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Digital twin

What is a digital twin?

The purpose of a building digital twin is to provide the asset owner valuable insights, analysis, controls and predictions about the real-world counterpart. By simulating the behaviour and characteristics of the physical entity in real-time, it enables better understanding, optimisation and decision-making.

A digital twin requires clearly communicated requirements, correct specification of connected assets and a BIM execution plan tailored to include digital asset delivery.

A digital twin of a construction project with the integration of Building Information Modelling (BIM) with digital twin technology provides a comprehensive view of the construction process, improving collaboration between different teams and contractors. This integration allows for the automatic updating of the digital twin with the latest data from the construction site, ensuring that all stakeholders have access to up-to-date information.

Once a building or infrastructure is operational, digital twins continue to provide value throughout the facility management and maintenance phases. Facility managers can use digital twins to monitor equipment performance, energy consumption and overall building health in real-time, then make automated interventions to improve the performance, reduce the energy usage and meet the needs of the facility’s users.

The benefits of digital twins

Digital twins in other sectors include many of the benefits that BIM has already realised for the built environment. What digital twins do beyond BIM is connect all the data together to provide a complete picture of how an asset operates for everyone from leaders to operatives.

Digital twins allow for remote management. This reduces the need for on site visits, but is essential when the digital twin is managing a risky or remote environment.

Implementing digital twins

Implementing digital twins requires a different process to the traditional construction process, which BIM enhances, but does not replace. Implementing digital twins is part of a wider organisational strategy to operate using evidence-based decision making. The digital twin strategy for the organisation will ensure the necessary data sources are available, usable and fulfil the requirements of the organisation. This requires the integration of data sources and software tools that is itself an undertaking that requires change management. Once the data, tools and processes for managing assets with evidence have been established digital twins can be created to deliver reliable, trustworthy data to the organisation.

The future of digital twins

The future prospects of digital twins in the built environment are promising. As the approach continues to evolve, it is expected to become more accessible, user-friendly, and cost-effective. Advances in AI and machine learning are enhancing the predictive capabilities of digital twins, making them useful tools for architects, engineers, contractors and facility managers.

Overall, the implementation of digital twins in the built environment can lead to more efficient, sustainable and user-friendly spaces. They help with reducing costs, optimising resources and enhancing safety. As the approach continues to advance, the benefits of digital twins are likely to become even more pronounced, revolutionising how we design, build, and manage the built environment.

To discover how gliderbim® can support your digital twin strategy, get in touch with our team of experts.

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Common Data Environment

What is a Common Data Environment (CDE)?

In construction and the built environment, successful project delivery hinges on effective collaboration, information sharing and streamlined communication between the various stakeholders. A Common Data Environment (CDE) is a crucial solution to achieve these objectives.

A Common Data Environment (CDE) is a centralised digital platform. It facilitates the collaborative management and sharing of project-related information and data throughout the lifecycle of a built asset from design, construction, and operation.

The introduction of BIM and digital technologies brought about significant improvements in project collaboration. However, the information teams were working with was unreliable and prone to error. File sharing information via email led to significant rework being required. Files would be lost.  Or the wrong versions shared. Many in the supply chain struggled to find the information they needed.

A single source of truth

A CDE serves as a single source of truth for all stakeholders involved in a project. This includes architects, engineers, contractors, project managers and the client.

Whether it is data rich 3D models, structured datasets such as COBie, or documents, the core purpose of a CDE is to ensure information is controlled and managed effectively. Having a centralised platform reduces the risk of errors, miscommunications and discrepancies and can enhance efficiency, collaboration and project coordination.

High standards

A CDE promotes transparency and accountability. Maintaining a detailed record of all actions and changes made within the platform minimises risk and enhances project oversight. This ensures all work is done on time and to a high standard.

Despite the rapid adoption of digital design tools, there are still many documents to manage. There are key differences, and similarities, between how structured and unstructured information flows through the CDE. So care should be taken when selecting and implementing a CDE.

AIM CDEs for operation

A key distinction to be aware of is the growing understanding that the CDE for project delivery. It is unlikely to be the same as the CDE needed post-handover. With the growing number of smart buildings which are highly connected, the concept of building operators needing a CDE to manage their asset data, which first emerged in PAS1192-3:2014, is gaining traction. This type of CDE is an Asset Information Model CDE (AIM CDE).

Setting up an AIM CDE happens well in advance of handover to allow for a seamless, risk free process. Data testing, systems integrations and validation and verification processes have to be successfully performed before any data sharing can begin. It is best practice to run an AIM CDE in parallel with the Project CDE from the earliest stages of a project, which allows the team to work towards a first-class digital handover which has started with the end in mind.

