ISO 19650 Guidance Editor

Following the recent release of the BS EN ISO 19650 Concepts Guidance, co-editor and contributing author Sarah Davidson, Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham, sets out the ambitions for the new guidance and invites industry feedback.

Moving towards a digital built Britain requires the advancement of information management methodologies by making BIM according to the ISO 19650 series business as usual. Adoption of BIM by the construction industry will support better strategic decisions and improved predictability through better risk management – leading to better outcomes for all stakeholders.

My contribution as an author and editor of the newly published ISO 19650 Concepts Guidance comes from my experience working in construction and early involvement with the UK BIM Alliance managing a project aimed at releasing guidance on how to adopt information management in a security-minded way. I was invited to join the group that compiled the guidance related to the transition document for ISO 19650, released in January 2019; I was really pleased to be invited back to be part of the new Concepts and Process guidance documents for the ISO 19650.

The Concepts Guidance is one of three guidance resources to be released in relation to ISO 19650 Part 1 and Part 2. The first release was the transition guidance of January 2019, compiled to support the move from the now superseded documents to the new ISO 19650 series and aimed at all people and organisations familiar with BS 1192:2007+A2:2016 and PAS 1192-2:2013.

The ISO 19650 series is relevant to everyone involved in the design, construction, operation, maintenance and disposal/demolition of a built asset, and the Concepts Guidance has been created for the same audience, to include clients, asset managers, designers and construction consultants, contractors and subcontractors. A ‘high level’ document, it is concerned with the principles of the ISO 19650 series, not the detailed processes required which will be addressed by the Process Guidance that is being drafted as I write. This two-staged approach was taken to be able to provide a widely useful and helpful resource as soon as we could and work began at the start of the year. We also wanted to take the opportunity to highlight that the ISO series really is relevant to everyone and to clarify what someone can do if they are currently working with the now superseded documents. In addition the Concepts Guidance was a vehicle to provide direction in respect of the related legal and contractual issues that should be considered.

The Concepts Guidance is a truly collaborative endeavour; it represents the collective efforts of 16 authors, a number of independent focus group workshops and feedback from additional reviewers. Authors come from a range of organisations representing the target audience and their involvement was generated via various routes, including through active engagement with the UK BIM Alliance, previous experience with relevant standards guidance, and vocalisation about BIM through various social media channels. But one thing everyone had in common was a desire to work together to generate helpful guidance.

It was important to keep the Concepts Guidance as straight forward as possible to encourage people to engage with the ISO 19650 standards. The guidance is written in plain language and abbreviations and acronyms have been kept to a minimum – there are only seven abbreviations in the entre document. Information management or modelling is not the art of the specialist – there may be areas of technical expertise but the notion can be understood by all.

Wide adoption brings huge opportunity to UK construction. If we have that ‘golden thread’ of information informing our projects, risks can be identified and addressed early, before problems present. With this in mind, I hope to see the now superseded PAS documentation fall quietly to sleep and the new ISO guidance adopted quickly. I also look forward to international adoption of ISO 19650 – our Concepts Guidance supports the implementation of the ISO in the UK but it is an international standard which has greater reach.

The ISO 19650 series will evolve and I hope engagement and feedback will continue to accompany progress. Ultimately I hope the barriers that exist around BIM to be broken down driven by a more positive approach to working in accordance with the ISO because it will derive benefits for individuals, organisations and projects.

It has been a brilliant experience working collaboratively with co-editors Dr Anne Kemp, Chair of the UK BIM Alliance, and David Churcher, Director of Hitherwood Consulting, and such a diverse team of authors with a range of expertise and experience. I look forward to this diversity continuing into the Process Guidance to be published later this summer. Feedback is key to success and this is a genuine call for engagement. There is a link to get in touch in the Concepts Guidance and, if anyone would like to forward comments or queries, please do email All feedback will be considered and where there is engagement we will invite people to participate in the development process for the more detailed process guidance. I look forward to hearing from you.

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