ISO 19650 National Annex

ISO 19650 National Annex

ISO 19650 was published in December 2018. And you’ve probably got some questions around the ISO 19650 National Annex.

During the process of developing ISO 19650-2. It became obvious that there were some things that we were just not going to be able to get international consensus on. Particularly when it came to standardised conventions and codification. So we came up with the idea of including regional specific requirements within an national annex.

ISO 19650 National Annex: Helping define the requirements

The idea being that ISO 19650-2 defines the requirements, and the national annexes define the standards. Those that must be used to meet the requirements in a particular region.

To give you an example; there’s a requirement within ISO 19650-2 for information to be classified.  In the UK National Annex, it states that the classification system to be used is Uniclass 2015. And we would expect the US National Annex to state the classification system to be used is Omniclass.

This enables the ISO 19650-2 requirement for information to be classified to be met. But in a way that allows flexibility for each region to use standards that are already in place.

The other big sticking point was naming conventions.

ISO 19650-2 states that each information container is to have a unique ID. But people have struggled to adopt the convention defined within BS 1192.  It was impossible getting international consensus that was acceptable to all.

Whilst ISO 19650-2 helped to overcame the barrier, it didn’t solve the problem.

ISO 19650 National Annex

The addition of ISO 19650 National Annex enabled the standards to be completed. And enable us to meet the needs of different regions. But in doing so we failed as a working group to create a truly common approach.

This is because organizations who work in different regions will still need to comply with their local standards. This of course adds unnecessary overheads. Such as continuously educating teams and maintaining multiple configurations in the common data environments.

I believe this could create problems going forward. Obviously the new ISO 19650 National Annex is designed to help solve these problems.

But take naming conventions as an example.  Imagine a company working on projects in 10 different countries around the world. Rather than just create information using a common naming convention. They could end up with a different naming convention for every project. That’s far from ideal.

Not only will this create an administration overhead. It will be confusing for individuals. And the aim of the ISO is to try and avoid confusion.  Plus, an added complication is information that is to be shared between teams using different national annexes, will still need their container ID’s to be mapped too.

All because the international community couldn’t agree an internationally acceptable naming convention.

I hope that at some point in the future, one convention will rise to the top. And for that convention to become the norm. But I don’t expect this to happen for a long time.

ISO 19650 National Annex: The biggest challenge around naming conventions

It probably comes as no surprise that people are the biggest challenge with naming conventions.. As naming conventions are always an emotive subject.  Everybody thinks that their way and their convention is the best.

The other problem of course,  is that even if there was an internationally agreed convention. Everyone still seems to want to create their own version of it. This is our experience of the convention defined within BS 1192.

We’ve seen people swear blind that their convention is compliant to the standards or close enough. But if it’s different in any way, then it’s not standard. Imagine adding another pin to a plug and saying it’s close enough!

In my experience, people will take fields out, because they don’t understand why it’s needed. Or switch fields around to suit their personal preference. I’ve also seen people add extra fields because they want to include extra information. Doing so builds out on to what is already a very long ID.

I’m not a big fan of any convention which tries to introduce additional intelligence to what is just a unique ID for an information container.

I get the principle, that anyone should be able to look at an ID and work it out. Understanding from the different field, the information they need about the container. But normally, people don’t know, or care, what each code means. So, changing the ID doesn’t even achieve what it’s meant to achieve.

The ideal naming convention

My preference would be to adopt a serialized number approach. Either at an asset level, a national level, or ideally, an international level. This approach would mean that any additional information, such as project, originator and location would still be available. But instead added as metadata attributed to each information container.

You can read more on what Uniclass 2015 is at the NBS: Uniclass 2015 a unified classification for the UK industry.

And to learn more on changes to BIM standards, this BSI article explains more.

ISO 19650 National Annex is there to help you.   You should go here, if you’d like to learn more about the transition from UK 1192 to ISO 19650.