Understanding BIM in the UK Part 1: ISO 19650 and the Information Delivery Cycle


This blog is the first in a series examining the current state of BIM in the UK, from demystifying what BIM is to where to look for the latest advice and guidance surrounding BIM. In this piece, we discuss ISO 19650 and what this looks like in practice when compared to previous standards. By the end of this, you should have a better understanding of ISO 19650 and its principles.

What is a Standard, and How Does it Differ from a Regulation?

ISI 19650 is the latest BIM standard in the UK.

A standard is a set of advice for you to follow if you choose to. A regulation is mandatory, but a standard is not. Which may raise the question: what benefits would a business see by implementing standards that aren’t already present in regulations? It'll help protect you and your business in terms of your professional indemnity insurance if you can show that you are working in accordance with a set of agreed standards.

The more standardisation we can get, the better. In short, the BIM standard is the ideal that everyone in the industry, both domestically and internationally, should aspire to.

What is ISO 19650 and Who Helped Create It?

ISO 19650 is an updated standard based largely on those of PAS-1192 and BS1192. It was created by Paul Morrell, the UK government's chief construction adviser in 2011. Mark Bew and Mervyn Richards were also key authors to BS1192, and since then many others like Dr. Anne Kemp, who heads up the UK BIM Alliance, have also had a hand in further defining the standard.

What is the Difference Between ISO 19650 and BS1192?

If you are familiar with BS1192, you will find that ISO 19650 is based very largely on it and its provisions. There are sections relating to OpEx period, the operational period, and to the CapEx period, as well as to security, to health and safety and to digital data.

ISO 19650 Explained

See the video with the diagram below for the key to understanding ISO 19650. One of the biggest differences is the detail of what things are called, which can be confusing if you’ve previously worked with BS1192. One example being that where Employee Information Requirements were once EIRs, they are now Exchange Information Requirements.

Starting at the right-hand side of the diagram, you can see what information the client needs to know. The standard tells them that they need to do some investigations and document those in the form of information requirements, documents and asset information requirements documents.

These help the employer answer questions such as:

  • What information do I need to start a job?
  • What information will I need going forward?
  • Am I going to need to collect during that project to run and maintain the facility after completion?

Once this takes place, the process remains relatively unchanged. As always, an employer will go out to tender and will put a set of employers requirements out. Employers requirements have always included soft deliverables—such owner manuals or as built drawings—but these days there is far more in terms of soft deliverables than there ever has been before.

The construction team responds as they always have done to the tender with a set of contractors proposals and a price, and the ISO now says they need to give examples of their expertise to satisfy the EIR requirements. There needs to be a pre-contract (execution plan) in response as a document as part of their contractor's proposals.

These days there is far more in terms of soft deliverables than there ever has been before.

Now part of that is that each member of the design and construction team needs to submit a task information delivery plan. This process is not much different from how it was previously done, but now it's a direct response to the EIR.

Awarding, Delivering Projects

While standards can sometimes be confusing to follow, they help streamline BIM and construction management processes, driving quicker, more efficicent projects.

If the project owner likes what they're seeing in terms of price offers and how the designing construction team is saying they will deliver the project, then they will award the contract to them again in the normal way. At this stage, the design and construction team will put together a master information delivery plan from all of those task information delivery plans as usual.

The addition now is that a master information delivery plan is put together for all of those soft deliverables detailed out. Then when the project starts, the EIR will have set a series of information exchanges and what is expected in each of those stages, and those will be used to make client decisions.

Finally, we'll start on site and come all the way through to handover and then operation. And the idea is that this is all a feedback loop so that you will learn lessons from your project and see that into the following projects for whole life positive outcomes.

So the whole of this process and the ISO is about how an employer makes all of those soft deliverables contractual. When you look at the ISO, you'll see much more detail. The ISO sets out a whole series of activities for each responsible party and what people are supposed to be doing and when.

In the next blog, we’ll explore the statuses of ISO 19650, use of a Common Data Environment (CDE), and how the naming convention simplifies the project management process.

Posted By

With over 28 years experience in the construction Industry, Ben brings a wealth of knowledge to Viewpoint where he works as BIM Strategy Manager. Ben has advised contractors consultants and client bodies on management, organisation, workflow and business process associated with BIM deployment.