ISO 19650: When you should adopt it and why

When should asset owners and construction clients switch to the ISO 19650 series of standards? Paul Shillcock, author of ISO 19650-2 and the UK National Annex and the co-author of PAS 1192-2, offers some guidance.

Asset owners and construction clients who have already adopted the UK 1192 series should find the transition to the ISO 19650 series relatively straightforward, because the fundamental concepts and principles of the UK 1192 series remain.– Paul Shillcock

The 1192 series was developed to define BIM Level 2 in the UK. Since its publication, the series has been widely adopted around the world by asset owners and construction clients seeking to reduce risk, increase predictability and achieve better business outcomes. This success led to the international community requesting that the UK 1192 series be elevated to international level.

In response, an international working group was set up in 2014 tasked with the development of the new ISO 19650 series. In December 2018, the first two documents within the new series were published. These cover the concepts and principles for the management of information across the asset lifecycle and the management of information during the delivery phase of assets.

Both documents have subsequently been adopted by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and published as British standards, which has led to the withdrawal of BS 1192 and PAS 1192-2.

Currently under development are the next two documents, Part 3 and Part 5. Both documents are due to be published in early 2020. They will cover the management of information during the operational phase of assets and the adoption of a security-minded approach to the management of information relating to sensitive assets.

With the introduction of the ISO 19650 series, when should asset owners and construction clients switch from the UK 1192 series?

Having been asked this question on a number of occasions, I thought I would share five reasons to switch and help organisations make their decision.

1. The ISO 19650 series is a truly international standard

Yes, the ISO 19650 series uses the UK 1192 series as its basis, but they are not UK standards. The elevation of the UK 1192 series has been overseen by an international working group, with each member representing the interests of their respective national standards body. The process of gaining an international consensus took more than four and half years. The documents have also been issued globally for public consultation.

During this period hundreds of comments have been submitted, with each one considered by the international working group. In my view, this means that the ISO 19650 series is truly an international standard.

2. The ISO 19650 series includes the best practice from the UK 1192 series

BS 1192 was published 12 years ago and PAS 1192-2 was published six years later in 2013. Since that time, many lessons have been learnt. This has resulted in the emergence of best practice for key activities such as establishing requirements for information, preparing an invitation to tender and information delivery planning.

This best practice was intended to be incorporated into a major revision of the UK 1192 series during 2018. However, due to its imminent release, the lessons learnt and best practice was included within the ISO 19650 series instead.

3. The transition to ISO 19650 series is simple

Asset owners and construction clients who have already adopted the UK 1192 series should find the transition to the ISO 19650 series relatively straightforward. This is because the fundamental concepts and principles of the UK 1192 series remain, plus in the main, the activities within the information management process are unchanged.

The information management process within the ISO 19650 series has also been simplified, which also helps organisations who are yet to adopt any standards. This is largely due to the introduction of the information management function, which is made up of the different parties and teams involved in the project.

Within the ISO 19650 series, the responsibility for each activity is assigned to one of the parties. The party responsible can choose to undertake the activity themselves, employ a third party to undertake it on their behalf, or discharge their responsibility to another party. Annex A within ISO 19650-2 also provides an information management responsibility assignment matrix template, which can be used to assign responsibility at the start of a project.

4. The ISO 19650 series is flexible

During the development process, it became apparent there were regional variances as to how some of the requirements within the ISO 19650 series were to be met. Typically, this would relate to established information standards or production methods and procedures within a country or region. This led to the introduction of a national annex.

A national annex does not add any additional requirements but enables each standards body to provide clarification on the information standards or production methods and procedures to be adopted when implementing the ISO 19650 series in that country or region. To date, only the UK has published their national annex, but work is under way in many countries to develop and publish their own national standard.

5. The ISO 19650 series represents the latest industry standards and best practice.

The ISO 19650 series represents the latest industry standards and best practice and provide a unified approach that enables delivery teams to collaborate around an internationally agreed set of standards. As such, delivery teams are already aligning their business processes to the new series in anticipation of the standards being adopted by asset owners and construction clients.

In particular, multinational teams are also establishing the capability and capacity to manage and produce information in accordance with the ISO 19650 series to enable distributed teams to work effectively on the same project.

To conclude, in my view, asset owners and construction clients are recommended to switch from the UK 1192 series sooner, rather than later.

Paul Shillcock is principal adviser for BIM specialist Operam.

If you have comments on the information within this article, or if you need some support in understanding the benefits and impact of adopting the ISO 19650 series, then please get in touch at [email protected] or visit 

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  1. This ISO is very ideal. Could you quote any currently available system or combination of systems that can perform as required by the Common Data Environment (CDE) described in ISO19650?

  2. When will UKAS be offering accredited certification to ISO 19650 please?

  3. Hi Paul,
    Agree with your comments. We are already incorporating ISO 19650-0, 1 and 2 into our existing 1192 implementations and this is backed up by enshrining both into our 9001:2015 QA certification processes and procedures.

    9001 has eliminated any need for us to jump on the extortionate band wagon of specific 1192 certification. Our 9001 implementations can incorporate 19650 alongside or on top of 1192 in a simple seamless way at no additional expense.

    19650 is easy to implement if you already have 1192 sorted. I am currently modifying our pre-contract BEP to incorporate 19650 and have modified our Revit template and CDE accordingly. By reviewing and check-listing key events/deliverable requirements as outlined by the RIBA PoW 2013 guides on Project Leadership, Design Management and Information Exchanges, alongside the dPOW and some other recommended processes and procedures, as well as the various standards, protocols and classifications forming the foundation of 1192, we have enshrined everything into our 9001 certification and can slot in 19650 quickly and easily. It works well for us and we have seen considerable tangible and intangible benefits/ROI for both our business, our clients and fellow supply chain organisations we work with and get repeat business from.

    One small fly in the ointment though is the continued use of prescriptive values in the file identifier. I believe, and practical implementation of the 1192 file identifier has proved, that whilst fine for the standards to recommend the field name titles and even the range of chars to be used, that being prescriptive with the values in some of the fields should not be the realm of the Standards. Instead these should be project specific codes agreed across project teams via their BEPs. The prescriptive codes have proved to be inflexible to real world requirements and should be done away with in 19650 in my opinion.

    I do have one other bugbear, not related to 19650. This is the NBS move from NBS Create to NBS Chorus. It’s not Chorus itself, which looks good, but the 36% price hike in licence costs we have just been hit with for our annual licence renewals! Software costs, as we are forced into more Cloud and rental based licencing technologies, greater collaborative solutions and “disruptive technologies”, are a major concern to SMEs like us. My IT software budgets are considerable and are my biggest annual expense by a long, long way. When my software costs annually equate to two or three qualified architects’ salaries, I start questioning the benefits of cost over ROI and software over the intellectual property/social benefits invested by employing more staff. The industry’s professional organisations need to start challenging the software developers about this, especially where the developers have monopolistic dominance in the industry.

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