COBie is...

A simple idea...

The Construction-Operations Building information exchange (COBie) is based on one simple idea: "it is highly beneficial to capture data when it is first created and use that data throughout the life of a project."

...for a complex world.

Today's marketplace contains a host of competing ideas, approaches, and software for building information modeling.  These all fail to address the fundamental question addressed by COBie: "What information is needed to operate, maintain, and manage our buildings?"

Making a real change...

Simply requiring building information models or COBie data gets you some files that you won't be able to use in the future. The data will have become out-of date. The software you use in the future won't won't even open the files you get today. Even if you could get to the data, the information in these files doesn't help you operate, maintain, or manage your buildings.

When you're ready to make a real change you'll have to define what you want, how you're going to get it, and how you'll use it.

...requires alignment.

While COBie is a simple idea, number of different players in a building project makes it complicated to put in place. To navigate this complexity your COBie Implementation needs to align five different elements.

  1. People (your staff)
  2. Partners (designers and contractors)
  3. Stakeholders (others in your organization)
  4. Processes (how you do work)
  5. Technology (software)

These five elements are what we help you manage in the COBie ScoreCard. 


This page explains the reasons why we built the COBie ScoreCard.

Getting Organized

The COBie ScoreCard organizes your COBie Program so that changing organizations and partners can't stop you from getting the information you need to operate, maintain, and manage your buildings.

In a few years, everyone will be doing COBie, but for now COBie ScoreCard users will setting the emerging professional practice standards that we will wonder what we ever did without.

Adopting Technology

COBie ScoreCard Adopting some technology is easy. For a contractor selecting a circular saw over a hand saw is a no-brainer. It's technology for one worker. They make the change and learn to use the new tool and it's done.

The innovation we have seen sweep through the our retail industry is a completely different type of change. That change is based on coordinated changes resulting from agreements by multiple parties. Often these changes are driven by the major player in the market, forcing others to adopt, or be put out of business.

COBie ScoreCard The COBie Challenge is that individual owners, their partners and stakeholders have to agree to move forward together if we are to eliminate waste in the facility acquisition process. It's a big challenge given the number of different parties that participate and the flexibility of those contracts and organizations. Even if you get it right on a pilot project, people and companies change over time. Leadership has different initiatives and budgets are often fluid.

So the thing about new standards is that they're complicated until everyone gets used to them. After that we wonder how we ever worked in the old way.  Do we have retype documents from one computer system to another anymore? Does anyone, beside sailors carry a paper maps anymore? Would anyone want to go back to paper drawings?  Standards made those innovations happen. Getting everyone to use the COBie standard is our challenge!

Unlocking Information

Design coordination in the days of paper drawings and Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) files was accomplished using light-table or drawing overlays. Crossed lines represented, in the minds of the reviewers, specific design elements whose position should be checked.  The only requirement for this process was that the scales of the drawings be the same.

With the advent of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software a three dimensional set of overlays could be automatically checked. Since the entire set of all potential conflicts are automatically generated, the job of the reviewer has become the elimination of trivial “collisions” and identification of collisions where one, or another, of the components must be moved. In this process, both the scales of the drawings, the discipline of the objects in the model, and fine adjustments to the algorithms used to detect collisions are required.

COBie ScoreCard We need information that is not locked-down behind firewalls or locked-onto paper drawings.

Owners want accurate information, as well as, correct geometry and drawings.  The information-based BIM is the challenge to our industry. In this process, it is insufficient to simply overlay or merge information.  To do so means that the final BIM would contain duplicate objects appearing in each disciplines’ model. Duplicate light fixtures appear in the reflected ceiling plan, and the electrical engineers light fixture schedule. The rooms found in each of the discipline’s drawings might be duplicated.

When merging information from disciplines’ models, and ensuring that the information content is correct, much more than the scales of the drawings, and color coding of design disciplines is needed. What is needed is a precise specification of the information produced and consumed by various parties during the design and construction contract, and an understanding of the process through which that information is to be shared. Testable specifications for the quality of that information must also be established, if any of this is every to be enforced.

How to do this? If we follow traditional practices in our industry each party makes up their own standards based on the individual proprietary technology in use. We know what happens here because we have all seen it first hand - chaos and cost to partners and confusion and disappointment by staff and management.

Enforceable professional practice standards for integrated design will only emerge as designers and builders move to answer owner’s performance-based specifications for information-rich models. The United States National BIM Standard provides the baseline for these specifications. Of these standards COBie is the standard that has been adopted world-wide by public and private owners, and by software developers


This page answers basic questions about the COBie ScoreCard. 


In every facility management office today, we have simply accepted the wasted time and costs for:

  • data entry clerks to re-key information from paper documents
  • maintenance techs to return to get a tool or part they needed
  • building outages to be longer than needed
  • CADD and GIS staff to polyline blueprints, CADD, and BIM files

This wasted effort and cost can be avoided if owners could simply get the information they need. If they could, they'd increase budget flexibility and reduce backlogs and outages. They could move their organizations from an overhead budget burden to become a mission critical partner.


Implementing COBie is a team sport. With the COBie ScoreCard, you'll see where to start, and what steps to take next. As you progress you'll be able to mobilize the needed resources, start your program, move from pilots to regular operations, and finally fully implement COBie data into your processes and technology.


Using a simple Excel survey, the COBie ScoreCard tool identifies the level of your COBie Program along the five different dimensions of People, Partners, Stakeholders, Processes, and Technologies. 

To progress in your program the COBie ScoreCard provides you customized resources to help you progress. 

Registered users have access to unique resources including as presentations, templates, guides, specifications, and free-software that you can adapt for your office.


The COBie ScoreCard was developed by the inventor of COBie, Dr. Bill East. Dr. East has been changing the United States construction industry for over 35 years and has seen technology efforts succeed and fail.


As of October 2015, a exclusive set of owners representatives will begin testing the COBie ScoreCard.

If you work for an office that maintains, operates, or manages one or more large campuses, contact to discuss the potential for your early use of the COBie ScoreCard.