Home » IFC and openBIM » BIM ISO standards, everything you need to know

BIM ISO standards, everything you need to know

The BIM ISO standards illustrate the international standard processes for producing and managing information with the BIM methodology. Find out more about the main ones.

The use of BIM is constantly growing in the construction sector in many countries around the world, which is why increasingly unambiguous standards are being implemented to standardize this methodology and make it more effective and accurate. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the BIM ISO standards with particular interest towards the ISO 19650 series.

What are the ISO standards?

ISO standards can be defined as international Technical Standards, whose purpose is to regulate and “standardize” many professional sectors by means of rules, guidelines or technical specifications.

They are developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a global, independent, non-governmental organization formed of 165 state organizations, each representing a single world nation.

Compliance with a standard is obtained by issuing a certification by a recognised body, which guarantees compliance with quality, efficiency and safety in relation to the specific areas and activities developed by each standard.

ISO - International Organization for Standardization

ISO | International Organization for Standardization

ISO standards in BIM

ISO BIM standards set a common language for implementing conception, design, construction and production processes to achieve more effective workflows.

In the construction world, efforts are constantly being made to improve construction efficiency and quality, and the BIM methodology is aimed at optimising construction processes. This is mainly why it was necessary to create an international standard and regulatory framework that could guide the correct application of BIM in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) sector: the BIM ISO standards, precisely.

The international standard that regulates the management of information on the entire life cycle of a built facility using BIM is ISO 19650, which has been modelled on the bases introduced by the British standard BS 1192 (2007) and by the now replaced UK public standards PAS 1192.

BIM ISO standards

BIM ISO standards

What is the ISO 19650 series?

The ISO 19650, “Organization and digitization of information for buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling (BIM) — Information management using building information modelling ” represents the latest BIM standard established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Its purpose is to define a unified and effective framework for the production and management of information of a project with the use of the BIM methodology.

The ISO 19650 consists of six parts, some of which have not been published yet:

  • ISO 19650-1– Part 1: Concepts and principles: published in December 2018, introduces the principles of the information management process,
  • ISO 19650-2– Part 2: Asset delivery phase: published in December 2018, describes in detail the collaborative process of production and information management during the asset delivery phase;
  • ISO 19650-3 – Part 3: Asset operational phase: published in August 2020, details the collaborative information management process during the asset operational phase;
  • ISO 19650-4 – Part 4: Exchange of information: still under development and not yet published, it should collect the various principles necessary for a correct exchange of information between the parties (proposing party/person in charge) throughout the life cycle of an asset;
  • ISO 19650-5 – Part 5: Security-oriented approach to information management: published in June 2020, it directs organisations to adopt methods for “securing” digital sensitive information processed and stored;
  • ISO 19650-6 – Part 6: Health and safety: Still under development, should cover the production and management of health and safety information on projects.

If you want to learn more about the objectives of ISO 19650 and understand how an organization can obtain an ISO 19650 certification, I recommend you also read the article “What is ISO 19650

ISO 19650 series - BIM ISO standards


What is BIM according to ISO 19650?

According to ISO 19650, BIM represents the mode of production and collaborative management of the information of a built facility, which accompanies it throughout its entire life cycle.

The modeling of the information of a construction allows the professionals involved in the job to communicate with each other and to coordinate information across different levels.

This information remains linked to the project, from the design phase through to maintenance and disposal, providing the possibility of evaluating any unpredicted impacts.

Developing a BIM workflow according to the ISO 19650 means that:

  • the client decides and informs the team about the standards to be followed, the project requirements and the fundamental steps to be taken into account;
  • the team in charge plans a programme and organises its resources to meet the client’s requests and information deliveries, perhaps organising a MIDP;
  • the information is produced disciplinarily below delivered and collected in each working group according to a TIDP;
  • the information is checked and coordinated globally;
  • the information is appropriately shared and managed within the Common Data Enviromnent (CDE);
  • the information is verified and approved for each step of progress;
  • the information is stored in a suitable way, always having the BIM Asset Management procedures in mind.

Why is ISO 19650 important?

ISO 19650 is important because it results in international standardisation of the BIM methodology: the standard helps to increase the efficiency of information processes, improve the clarity of information and facilitate better collaboration.

To create a shared, effective and optimized workflow, it is necessary that everyone follows the same common guidelines, applied in proportion to the scale and complexity of the construction.

Following the BIM standard workflow, outlined by the ISO 19650 series, ensures that:

  • all the right information is delivered to the right people at the right time;
  • all stakeholders contribute to creating a comprehensive global vision of the project, taking care of different aspects;
  • the projects are more productive, this translates into a saving of design and execution time and costs;
  • errors, risks and disputes are reduced.

To ensure and create standardized working methods, with unique files, I suggest you try working in a Common Data Environment, an open and usable online platform that allows you to work online at ISO 19650.