COBie – Construction-Operations Building information exchange

A COBie deliverable is a requirement of the UK government BIM Level 2 strategy. COBie is a method for exchanging building data. The exchanged data includes information useful for the operation and maintenance of a facility.

COBie can be provided directly within an IFC file, as a spreadsheet format or as lightweight XML.

COBie XML Spreadsheet Format

The spreadsheet is the most common and most familiar COBie format. The precise format of the spreadsheet should be spreadsheetML, the file type is listed as XML Spreadsheet 2003 within Microsoft Excel. The default Microsoft Excel spreadsheet workbook .xlsx should not be provided for exchanging the spreadsheet version of COBie.

COBie XML Spreadsheet

COBieLite XML Format

The COBieLite XML format, confusingly has the same file extension as the XML Spreadsheet format, both have the .xml extension. Both use an XML structure for the data. But, the COBieLite XML does not include data for the structure, format and layout required for a spreadsheet. It becomes a lightweight format, which is not as easy to understand in its native format compared with viewing the spreadsheet XML within Excel. But COBieLite XML focuses on providing just the data.

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COBieLite XML is a fomat that is well suited for importing into other software applications. However, the generation of COBieLite XML files within BIM authoring applications is not widely supported.

Producing COBieLite XML data

COBie Toolkit – for converting COBie spreadsheet XML to COBieLite XML

The National Institute of Building Sciences provide a COBie Toolkit, which can be used for producing COBieLite XML. The toolkit can be downloaded from this NIBS page (the link is approximately half way down the page).

We are often required to produce COBieLite XML and regularly use the COBie Toolkit.