8] This COBie MVD, produced under contract to the Construction Engineering Research Lab, was created by the buildingSMART international Model View Definition support group, and was based on IFC 4.[9] The main standard contains the project's Information Delivery Manual and Model View Definition as well as business case and implementation resources. Annex A defines the mapping from the EXPRESS-based data model to the COBie spreadsheet format.[10] Annex B defines a National Information Exchange Model[11] (NIEM) based XML schema suitable for use to capture transactional COBie data that does not require a full set of building information exchange.[12]

In 2017, the US General Services Administration required COBie as a deliverable in their capital programs in their P-100 document.[13]

In 2019, buildingSMART formed an international team (members from US, UK, Ireland, China and Japan) to offer COBie Certified Professional certification. This group published the COBie Educational Curriculum[14] and began offering the COBie Certified Professional exam in 2020.[15]

In 2020, buildingSMART began a project to update COBie to version 2.5, reflecting the consolidation of the original COBie 2.26 version (i.e. the Basic Facility Management Handover Model View Definition) and the draft BSI COBie 2.4 specification; the project was named "FM Handover - COBie 2.5" project. By July 2020, this project had reached the approved activity proposal stage of the BSI standards process.[16] A video about the purpose and content was also published.[17]


  1. ^ East, William. "Corps of Engineers Pilots COBie". Building Sciences Monthly e-Newsletter. NIBS. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Prairie Sky Consulting|COBie|BIM|NBIMS|IFC". Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  3. ^ East, E. William. "Construction Operation Building Information Exchange". USACE ERDC. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  4. ^ "FM Handover MVD (COBie 2.26)". buildingSMART international MVD Database.
  5. ^ "CERL's COBie is National Institute of Building Sciences Approved". Engineer Research & Development Center. ERDC. Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  6. ^ East, Bill. "COBieLite: A lightweight XML format for COBie data". National Institute of Building Sciences. Archived from the original on 6 May 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  7. ^ "BS 1192-4:2014 Collaborative production of information. Fulfilling employer's information exchange requirements using COBie. Code of practice".
  8. ^ "Construction Operations Building information exchange (version 2.4)".
  9. ^ "COBie". Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  10. ^ "COBie (version 2.4) Spreadsheet Mapping" (PDF).
  11. ^ "NIEM | National Information Exchange Model". NIEM | National Information Exchange Model. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  12. ^ "COBie (version 2.4) XML Schema" (PDF).
  13. ^ "GSA COBie Requirement" (PDF). 2017.
  14. ^ "Downloads". buildingSMART COBie. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  15. ^ "Apply for The COBie Certified Professional™ Exam". buildingSMART COBie. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  16. ^ "bSI Process". buildingSMART International. Retrieved 2020-08-13.
  17. ^ East, E. William. "FM Handover - COBie 2.5 Activity Proposal". YouTube.