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21 Aug 2017

LEGO Architecture meets BIM – Part 28: COBie


We are now moving towards the end of the blog series on LEGO Architecture meets BIM. In this post we look at how the data from the LEGO model can be extracted into a COBie format.  The main purpose of COBie is to provide a transfer mechanism of data produced with a BIM process into a format that can be used by Facilties Managers. This data is provided for maintaining an asset (in this case the Villa Savoye, although in LEGO format!) after the completion of construction.

I am not going to cover a detailed explanation of COBie in this blog piece. There are lots of materials elsewhere on our blog on this subject including our COBie Resources and various blog posts. The main aim here is to show how the LEGO data would appear in a COBie output. I wanted those who want to understand the LEGO data and are interested in COBie to be able to see the relationship between the LEGO set and handover information.

Note: COBie in this piece is shown as an Excel output but COBie in itself is not Excel.


The information contained on this first tab is a summary of the rest of the contents of the Excel document. For example it tells us the version of IFC and COBie as well as the Sheets that have items on and how many items.

Image: COBie Instruction Sheet (click to enlarge)


For this project there was only myself involved producing data so there is only a single line for my contact data.

Image: COBie Contact Sheet (click to enlarge)


A COBie file should also only contain a single Facility so if multiple buildings exist then there would be multiple COBie files. Here we should only see one line for the Facility. This includes data from the Project, Site and Building levels of IFC.

Image: COBie Facility Sheet (click to enlarge)


Floors in IFC are called Building Storeys and this information is captured in COBie as a line for each Floor. We have 4 floors defined for the Villa Savoye LEGO model.

Image: COBie Floor Sheet (click to enlarge)


Spaces were not an integral part of the LEGO model but were created to allow us to report each LEGO piece against them. They are critical part of COBie as this also needs this data to report Components. There are 10 Spaces in the Villa Savoye LEGO model.

Image: COBie Space Sheet (click to enlarge)


Each of the 10 Spaces in the model is associated to a Zone. In this case we have Circulation and Occupancy Zones. There are 3 Zones for this project.

Image: COBie Zone Sheet (click to enlarge)


The Type Sheet lists out all the Components that share the same fundamental characteristics. Each type of LEGO brick is displayed as a single line in the COBie data below. There are 93 Types captured here.

Note: Manufacturer should really be an email address but we have just put ‘LEGO’ in this field as a placeholder for a correct email address.

Image: COBie Type Sheet (click to enlarge)


Each individual piece of LEGO is captured line by line on the Component sheet. So the 659 pieces of LEGO in the set are all captured here. The only piece missing is the piece that can make the LEGO apart. This could be added in if it was required for handover.

Image: COBie Component Sheet (click to enlarge)


Each of the Components in the LEGO set is part of a LEGO System and there are 11 Systems used by the Villa Savoye set.

Image: COBie System Sheet (click to enlarge)


Image: COBie Document Sheet (click to enlarge)


The attributes tab shows further data associated to the model data. There are actually 15427 attributes created as part of this model. In truth some of this could be reduced by associating more data to Type level rather than Component level but this was more to do with the limitation of the authoring tool at the time of creation, which wouldn’t be an issue if the model was created from scratch today.

Image: COBie Attribute Sheet (click to enlarge)


Coordinate data is created automatically. There are 1342 lines of data associated to the Coordinate sheet. In reality this data is of limited use in real life and it is likely to be removed in a future version of COBie.

Image: COBie Coordinate Sheet (click to enlarge)


The information shown above has been generated solely using the original authored model data from GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD, with the exception of the Documents tab which was completed manually. In reality data will come from a whole host of sources with manufacturer and field data coming from other software solutions. Equally a typical handover won’t just have data from one authoring tool. So whilst this is not a real example of COBie it does show how even a child’s toy can be turned into useful structured and reusable data!!

In a later post we will share the actual COBie file for those who want to use it or look at it in more detail or use it for test purposes.

Rob Jackson, Associate Director, Bond Bryan Digital


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