Infrastructure Asset Data Dictionary Group for the UK
One of the most important missing pieces in the BIM picture


Congratulations! You have ensured your supply chain can collaborate and they are working together on a common data environment that controls all of your data using BS/ PAS 1192 principles. You have set up a working COBie exchange mechanism and secured all your information according to the advice in part 5.

The client was enlightened, following the guidelines in the Soft Landings documents and BS8536, ensuring they had libraries, templates and a common classification system. All looked too good to be true.

Then the penny drops. You can control, share, secure, transfer and classify data in a common, enforceable manner throughout the facility lifecycle - but wait a minute… just what data are we talking about?

There has been some sterling work done over the last five years by some very hard working and clever people to ensure we have standards in place to do all of the above, but the “low hanging fruit” has mostly been plucked. We have to look at the cold uncomfortable truth:  The information we are specifying isn't any different from that which we have had in our maintenance databases all along!

It tells us interesting things - like who created the asset, who owns it, how tall it is and how wide it is. If we are lucky it will even tell us what its design criteria or function is. But let’s test it to see if it will actually add value to our asset during its lifecycle:

  1. Find an engineer who works with this type of “thing” at any stage of its lifecycle.

  2. Ask him for the top FIVE critical questions he would ask if he was told to go and maintain it.

  3. Try to find answers to those questions in the metadata.

  4. If you can answer all of his questions, then you have a winner!

It is perplexing to think that some of the answers we are getting now are associated with questions that were asked many years ago!

For example: If I am decommissioning something and want to sell it on, I need to know its residual value. But the answer to that question will have impacted on the decision I made back in an earlier stage, so the client could pick the “thing” that has the best return on their investment.

After all, that is why we are doing this BIM thing, so we can get better value through greater efficiency during the entire lifecycle of the asset.

To help resolve this issue, the Infrastructure Data Dictionary for the UK (IADD4UK) group was set up four years ago to look at the best ways to resolve this problem and try to bring all infrastructure clients together to eat, what is, a very large “Elephant in the Room”!

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