Overcoming over complicated barriers to ISO 19650 adoption

In the third part of his guide to transitioning to the new ISO standards for BIM, John Ford supplies a list of dos and don'ts

For many parts of the world, ISO 19650 will be as much as a shock to them as PAS 1192-2 was to us in 2013, as employers up and down the supply chain pushed these standards into our contracts.

Many in the UK will have a head start, but many of the original man-made barriers still yet hinder our prorgess and generate waste.

Below is a summary of the top three barriers the newcomer to a standardised BIM adoption struggles with the most:

1. I am about to initiate a new project as a current/future asset owner and I want to adopt ISO 19650/PAS 1192-2 on my project, but I have no idea where to start.


Don't just insert references to these standards into your contracts without at least having some understanding of what they entail, or what is required to make them work. 

Don't outsource this work to a consultant straight away. Our industry has got too used to outsourcing everything and although sometimes it has its advantages, it seems a lot of valuable self-knowledge is lost in the process.

Don't try to go into this at 100mph from the start by taking generic Employer's Information Requirements (EIR) templates from consultants which may increase information demands beyond the norm, resulting in increased costs, limiting supply chain diversity or producing waste. Take your time and start small.


In the ISO 19650 Part 2 standard, you will find in its 'Figure 3' that the information management process has been broken up into steps, which is very useful. You need to understand which role you play from 'Figure 2' of that standard, and then follow the process steps linked with that role.

To put it simply: "Knowledge is power if the right information reaches you." Often it doesn't, and don't expect it to without your guidance. Start simple, and think about the basics you need like what type and format of drawings, reports, manuals that you need and draft it into something simple.

Consider what you may already have in place, scattered over several documents. This is all dependent on time, and if you are late in introducing ISO 19650 (e.g. three months before tender), start with whatever you have, no matter how small and simply invite your tenderers to highlight any clarifications or propose enhancements.

2. The client has mandated or requested BIM Level/Stage 2 and provided no other information ('stage 2' is based on an ISO 19650 term) and we are being told that this is significant legal/commercial issue due to its ambigious definition.


Don't try to force a definition by dropping PQQ responses like "BIM Level/Stage 2 is undefined; we need a clear and thoroughly written definition before we can proceed!" You will simply waste time and avoid getting what really matters into place.


If you are provided with the dreaded one-line requirement in PQQs/tenders, you can easily resolve by raising back queries to the employer: "We have been requested to deliver BIM Level/Stage 2 but we haven't been provided a definition of this or what it entails. Our understanding of Level/Stage 2 delivery requires project compliance in line with ISO 19650/PAS 1192-2. If this is your understanding, then the employer is obliged under clause ISO-5.2/PAS-5.3, to provide us specific information requirements as part of the tender to enable delivery of the required information at the right time."

Rather than attacking terms used by the employer like Level/Stage 2 or any other term, you should instead deflect it by moving it to what is important, which at the tender stage is all about understanding the what. Then you can tackle ambigious terms later in the contract formation phase by simply asking them to be removed or reworded to what suits both parties.

3. You haven't been provided with an EIR, or it is very poor and your next steps are unclear when the client has asked you to adopt ISO 19650/PAS 1192-1 standards.


Don't just propose a filler, which means you produce your own EIR template, and provide it to your employer for them to simply put on their logos and insert it into the tender. The ISO/PAS does not support this approach. You wouldn't do this if the main project brief was missing or light on clarity. You are at high risk of generating more waste than value.


If the tender allows it, offer to work with them in quickly reviewing their requirements and provide advice based on previous project experience and working with other clients. Remember, the EIR as defined in the ISO/PAS isn't a 'BIM Requirements' technical document. It is all about 'Information Exchange Requirements'.

It is entirely possible that the employer already has a good idea of their basic information requirements like a typical O&M requirement sheet or 'provide PDFs of all information via our portal' (sometimes less is more).

Ask the client to provide clarity of the information requirements, and respond in your BEP (BIM Execution Plan) that you consider these to be their EIR, raising any further clarifications during the tender via the BEP or other contract mechanisms.

This article first appeared on BIM+

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