Friday, 15 February 2019

BS EN ISO 19650 and Uniclass

BS EN ISO 19650 parts 1 and 2 have now been out for a few weeks and there has been a lot of discussion on social media on how to make best use of the Uniclass tables when managing information for building and civil engineering work.

This blog post covers my thoughts from recent discussions internally, on social media and also a few web meetings with some members of UK BIM Alliance. Comments are very much appreciated and will help shape more formal UK BIM Alliance guidance being published later in the year.

BS EN ISO 19650-1:2018
The concepts and principles outlined in part 1, when considering information quality, state that classification '...should be in accordance with the principles in ISO 12006-2'. The UK implementation of ISO 12006-2 is Uniclass (Uniclass 2015). This is a free-to-use classification made available to industry at:
https://toolkit.thenbs.com/articles/classification

BS EN ISO 19650-2:2018
Part 2 lists ISO 12006-2 as one of the normative references in the introduction.

Clause 5.1.7 then reinforces that all information containers shall have an attribute for classification (in accordance with the framework defined in ISO 12006-2) when placed in the project's common data environment.

Part 1 makes it clear that an information container could be both structured and unstructured. 'Structured information containers include geometrical models, schedules and databases. Unstructured information containers include documentation, video clips and sound recordings.'

So to be clear, when delivering 'BIM to ISO 19650' the scope is so much more than a 3D model of a building. The information that is to be managed stretches to an information container that is a sound recording of a meeting reviewing feedback from a previous highways project.

The UK National Annex provides further guidance and this is mainly grouped into field codification of the ID of the information container and additional metadata.

Classification metadata
This should define what information is in the information container. To give some examples at various stages of a project.

  • A business case at the Strategic Definition Stage - PM_50_30_10 - Business Case
  • A BEP at the Preparation and Brief Stage - PM_40_60_64 - Pre-contract BIM execution Plan
  • An early version of the Security Strategy at the Concept Design Stage - PM_80_50_80 -Security strategy
  • A work package containing drawings and specifications for all designed security systems - Ss_75_40 - Security systems
  • An asset data template for an infrared digital camera provided by a client in the supporting information - Pr_60_75_86_41 - Infra-red cameras

So codes from the appropriate Uniclass table can be used to define what is contained in the information container.

The big advantage of providing this level of granularity is being able to digitally query large information sets in modern common data environments and organisation's other data repositories.

Field codification
The field codification in the UK National Annex is a method of giving each information container on a project a Unique ID. The best analogy for me here is with a car registration plate. Make it unique and recognisable in the shortest way possible.
In the above example, this car was registered in Birmingham (BD) in the second part of 2001 (51).

Now, compare this now to the field codification rules in the UK Annex to BS EN 19650-2.
Just like a registration plate, the UK National Annex recommends that very short codes are used to create this unique ID. For example, the role requires a 1 or 2 digit code - so Architect is suggested to be shortened to 'A'. There is also a note to say that in the Project Information Standard additional codes can be specified for roles outside of the Annex. For example, 'CR' for Client Advisor. This is just like using 'BD' to indicate Birmingham.

So, what does this mean for Uniclass and these fields?

It would seem sensible for the Uniclass classifications to align and for each of these classifications to have a short code. I'd also suggest that the leading Common Data Environment's would build these unique IDs from metadata provided at upload (we shouldn't really be relying on renaming files in Windows Explorer). The Form of Information table seems to align nicely with the 'Type' (3D model, video, sound recording etc..), the Roles table aligns with the Role (Client, Contractor, Architect...).

To look at five earlier examples, this is how I'd expect them to appear in a Common Data Envrionment when working to BS EN 19650-2. The short codes in the Annex (and additional Project Information Standard codes) are linked to the Uniclass classification.

Unique ID nice and short - additional metadata giving further information
Quickly querying to filter by similar items (the power of classification)
As I said at the start of the post. This is my initial interpretation of how the 19650 series can be used with Uniclass. Please drop comments through and this will hopefully feed into more formal guidance that is reviewed by a number of people.


I'd be also very keen to see how other countries around the world develop their National Annexes to give guidance on this. Please drop me an email if you have any insight into this.

Edit 1:
The UK Foreword to BS EN ISO 13567-2:2017 Technical product documentation - organization and naming of layers for CAD. Concepts, format and codes used in construction documentation (ISO 13567-2:2017) covers guidance on layer naming and Uniclass. I had blogged on this one too - and the Dan Rossiter took ownership in terms of drafting the words for B/555.

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