BIM Object Development Standard: A quick guide through 4 standards


Explore the pivotal role of BIM object standards across the construction industry with our presentation of four leading BIM standards: OBOS, NBS, GDO-BIM, and eCOB. Understand how standardization enhances interoperability, accuracy, and collaboration, ensuring efficient project management and regulatory compliance.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is more than just a technological advancement in the construction industry; it represents a paradigm shift in how buildings are designed, constructed, and managed. BIM transcends traditional blueprints and physical models, offering a digital representation that’s rich in detail and data. And while BIM allows for the more efficient and coordinated design and management of buildings, it also includes more complexity where the need for standards is more apparent.

The digital approach of construction allows for more collaborative and integrated project management, where every detail of a building is available in a shared, dynamic, and easily accessible space. A critical component of BIM is the development and management of BIM objects – digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of building elements. These objects are the building blocks of BIM, facilitating not just the design and visualization of structures but also informing decisions throughout the building lifecycle, from initial concept to demolition.

To ensure consistency, accuracy, and interoperability of these digital objects, several BIM object development standards have been established globally. These standards – Open BIM Object Standard (OBOS) V1.0, NBS BIM Object Standard v2.1, The Guide for BIM Object Development (GDO-BIM), and the Standard for the Creation O BIM Objects (eCOB) – serve as guidelines and frameworks for the creation and management of BIM objects. While there are more standards available, we believe that these cover the most important aspects and not focusing on the visual representation of the object.

They address various aspects, such as naming conventions, classification, graphical representation, and information structuring. Each of these standards brings its unique approach and focus, reflecting the diverse needs and practices within the global construction industry.

This guide aims to present a comparative overview of these four standards, illustrating their contributions to the standardization and efficiency of BIM practices, which are essential for the modern, globally interconnected construction industry.

Standardizing BIM object information is crucial for several reasons, all of which contribute to the overall efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration within the construction industry:

Interoperability Across Platforms

In an industry where multiple stakeholders use different BIM software, standardization ensures that BIM objects are compatible across various platforms. This compatibility is essential for seamless collaboration, data exchange, and integration of information from different sources.

Consistency and Accuracy

Standardization provides a uniform framework for creating BIM objects, leading to consistency in the information represented. This uniformity is crucial for accurate comparisons, assessments, and integration of data, reducing errors and discrepancies in the construction process.

Efficient Communication and Collaboration

A standardized approach to BIM object information facilitates clearer and more efficient communication among architects, engineers, contractors, and other stakeholders. Everyone works with a common understanding and language, reducing misunderstandings and streamlining the workflow.

Lifecycle Management

Standardized BIM objects carry consistent information through all stages of a building’s lifecycle, from design and construction to operation and maintenance. This consistency aids in effective lifecycle management, including easier updates, renovations, and deconstruction planning.

Regulatory Compliance and Reporting

Standardization helps in aligning BIM practices with regulatory requirements. Consistent data makes it easier to adhere to building codes, environmental regulations, and other compliance requirements. It also simplifies reporting and documentation processes.

Facilitating Data Analysis and Decision Making

Standardized information in BIM objects allows for more straightforward data analysis and interpretation. This clarity supports better decision-making processes, both during the construction phase and throughout the building’s operational life.

Enhancing Industry-Wide Collaboration and Innovation

When BIM object information is standardized, it paves the way for broader industry collaboration and innovation. It enables the sharing of best practices and the development of new techniques and technologies that can be universally adopted.

The standardization of BIM object information is a key component in leveraging the full potential of Building Information Modeling. It not only enhances the efficiency and quality of individual projects but also contributes to the advancement and sustainability of the construction industry as a whole.

Who Should Be Interested in These Standards?

These standards are vital for a wide range of professionals in the construction and building industry:

Architects and Designers

Understanding these standards is crucial for architects and designers to ensure their designs are compatible with others and meet industry expectations.


Engineers of various disciplines (structural, MEP, civil, etc.) need to be familiar with these standards to ensure their technical specifications align with the overall BIM model.

Construction Managers and Contractors

Knowledge of these standards helps in accurate interpretation of BIM objects, leading to efficient construction management and fewer errors on-site.

Manufacturers of Building Materials and Products

For manufacturers, adhering to these standards is key to ensuring their products are accurately represented in BIM models and are compatible with other elements.

BIM Managers and Coordinators

These professionals must have an in-depth understanding of these standards to manage and coordinate the integration of various BIM objects into a cohesive model.

Educators and Students in the Construction Field

Educators need to incorporate these standards in their curriculum to prepare students for the demands of the modern construction industry.

Software Developers

Developers creating BIM software or tools should align their products with these standards to ensure compatibility and functionality.

Government and Regulatory Bodies

For government projects or in the creation of regulations, understanding these standards is essential for ensuring compliance and uniformity in construction practices.

The Standards

Open BIM Object Standard (OBOS) V1.0

Developed by NATSPEC (Australia) and Masterspec (New Zealand), this standard, dating from October 2018, is focused on standardizing the creation and maintenance of BIM objects in the construction industry. It encompasses various aspects such as BIM objects and assemblies, naming conventions, object classification and properties, graphical modeling, and interoperability. The OBOS emphasizes consistency across different systems, facilitating efficient information exchange to enhance industry productivity. It is freely available for use by any technician capable of developing a BIM object.

NBS BIM Object Standard v2.1

This standard, issued in March 2019, provides detailed guidelines for the creation of BIM objects, including information, geometry, and functional requirements. It aims to ensure consistency and interoperability in the creation of BIM objects, making collaboration and information exchange more efficient within the construction industry. The standard highlights the importance of high-quality, usable BIM objects for construction applications and includes instructions on naming conventions, property assignment, and geometry requirements. It is freely available for use by any technician capable of developing a BIM object.

Standard Guide for BIM Object Development

This standard assists manufacturers in creating standardized BIM objects. It addresses the necessary investment and return on investment on BIM, as well as the importance of a standardized data structure. The guide also explores marketing strategies, legal requirements, ethical development, contract models for BIM object development. It’s designed to aid in creating high-quality BIM objects and includes practical advice on legal implications and quality assurance as well a detailed vision of the importance of information according to project phases. It is freely available for use by any technician capable of developing a BIM object.

eCOB Standard

The eCOB standard, or Estándar de Creación de Objetos BIM, is a tool for creating BIM objects, enhancing interoperability across various BIM programs throughout the construction lifecycle. As the others, it’s developed on the international IFC standard and adapted to local norms, it’s an open, and evolving document. It’s relevant for manufacturers, BIM object developers, designers, constructors, and promoters. The standard’s focus is on quality in BIM models and facilitating collaborative work among construction project stakeholders. It is freely available for use by any technician capable of developing a BIM object.

Each of these standards offers a unique approach to the creation and management of BIM objects, reflecting the diverse needs and practices within the construction industry globally. They collectively contribute to the standardization, efficiency, and interoperability essential in modern construction practices.

By comparing and contrasting these four standards, professionals and stakeholders in the construction industry can better understand the landscape of BIM object development, leading to more efficient, accurate, and standardized practices in the field.

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