To understand more about how CDEs can be configured to support the use of ISO 19650 processes, check out the UK BIM Framework Guidance document.

Transforming the built environment

In summary, a Common Data Environment plays a pivotal role in transforming the built environment. It enables effective collaboration, streamlined information management and improved project delivery. By centralising project data and providing real-time access to accurate information, a CDE enhances efficiency, reduces errors, and fosters a more productive and sustainable built environment. Embracing this technology-driven approach empowers key stakeholders to overcome traditional challenges and welcomes a new era of construction excellence.


Discover how gliderbim® software is used as a Common Data Environment in our Client Success Stories.

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UK BIM Framework

What is the UK BIM Framework?

The UK BIM Framework website is an invaluable resource for anyone who would like to know more about BIM, the standards and thought leadership.

The resources include several key components:

  • Standards

The website signposts you to all of the required standards necessary to adopt the Framework. These include the standards, UK standards as well as several best practice standards that complement the core standards.

  • Guidance

The site delivers complete guidance for implementing and operating BIM on projects. These cover every stage of the construction lifecycle from delivery to operation and include useful checklists to successfully implement information management using BIM.

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There are a number of useful resources available that complement the implementation of BIM. The Information Management Assignment Matrix ensures that the tasks required to implement BIM are allocated to the right parties. The Information Protocol, a template to incorporate the implementation of the Framework into contracts. It also includes learning outcomes to allow organisations to support the delivery of BIM training.


nima (formerly the UK BIM Alliance) is a fundamental element of the Framework and Glider is proud to be both active members and patrons, supporting the digital transformation of our industry.

The UK BIM Framework has played a crucial role in driving BIM adoption in the construction industry. It promotes collaboration among stakeholders, and delivering projects more efficiently and sustainably. It has become a model for other countries seeking to implement BIM standards and processes in their own construction sectors.

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To find out more about how you can drive more efficiency, collaboration and innovation in your construction projects, speak to our .

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What is IFC?

IFC is developed and maintained by buildingSMART to standardise BIM processes and data exchange in the construction and infrastructure industries. The purpose of IFC is to enable stakeholders in the construction industry, including architects, engineers, contractors, property managers and other professionals to collaborate more effectively.

Since different professions use different software tools, the exchange of information between them can be challenging. IFC provides a standardised format that allows these applications to share and exchange BIM data seamlessly during the entire lifecycle of a construction project.

The adoption of IFC promotes collaboration, streamlines data exchange, enhances project coordination, and empowers data-driven decision-making, ultimately leading to reduced project costs, improved project outcomes and overall success.

IFCs are used as a foundational element in the creation of asset digital twins, providing well specified and validated data that forms a key element of a digital twin strategy.

IFC plays a vital role in enabling data interoperability and collaboration within the BIM ecosystem, allowing various stakeholders to exchange accurate and comprehensive information during the entire lifecycle of a construction project.


To find out more about how your projects can benefit from IFC, get in touch with our team of IFC experts.

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ISO 19650

What is ISO 19650?

The UK BIM Framework website hosts a brilliantly produced, and regularly updated set of guidance documents to the ISO 19650 standards, we recommend reading to understand the process instead of the standards which are highly technical.

There are two main parts to ISO 19650:

  • ISO 19650-1:2018 – Part 1:

Concepts and principles

  • The definition of common terms and concepts related to BIM and information management.
  • The importance of clear and consistent information requirements and specifications.
  • The collaboration and coordination among stakeholders involved in the project.
  • The role of information management plans and the need for documentation and record-keeping.
  • ISO 19650-2:2018 – Part 2

Delivery phase of assets

  • Information delivery planning and exchange requirements.
  • The organisation of information within a Common Data Environment (CDE).
  • File naming conventions and data structures for BIM models.
  • The use of validation and approval processes for exchanged information.

With these processes implemented in full, the effectiveness of the supply chain, the loss of data and the need for rework throughout the entire lifecycle of a built asset, from concept and design through construction to operation and maintenance can be assured.

The standards enable a structured and standardised approach to BIM implementation, facilitating collaboration among project stakeholders which ensures the effective use of digital information throughout the asset lifecycle.

As ISO 19650 is an international standard, many countries around the world are implementing it with their own national annexes, which provide additional national guidance that can be followed with the confidence of not conflicting with the core content.

