How to Get Started With Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM

Manage FF&E specification, procurement, and product data at scale. Take on bigger projects with confidence and grow your firm with  FohlioSchedule a demo or book a consultation with one of our account managers to explore these features today.

Before showing you how to build a common data environment, let’s first look at what it is. A common data environment, or CDE, is simply a central repository of all your design and construction data.

A CDE is part of of the publicly available specification (PAS) series of documents and guidance, as outlined in BS 1192. Sure, BS 1192 is a British Standard, but it’s also the foundation of ISO 19650 that everyone is buzzing about. Additionally, the only major difference between the two is the terminology of documents — the principles are still the same.

How to Get Started With Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM | Fohlio | ff&e specification software
The common data environment (CDE) as illustrated in PAS 1192-2: 2013, © 2013 The British Standards Institution.

We say “simply a repository,” but it’s actually much more than that.

Why You Need a Common Data Environment/The Benefits of a CDE

An admittedly lofty goal that architects like to discuss is the concept of having a “single source of truth.” This loaded phrase carries several ideals:

  1. Data is available anytime, any place.
  2. Project information is is always current.
  3. Stakeholders have access to the latest, most up-to-date information.
  4. Email communications are virtually eliminated (or at least no longer something your team depends on.)
  5. Collaboration is simple and efficient across stakeholders and teams (even between those using different software).
  6. Repetitive coordination checks are drastically reduced.
  7. Existing data is easily reused, facilitating future project planning, budgeting, management, and more.
  8. Asset data is readily available for handover after project closeout.

Ultimately, all these benefits lead to a much more productive and efficient project workflow, which means a stronger bottomline for the firm.

Common Data Environment (CDE) Requirements

In order to benefit from a common data environment in the ways listed above, there are several things you need to consider — and a few ways Fohlio can help.

1. Appoint an information manager.

Because of the massive expectations for a common data environment, the large amounts of data from numerous sources, and its need to be current, having a key person responsible for its upkeep is important.

The manager is responsible for ensuring that the information is accurate, up to date, and easily understood by everyone who needs to access it.

2. Establish conventions.

Commonalities are the big focus for ISO 19650. To oversimplify, it’s all about making sure that everyone understands what everyone else is talking about, whether it’s the architect, client, suppliers, or contractors, wherever in the world they are located.

Establishing conventions is dependent on CDE ownership. In theory, you as the owner can dictate which standards you want to use. But in a project that involves different standards, the reality could be a lot different, as learning new conventions takes a lot of time and effort.

Something you can do is accommodate all those standards in one place using a dashboard. Here, you can lay out your firm’s nomenclature side-by-side with suppliers’ SKUs, model numbers, or item numbers. You can look at it as something like Google Translate.

How to Get Started With Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM | Fohlio | ff&e specification software | conventions

3. Define workflows and set up approval/sign-off processes.

Instead of (or in addition to) writing out instructions, you can lay out requirement templates that make two things clear for team members:

  1. Information that needs to be filled in.
  2. Which step in the process comes next.

You can create workflow templates that make it extremely clear which bits of data are needed for each phase of the project, or which team to turn the project over to when they’re done with their own phase.

For example, group your product pricing data so that the design team knows to stay within budget.

How to Get Started With Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM | Fohlio | ff&e specification software | budget

Then, create the next group of data to show that the procurement team needs to take over the next phase of the project, and so on.

How to Get Started With Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM | Fohlio | ff&e specification software | workflows

4. Create distinct environments for different teams.

Having all stakeholders working within one database is the collaboration dream. At the same time, it’s important to have each team within their own dashboards so they can work without distraction. It’ll also be easier to address their specific needs within their own environments.

How to Get Started With Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM | Fohlio | ff&e specification software | dashboard

How to Get Started With Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM | Fohlio | ff&e specification software | phases

5. Keep accesses secure.

Of course, collaborating with different stakeholders within one database requires access. However, not everyone should be able to have access to everything. That’s why it’s important to manage permissions on a granular level.

How to Get Started With Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM | Fohlio | ff&e specification software | data access

6. Connect with and manage Building Information Management.

As a component of BIM, a product database can provide a lot of benefits. By storing most of your product information in a database and keeping it online, you can keep models light and up to date.

Manage FF&E specification, procurement, and product data at scale. Take on bigger projects with confidence and grow your firm with  FohlioSchedule a demo or book a consultation with one of our account managers to explore these features today.

Sources:

https://www.asite.com/blogs/what-is-a-common-data-environment
https://www.buildingincloud.net/en/construction/6-key-requirements-when-building-a-successful-common-data-environment/
https://www.theb1m.com/video/what-is-a-common-data-environment
https://blogs.oracle.com/construction-engineering/common-data-environment-cde-tutorial
https://www.oracle.com/industries/construction-engineering/what-is-cde-and-bim/
https://biblus.accasoftware.com/en/bim-and-construction-management-the-cde-common-data-environment/
https://biblus.accasoftware.com/en/withdrawal-of-pas-1192-the-english-bim-standard-will-be-combined-in-iso-19650/
https://constructionblog.autodesk.com/common-data-environment/
https://constructionblog.autodesk.com/data-driven-construction/
https://blog.plangrid.com/2018/02/the-ultimate-guide-to-standardization-for-enterprise-construction-companies/


Also published on Medium.

SHARE+ this on: