Geo Week News

January 12, 2015

New USIBD Documents Protect Building Documentation Stakeholders

You may have heard by now that the U.S. Institute of Building Documentation (USIBD) [] recently released its first series of documents. These documents include:

Why is this so important?

Currently there are no licensure requirements for one to perform building documentation services within the U.S. and there are likely no plans to make this a licensed profession. As such, anyone can offer building documentation services.

The result is a mix of highly experienced professionals competing for the same projects as inexperienced individuals who are just entering the field. Add in the rapid advancement of easy-to-use push button technologies that allow for rapid data capture of complex existing conditions as well as owners who don’t understand how all this works and you have a recipe for trouble.

The USIBD recognized this and, through the publication of these documents, intends to provide tools that will protect those seeking building documentation services, as well as service providers.

What will the documents do for me?

  • The RFQ template is designed to help owners qualify their service providers to ensure they have qualified individuals/firms bidding on their jobs. 
  • The RFP template is designed to provide service providers with the information they need in order to return “apples-to-apples” bids. Many owners are not knowledgeable enough, either about building documentation or the technologies being utilized by service providers, to write a proper RFP. Using this template will ensure all the most important elements of the RFP are included and communicated in a way that is meaningful to the bidders. This reduces the bidder’s risk by presenting the project requirements more clearly. Reducing the bidders risk means they will be more competitive and less likely to add unnecessary contingency for unknowns.  Ultimately the owner should see tighter bid spreads and lower fees.
  • The 3D Imaging Specification utilizes the Construction Specifications Institute’s (CSI) widely accepted PageFormat, which ensures that architects and other design professionals have a tool for specifying 3D Imaging services in a format they are already familiar with. This spec is comprehensive, flexible, and can easily be incorporated into the RFP template. It covers items not included in the RFP template, so when 3D Imaging services are needed, this specification provides the author a very structured method of communicating what is required. This reduces risk for all stakeholders and provides a tool for accountability of the deliverables.
  • The Level of Accuracy (LOA) Specification incorporates other recognized standards such as the DIN 18710 and CSI’s UniFormat 2010. The LOA is completely independent of the method of measurement, allowing the service provider the freedom to select whichever instrument and method they determine to be appropriate to achieve the specified LOA.  

    This LOA spec works for both 2D and 3D deliverables, and allows the author to specify accuracy in a very general way or a very specific way. This makes it ideal for both small and large projects alike. Uniquely, the LOA framework allows for measured accuracy to be specified separate from represented accuracy.  This can be very important when, for example, processing a registered point cloud into a modeled deliverable. 

    Owners benefit by having a way to ensure they are not overpaying for accuracies they don’t really need and by reducing the risk of service providers taking short cuts. The LOA spec also helps the service provider in a bid situation, since they can be sure their competitors will be required to utilize similar means and methods to achieve the specified LOA.

While these four documents won’t solve all of the problems faced by building documentation stakeholders, they certainly will help clarify intent and reduce risk for all interested parties.  If you are interested in obtaining a copy these documents they will be available to download free of charge on the USIBD website until March 15th.

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