The UK National Annex incorporates the enhanced version of UK BIM , referred to as BIM Level 2, and this section should be followed closely when working on UK projects.


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What is COBie?

COBie is a way to share data.

It facilitates the efficient transfer of asset data and information from design and construction teams to facility managers and owners. It provides valuable information in a structured, non-proprietary format that can be used by many software tools.

COBie ensures that the relevant data is readily available for facilities management and operations, allowing for efficient maintenance and upkeep throughout the building’s lifecycle.

COBie data is typically delivered as a spreadsheet for people to use and an Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) file for their tools. The COBie instance contains information about the maintainable building elements and attributes.

Some of the common COBie information includes:

  • Spatial information – COBie provides spatial data, indicating the physical locations of various building components, rooms and zones. This information aids in space management and allocation.
  • Equipment data – COBie includes information about the equipment installed in the building. This includes model numbers, serial numbers, manufacturer information, installation dates, and warranty details. This data helps facility managers identify and manage different equipment assets efficiently.
  • Product data – Facility managers can use product specifications, quantities, and performance characteristics to plan maintenance, repairs, and replacements effectively.
  • Maintenance schedules – COBie contains maintenance tasks, frequencies and procedures for different building systems and components. This data is used to develop preventive maintenance plans to reduce potential downtime and prolong the lifespan of assets.
  • Warranty information – COBie captures warranty details for installed equipment and materials to help facility managers identify assets under warranty and take full advantage of repair or replacement services.
  • Contact information – COBie may include contact details of suppliers, manufacturers and service providers associated with the building’s assets. This gives easy access to technical support for maintenance teams

BIM models, enriched with detailed information and properties, form the basis for generating COBie data. With the intelligent data stored in the BIM elements, such as objects with associated attributes and properties, it can be efficiently exported to a COBie format. This ensures data continuity and consistency throughout the project lifecycle.

The value of COBie

The true value of COBie becomes evident when data sharing occurs between various project stages and new suppliers, particularly during construction handover. Typically, it encompasses information absent in design models, such as serial numbers and installation dates. To guarantee the capture and validation of this crucial data for future utilisation, the Exchange Information Requirements (EIR) outline the necessary specifications, while the technical approach to validation and verification is established and tested from the outset.


To find out how the Glider team can support your project in delivering first-class handover information including COBie, talk to our digital experts.

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Building Information Modelling (BIM)

What is Building Information Modelling (BIM)?

BIM goes beyond traditional 2D drawings and blueprints, as it encompasses a 3D model with intelligent objects that power design and specifications.

Building Information Modelling enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the construction and management of buildings and infrastructure. It helps to reduce errors, minimise waste, improve collaboration and deliver projects more cost-effectively and with higher quality.

Over the last decade or so, BIM has, understandably but incorrectly, become interchangeable with the wider digital adoption agenda for the built environment. After much work over a number of years, there is now an accepted definition of BIM enshrined in the international standards.
The key components and characteristics of BIM include:

  • 3D models that represent the physical and functional characteristics of the project’s components, such as walls, doors, windows, structural elements, HVAC systems, plumbing and more.
  • Intelligent information such as material specifications, dimensions, performance data and maintenance requirements.
  • Collaboration and coordination so all stakeholders can work together on the same model, share information and detect any potential issues early in the project.
  • Lifecycle information management from the initial design through to construction, operation and even demolition. The data accumulated during the lifecycle can be valuable for facilities management and future renovations.
  • Data interoperability so those involved in the project can exchange data seamlessly even if they are using different software packages.
  • Accurate quantities and cost estimation thanks to intelligent objects and connected data.
  • Simulate and analyse energy performance and sustainability aspects of a building.


Building Information Modelling ISO19650
“The use of a shared digital representation of a built asset to facilitate design, construction and operation processes to form a reliable basis for decisions”


ISO 19650 recommends concepts and principles for business processes across the built environment for using BIM during the life cycle of built assets from procurement through to asset management. Rather than attempting to redefine or improve upon this internationally agreed definition, it is better to direct people who would like to know more about BIM to the UK BIM Framework.

The UK BIM Framework encourages the use of Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) and Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) as standard formats for data exchange to enable effective collaboration across the supply chain.

To implement BIM effectively during the operational phase of a building’s life cycle, the government has mandated Government Soft Landings (GSL). This ensures better asset management and performance by engaging construction and operational teams in the handover process.

The UK BIM Mandate announcement set a lot of actions in motion and is still a driving force today for keeping the UK at the forefront of the international BIM community.


If you’d like to speak to one of our BIM experts, get in touch.