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ISO 19650 & BIM: How Newforma Project Center Supports Certification

October 20, 2023

Simplifying ISO 19650 Certification

Did you know that as design and engineering firms move towards becoming ISO 19650 certified for Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology can simplify the process?

What is ISO 19650?

ISO 19650 is a set of rules that ensure a certain standard of quality is met for digital processes and design and construction data. Published in 2018, this set of standards was developed to support BIM, Building Information Modeling, and encourage its wider use. 

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published ISO 19650 as the standard for organizing information about construction. ISO clarifies that it “sets out the concepts and principles for the business processes across the built environment sector in support of management and production of information during the lifecycle of built assets, referred to as ‘information management’ in the text when using building information modeling.”

In the context of ISO 19650, BIM is significantly more than a 3D modeling tool. ISO 19650 is really providing the structure for effectively sharing data between all parties throughout the lifecycle of the project. 

In many countries, such as the United Kingdom, public contracts are already subject to ISO 19650 (or its predecessors). With country-specific amendments introduced by national standard bodies, ISO 19650 has become the common framework and guideline for AECO businesses to deliver high-quality digitally built assets.

What are the requirements to become ISO 19650 certified?

There is no single way to get certified. And businesses do not need to standardize on one rigorous procedure.  Companies that already have a project information management strategy that defines workflows and processes for sharing information are well on their way to certification. 

ISO 19650 is often associated with a Common Data Environment (CDE).  A CDE is considered the single source of information used to collect, manage and disseminate documentation, the graphical model, and non-graphical data for the whole project team (i.e. all project information whether created in a BIM environment or in a different data format). Creating this single source of information facilitates collaboration between project team members and helps avoid duplication and mistakes. 

There’s often confusion that a CDE is one physical environment. However, a CDE is often a number of different environments that are connected through people, processes, and technology. In other words, a common data environment can be considered a digital hub where project information comes together.  

Certification usually involves a third-party auditing body. Here are the key Project Information Management areas that are considered in the audit for certification:

Centralize project information and task management processes

Architects, engineers, contractors, project managers, and IT staff must stay on top of important digital information. It’s essential to have a system in place that puts processes around the management of information. This ensures that everyone on the project team always has the most current data available. 

Simple folder structures with certain filing conventions or cumbersome electronic data management (EDMS) systems might serve this purpose. However, a centralized system with integrations and automation offers more advantages in terms of flexibility, speed, and data security.

Adhere to file naming conventions defined in the National Annex

ISO standards are international and are valid regardless of which country a business is based in. However, every nation can define its own amendments or additions to these standards, called National Annex. File naming conventions, for example, may be specified in the National Annex. Companies need to name files in the exact way that their country’s National Annex dictates. 

The naming convention helps to identify information quicker and easier. For instance, a project file in the UK must follow the naming convention NEWP-ABC-XX-ZZ-SP-S-0001. The file name must include a reference to a revision to identify the version of the document. It must also include a suitability code to understand the purpose of why the document was sent.

Improve Q/A processes, transparency, and accountability

Issuing documents for delivery is one of the most important steps in the project lifecycle. For example, a DWG containing a revised floor plan sent to a contractor needs to meet the highest quality standard. Outdated or faulty information issued to a contractor can potentially result in delays and major construction errors. Therefore, ISO 19650 requires a thorough, centralized, and methodical Q/A process around document control and issuance. 

The entire team should follow consistent workflows to track and capture which files have been sent. Thus, project teams must have an audit trail of which document and what version has been sent to whom and when.

Provide a centralized platform for collaboration

A centralized environment provides project teams with a way to easily collaborate, access and share information. It also serves as a single source of truth. According to ISO 19650, businesses need to be able to work in a shared environment for exchanging information. Ideally, it provides a solution that offers collaboration within the same platform.

How Newforma Project Center supports the standard

Newforma Project Center does not dictate how exactly companies need to manage their data. It offers a wide range of functionality that helps design and engineering companies find, access, manage and share information in a way that is easy, quick, and secure. At the same time, it keeps the existing workflow process intact. 

This makes Newforma Project Center a viable software solution to assist design and engineering firms around the globe to become ISO 19650 certified. And in contrast to other solutions, it can be achieved without disrupting current processes that are working for your business.

It is a guide towards better project organization. It provides the structure and controls to get ISO 19650 certified without the need to overwhelm project team members by enforcing widespread changes to the way they work.

Here’s how:

Centralized collaboration environment

Newforma Project Center utilizes open standards and APIs to centralize project data. It is compatible with cloud, on-premises, and third-party platforms. Its unified single dashboard makes it easy to access information stored in multiple locations. All files are scanned and indexed so that keywords can be found within any type of document with Newforma’s state-of-the-art file search. Newforma Project Center is the ideal central project information management system to find, access and manage information. And thus fulfills ISO 19650’s requirements for unified data management.

Document Control

Newforma Project Center’s Document Control features help users with file naming in compliance with their National Annex. Integrations with third-party BIM systems like Autodesk Revit enables Newforma Project Center to automate the naming process.

Document Control features also help organizations add structure around quality assurance processes for deliverables. Users have a platform to organize, mark, and sort documents that are currently being reviewed or ready for distribution.

Audit Trails

Newforma Project Center also provides automated audit trails that constantly track every file transfer and issuance. It creates an overarching log profile and makes information about who has shared or received which file when and from whom is always accessible to everyone. And thus becomes very easy to retrace the steps of every file delivery for all project team members.

Secure File Sharing

Newforma Project Center provides multiple options for sharing information securely as a CDE (Common Data Environment). Users can share any size file directly between Newforma Project Center and their own file storage systems, server, or cloud, with a few clicks. In contrast to using third-party sharing software, Newforma Project Center offers maximum security where files are not stored with other businesses. Not even temporarily. In addition, with Newforma Project Center’s audit trail, no file transfer goes untracked.

The hidden value of becoming ISO 19650 certified.

Many businesses see ISO 19650 certification simply as a requirement to work on public sector contracts or collaborate with already certified businesses. But it also provides a solid framework for businesses to improve their digital operations in general.

Having a clean and organized guideline for managing project information can help to increase employee satisfaction. And thus, as a side effect, improve productivity, decrease administrative tasks, and reduce project risks for the better.

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