buildingSMART talks to COBie Certified Professional Emma Hooper

August 2021

Associate Digital Information Specialist, Emma Hooper is the co-author of “Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit”, and was one of the very first digital construction specialists to succeed in becoming a buildingSMART COBie Certified Professional™.

Now a certified COBie Master, Emma works with clients to help structure their information requirements and deliver those requirements by setting up delivery workflows. Using COBie, Emma helps to define workflows to deliver and check data before handing that data over to a client.

With many other strings to her bow, Emma is also a UK BIM Alliance Ambassador and sits on the committee for buildingSMART UK & Ireland. Emma was part of a group who wrote the guidance for ISO 19650 information requirements, she sits on the BSI Standards committee and is classed as a UK expert for ISO 16739. You may also know Emma from her Autodesk Revit blog series!

We recently asked Emma to talk to us about her experiences and share some insights into COBie.

When did you first hear about COBie?

Emma Hooper

Emma Hooper

I first heard about COBie around ten years ago. It was completely new at the time, and it still is enormously innovative. Back in 2011, not much was known about it in the wider AEC community. I knew it was some kind of data set, but there wasn’t a lot of information out there yet.

I personally didn’t know a lot about COBie until a few years later. In 2014, I started getting asked for help delivering COBie from Autodesk Revit, so I began to work it out for myself. I wanted to learn how to deliver COBie from Revit using industry foundation classes (IFC) – and there was very little information about the process at the time. It took me on a very long journey - and that’s what my blog is all about.

It’s taken me a few years to really understand the nuts and bolts of COBie and other structured information, what its purpose is, and how it benefits the construction industry but I think I have finally cracked it.

How does COBie benefit the industry?

We need to be using structured information a lot more across the board. At the moment there’s a mixture of unstructured and structured information about. We should be creating structured information around data models such as IFC. COBie is a sub-schema of IFC that focuses on the operational phase - such as maintenance, repair and asset registration.

I use the IFC data model to help structure information requirements and help the delivery team to deliver information against those requirements - and COBie is a big part of that. It’s very much about providing that consistency each time.

What COBie does is provide that consistent structure so that every project has a similar goal - goal posts aren’t moving and creating chaos and confusion. COBie has been tested and proven to work, and work well. Whereas if you create bespoke data structures for every project, you then have a certain amount of time spent with the team getting their head around that data structure, figuring out how to deliver it with the software available, and then doing the all-important checks. COBie is consistent - if your team already understands COBie and has the tools to deliver it, they’re already several steps ahead of the process. And we already have the set rules in place to test and check that structured information.

I just think it makes such a massive difference to both the output of quality data, and to the efficiency of the team delivering it.

You’re a COBie Certified Professional™ - how did you find the process of this?

I was asked to take the examination by Bill East - with whom I wrote the book “Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit” – therefore I was one of the first to gain the qualification.

It was a proper exam. It was adjudicated, with tough questions and a set time limit. It was really challenging, which I loved. I’ve done exams in the past that have been quite easy to pass and you don’t really feel tested, so it doesn’t mean as much. This test needs extensive preparation and revision to secure a pass.

To pass the COBie Certified Professional™ Examination, you really need to know your stuff. If you pass it, you feel like you’ve met the criteria and can feel very confident in your knowledge that you know what you’re talking about.

Taking the test has confirmed to me and to those I’m working with that I really do know what I’m talking about! It’s also not just about COBie but on a wider level it shows you understand the more technical aspects of structured information.

Who should take the exam?

Anybody writing information requirements based on COBie should sit this test. It will greatly benefit anyone helping delivery teams to deliver COBie, or checking or writing rules to check it. This all requires a really specific and detailed knowledge to do so effectively.

It’s also great to have it on your CV - it’s one thing to say that you can deliver COBie but to have this prestigious check mark against your name really makes a difference.

To find out more about the buildingSMART COBie Certified Professional™ examination and to test your own knowledge visit our website or contact us to discuss if you believe you are ready you take the test.

As Emma says, this is a tough examination and really does test your knowledge and COBie skills. The benefits of successfully passing this test are not just internal recognition for skill in this area, but afford you the opportunity of working with more clients and winning more projects.