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BIM Protocols and ISO19650

Article by Rudd van Deventer

(Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash)

"Effectively, change is almost impossible without industry-wide collaboration, cooperation, and consensus." – Simon Mainwaring

It is nearly impossible to manage any complex system without some sort of standard to work to. This is very true of BIM and while a set of global standards are evolving, South Africa is split between the UK and European on one side and the USA on the other. However, the ISO 19650 set of standards is accepted by all parties.

Working with other parties I have followed up on where ISO 19650 is in its move to adoption. It appeared that the committee that is responsible for ISO 19650, SABS/TC 059 was not interested in pursuing the matter! South Africa is neither a P (participate) or an O (observe) member of ISO TC 059/SC 13 under which ISAO 19560 falls, so this was a bit of a dead end.

Officially that that should have been where it ended, but SABS/TC 267 committee, who were responsible for the ISO 41000 Facilities Management standard got involved and decided to support the adoption of ISO 19650-1 and ISO 19650-2. The ballot for acceptance closed on the 27 August 2021 and it has now been accepted as a South African Standard.

Now that it has passed it will require the involvement of the local industry to prepare the National Annex. The National Annex is the critical document in putting a South African ‘Flavour’ on how we work with ISO 19650 and which system we adopt for the categorization of entities, spaces, elements, components, systems, and products.

We also need to overlay South African contract requirements and ensure that the main providers of these documents NEC, JBCC etc. word their clauses correctly. This has proven to be a mine field in other parts of the world with the adoption of BIM and exposed many practitioners to unseen risks. Luckily, we have access to this knowledge and do not have to relearn their lessons. Maybe some of our own unique challenges will need to be resolved.

I already have support from SAIA to support the initiative to prepare a National Annex and to work with other industry bodies to formulate a document that brings South Africa up to international standards. I assume that we can count on the BIMcommUNITY for support!

We are awaiting the more formal notifications but are getting organised in the meantime. We have started a Microsoft Teams site and anyone who is interested in getting involved can approach Angela ( to get added to the team.

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