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Why ISO 19650 is key to greater efficiencies in construction projects.

London, UK - Published May 22nd 2020

Construction projects are complex. One of the biggest challenges is the multitude of stakeholders, systems and volume of documents involved. From commissioning through design and construction to handover there are hundreds – or often thousands - of individuals, multiple disciplines, companies and teams responsible for different aspects of the project. With so many parties involved, the potential for inconsistency of language, documentation and processes across the project is huge. Inconsistency wastes valuable time, causes delay, debate, inefficiencies, and unnecessary cost!

That is where standards and regulation come into play. The adoption of agreed common approaches, processes and language for the management of the all the stages in the lifecycle and the information assets associated with a build project can help to ensure that projects are delivered on time and within budget.

How an international standard was born in the UK?

Let’s start with a whistle-stop recent history of the standards that govern construction projects in the UK and more recently - beyond. Following the BIM Level 2 initiative, initiated by the UK government in 2011, a series of publicly available specifications were produced – known as the UK PAS 1192, some of which became BS 1192 standards. Following their publication, international clients recognised the benefits of applying these standards and began to require adoption for their projects. This created a challenge in that many organisations that work internationally felt it was unfair to be expected to work to UK standards to win projects in other countries. This led to requests to ISO to elevate UK 1192 to an international level standard. The first two parts of the ISO 19650 series of standards – essentially an internationalisation of BIM Level 2 – were released in early 2019 and it is rapidly becoming the commonly applied standard for new design and construction projects.

The most important thing you need to know about BS EN ISO 19650-1 and 2 is that the processes are practically identical and contain all the same principles and high-level requirement to those defined in BS1192. So, if you are already using BIM Level 2/BS 11192 standards for your projects then little or no changes should be required. To manage any changes that are required, the BSI have published a transition guidance document, PD 19650-0:2019. In addition to this, the UKBIM alliance and the centre for digital built Britain are publishing regular guidance documents to accelerate and enable adoption in industry

Why is ISO 19650 important in the construction industry?

In an increasingly globalised sector, the implementation of the ISO19650 set of standards creates a (more) level playing field and provides common terms and definitions. The application of a common language helps to define and aligns the collaborative processes and enhances the efficiency of the management of information throughout the delivery and operational phase of assets when BIM is being used.

The standards apply to the entire life cycle of a built asset, including the strategic planning, initial design, engineering, development, documentation and construction, day-to-day operation, maintenance, refurbishment, repair and end-of-life. Use of the standard helps to remove barriers to collaborative working, delivering much needed consistency for the multitude of stakeholders, touch points and processes involved in a project.

Management of information assets as a key to efficiency under ISO19650

The increasing adoption of ISO19650 standards reflects a massive leap forward in the consistent management of construction projects – enabling the many stakeholders to talk the same language. Another crucial aspect of day to day collaboration and efficient project delivery is the management and flow of the thousands (or tens of thousands) of documents and BIM assets involved in the project. In order to support regional variations in contractual responsibilities, insurances and procurement routes, national annexes are to be published which cover the specific requirements for documents and processes in the local context. The BSI offer the UK national annexe to BS EN ISO 19650-2:2018 as part of the package when the standard is purchased.

At the same time, the increasing digitisation of the processes has created an opportunity for the adoption of tools that support the implementation of ISO19650 standards and delivery of massive improvements in the consistency, efficient storage and trackability of documentation. Project information management or PIM software saves time and reduces the risk of costly errors, lost documents or loss of continuity (when there is change of contactor or personnel for example).

Atvero is a powerful project and document management platform that harnesses the power of SharePoint Online to transform construction projects – supporting the adoption of ISO19650 standards and driving efficiencies and profitability.

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