What does it mean to be a COBie Master?

July 2021

by Dr Bill East, PhD, PE, F.ASCE Chair, buildingSMART International COBie Certification Subcommittee

The Construction Operation Building information exchange (COBie) is an information delivery specification often typically delivered at the end of a project. However, the goal of COBie is to highlight how handover information can be captured and delivered during design and construction saving both time and money compared with traditional handover methods.

Over more than a dozen years since COBie’s release, teams continue to rely on inefficient and costly processes that produce inaccurate information that cannot be trusted by those who paid for the data to be provided.

COBie Certified Professionals™ know that opportunities for capturing real-time as-built data do not come at the end of the process - but during construction administration, quality control and commissioning.

Those who understand how these benefits can be found and delivered using COBie should sit for the COBie Certified Professional™ examination, to demonstrate their knowledge and instilling much-needed confidence in an owner that the handover information they receive is what the project team has been paid to deliver.

The COBie Certified Professional™ examination allows COBie masters to give everyone on the team peace of mind and risk reduction when it comes to facility handover.

The COBie Certified Professional™ exam is an Individual Qualification exam authorized through the buildingSMART Professional Certification Program. Those who successfully pass the examination join an elite group of global COBie experts.

COBie Certified Professionals are in a unique position to evaluate the business process and technology used by a company and begin to identify how to directly integrate handover data capture. When competitors are not optimising their business the same way, the direct and overhead costs translate directly to profit.

Today, many companies claim they can deliver to the COBie specification - and selling their services based on that claim. In most cases these companies are not guided by COBie Certified Professionals. Without a proper qualification, it may be that a company does not have anyone who has even read the COBie specification.

The resulting melee of results muddies the waters on what is and is not acceptable. Without a qualified COBie professional on the job, owners end up paying for COBie, and may get data that is incorrect and can not be used.

A COBie master has the technical and experiential knowledge to evaluate the quality of a COBie submission and explain what needs to be corrected.

By hiring a COBie Certified Professional, asset owners can be confident in evaluating the quality of deliverables and data as a quality control activity. They can collect data in a way that is efficient for the project handover, while also increasing profits and eliminating survey costs.

Furthermore, an on-staff COBie master can provide a service for all projects as an internal consultant within the company, working the BIM management team, authoring tools, administrative professionals and quality control. They can also train other team members to properly ‘do’ and deliver COBie data. They become an in-house expert.

Generally, I recommend any contractor has two COBie Certified Professionals on staff, both acting as consultants and training other team members. This avoids a skills gap if anyone leaves.

But not just anyone can be a COBie master! The exam is stringent and puts COBie knowledge to the test - it’s a tough nut to crack, but those who can pass unlock a new level of possibilities when it comes to future employment. To find out more about the buildingSMART COBie Certified Professional™ examination visit the buildingSMART COBie website