Skip to content

Conference Day 2: CIBSE working to create common language for sharing BIM data

Following on from yesterday’s session on collaboration in building information modelling (BIM), industry experts at the CIBSE Conference explored the implications of Level 2 BIM for the public sector.

Carl Collins, CAD Manager, Arup Associates, stressed the need to begin at the end –projects should start by thinking about the requirements of the building operators and the data that they will need to run it effectively. That data must then be harvested and structured according to the Digital Plan of Work.

without a common language and common data, you cannot achieve fantastic buildings

Paul Marsland, NG Bailey

Both Carl and Paul Marsland of NG Bailey stressed that crucial to the success of BIM is the development of a common language so that data can be shared across the project lifecycle. Marsland said:

Because of the range of the professional disciplines that fall under CIBSE’s scope. CIBSE is probably one of the few institutions capable of defining the common language to adequately describe building services systems.

CIBSE is leading the industry in defining workable, common industry standard datasets to structure manufacturers’ information – Product Data Templates (PDTs). A PDT is a standard ‘questionnaire’ for each product type. Each PDT aims to anticipate the information sought by every party – from specification through operations to decommissioning and replacement. As they are written in Excel format and are usable with all BIM platforms, manufacturers and users do not need to grapple with multiple versions of Level 2 BIM.

The layout of a CIBSE Product Data Template The layout of a CIBSE Product Data Template

Rob Manning, of the BIS Core BIM Team, reinforced the point that effective information management is at the heart of BIM. He said that the government is working with the industry to ensure ‘that there is a more defined expectation about who delivers what, to what level of definition and when it is to be delivered.’

To find out more about PDTs, or to volunteer to assist in producing or testing them, visit

>CIBSE Building Performance Conference & Exhibition