Suitability or Status

The use of suitability or status in a BIM workflow is important, it provides a consistent way of confirming what a piece of information can and cannot be used for.

We have at least two standards that refer to the status or suitability of files, BS 1192:2007+A2:2016 Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information – Code of practice and PAS 1192-2:2013 Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling. Both documents are currently available as a free downloads from BIM Level 2.

The use of status and suitability within the two documents is a little confusing leading to different interpretations.

Definition of Status

Within PAS 1192-2 Annex A (informative) Terms, definitions and abbreviations for BIM we have the following:

Status: Defines the ‘suitability’ of information in a model, drawing or document.

Within the same document we also have (within the notes of table 3):

Status codes are provided by information originators to define how information may be used during different phases of the CDE. The SHARED suitability codes are stated as ‘Issued for…’

So status defines the suitability of information indicating the purpose for which the information may be used, so far so good.

Within BS 1192 clause 15 is entirely for ‘status’. 15.2.1 titled General provides the following:

If repositories are not able to track the ‘status’ of each container (for example a model or drawing) then its ‘status’ should be tracked through using two fields together:
a) suitability (see 15.2.2); and
b) revision (see 15.2.3).

So where a CDE (a repository is a CDE) is unable to provide a separate method for tracking the status of a piece of information (drawing model etc) than both suitability and status shall be used. Tracking of status, within a CDE, is usually done by providing separate meta fields that clearly identify the status.

Since the above lists suitability and status as both being required (where status cannot be tracked) this identifies that status is a combination of suitability and revision. This is subtly different from the PAS 1192-2 definition. PAS 1192-2 makes no reference to revision as being a part of status.

Definition of Suitability

PAS 1192-2 does not provide any clear definition of suitability. Although, within the CDE flow diagrams suitability and revision are clearly a requirement of each piece of information.

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It also provides this interesting statement within Annex A (informative) Terms, definitions and abbreviations for BIM documentation:

Shared: Component of the CDE. The shared section of the CDE is where information can be made available to others in a ‘safe’ environment. The early release of information assists in the rapid development of the design solution. To allow this to be achieved, the concept of information ‘status/suitability’ has been adopted

The above suggests that status and suitability are similar concepts.

BS 1192 provides the following within 4.2.3 SHARED:

The ‘issue’ status should be used to identify the suitability of the information provided. The ‘suitability’ (see 15.2.2) gives ownership to the design teams and restricts access by other until information is sufficiently developed, co-ordinated, approved and authorized.

And section 15.2.2:

Suitability: Every container should have a field indicating the approved ‘suitability’ for use of the contained information.

Standard Coding

Within clause 15 Status, BS 1192 section 15.3 has the following for Standard coding:

Standard status codes for ‘status’: Standard codes should be used for the ‘status’ fields wherever possible.

and

Standard codes for ‘suitability’: The ‘suitability’ code should be one or two characters. The ‘suitability’ codes given in Table 5 should be used.

Table 5:

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The above extract shows that the table is for ‘Standard codes for suitability…’ but the heading of the column above the codes (S0, S1 etc) says ‘Status’.

PAS 1192-2 provides a similar table (although it contains less detail)

Table 3:

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The above table makes no reference to suitability (except within Note 2 as listed above) with the codes being clearly referenced as status codes.

Inconclusive

The definitions within both BS 1192 and PAS 1192-2 are not entirely clear and consistent.

Although, ultimately, when using a CDE that provides a separate method for identifying status. And where revisions are well managed, superseded (or archived) information is partially hidden (providing a method for making it difficult to accidentally download a revised piece of information) the technicalities of whether the status of a document should be termed as status or suitability has little or no impact.

However, for terms of clarity and to avoid confusion it would be good to have the terms and the use of the terms clearly defined with consistency between BS 1192 and PAS 1192-2.