ITeC is a private foundation working in the construction sector, playing a vital role in the linguistic normalization of the sector, standardization of different areas of the construction process, and certification of products and companies since 1978. Some of the well-established initiatives of ITeC have been BEDEC, the methodology and software TCQ, the Registry of Materials, the DAU, the Apto, and the ETA, previously called DITE.
The most recent contribution of the firm to the construction sector is the proposal of a Standard for the creation of BIM objects (eCOB). ITeC has offered eCOB with the dual intention of enhancing the quality of BIM models as well as facilitating interoperability between all the agents that participate in a construction project.
The information contained in a BIM model is closely related to virtual construction, consisting of adding in a specific, ordered and coherent way, what we call “objects”. Since the combination of objects leads to the generation of a building model, it is necessary that highest quality is maintained in the BIM objects. This is what eCOB ensures.
The eCOB standard is based on the international IFC standard, the harmonized European regulatory context and the national regulations applicable to the construction projects of a specific country. At this time it is adapted to Spanish regulations (Technical Building Code, EHE, etc.). The standard responds to the most widespread open exchange format, as well as to the various modeling platforms, ensuring always the same level of quality, regardless of the origin of the objects.
Moreover, since the work in BIM involves collaboration among different working groups, agents, and specialists, it is necessary to have an agreement on the criteria that configure the objects. This is necessary for the effective exchange of information contained in the models. eCOB ensures this agreement as well.
A project goes through several stages of maturation. While in the initial phases of a project, it is necessary to have generic, unbranded objects, at later stages, branded objects are required that are finally incorporated into the work. Both generic and brand objects, configure what we call “BIM object library”, and each one covers a certain stage of the project lifecycle.
Standardization of both generic and branded objects through eCOB facilitates objective comparative evaluations that allow optimizing and applying the most efficient decisions for each case. By extrapolation, if we can compare objects, we can also compare models and projects. Standardization of models makes it possible to analyze and draw conclusions from the comparison of projects, which immensely improves the overall efficiency of the construction process.
More adoption in future
The eCOB standard seems promising in terms of providing the BIM models high quality. It is also equipped to facilitate the necessary interoperability between all the agents that participate in a construction project.
To ensure easy adoption, the eCOB standard is made available to the entire construction sector in a free and open way. This leads to the establishment of a common working criterion, and thus ensures enhanced efficiency. The eCOB standard enables the BIM objects to have a consistent and technically rigorous information structure, and this, in turn, aids interoperability between BIM programs throughout the entire lifecycle of BIM.
All information related to the use of the standard is available on the ITeC website for easy access to manufacturers of construction products, developers of BIM objects, designers, builders, developers, etc. Some useful tools for the application of the standard can also be found on the website.
Though the first version of the eCOB standard is related to BIM objects (building), in the future, it will extend to the field of civil engineering.