Guaranteeing strict file naming to become ISO 19650 compliant

written by
Marcus Roberts
Oct 25, 2023
minutes read

Guaranteeing strict file naming to become ISO 19650 compliant

ISO 19650 is now the internationally common standard for information management throughout the whole life cycles of AEC projects. Maintaining ISO 196500 compliance allows multitudes of stakeholders to talk in the same language, removes barriers in collaboration, and enhances process consistency.

Atvero recently had a discussion with Allan Stableford, former Principal Architectural Technologist of Gilling Dod Architects, and Lorna Cleminson, BIM coordinator of Gilling Dod Architects, on the importance of strict file naming in remaining compliant with ISO 19650 standards.

Inaccurate file naming harms projects

One of the initial steps in becoming ISO 19650 compliant is implementing a standardised naming convention. A standard naming scheme ensures consistency, allows easy discovery of documents, and helps avoiding duplication.

For Gilling Dod Architects, being a BIM accredited practice, it is almost our DNA to enforce strict file naming that adheres to ISO 19650 standards.” – said Allan Stableford.

ISO 19650 provides a structured format to name any file in a project. The ISO 19650 naming scheme is made up of several fields to create unique document names:

<project code>-<originator code>-<volume code>-<level code>-<type code>-<role code>-<document number>

For document titles to comply with ISO 19650, it is highly essential that each of the above fields are assigned with the correct value that follows ISO 19650 standard. Document names that contain inaccurate values will harm compliance and expose projects to risks in delivery. However, manual control of errors in document names can be difficult and time-consuming.

We’ve always faced problems with how different people’s interpretations of ISO 19650 are, especially with document naming. This inconsistency means people will make up their own versions of document title blocks, which they think are ISO 19650 compliant but are actually not.” – Lorna Cleminson explained the challenges with manual file naming in maintaining ISO 19650 compliance.

Remaining compliant with ISO 19650 does not stop at setting up naming conventions. Throughout its life cycle, a document moves through different stages of a project – review, approval, sharing, transmittal - and multiple stakeholders will have visibility over it. The purpose of files may also vary as they pass through different project gateways. To ensure that the right people receive the right information at the right time, it is important that documents are named correctly to reflect their contents and purpose at each project stage they go through.

“Many of our clients enforce strict ISO 19650 requirements upon us. We have faced some situations where only before issuing into CDE did we recognise errors in file names. By that point, it was already a bit late. This strikes the importance of enforcing strict naming conventions at earlier project stages, and the ability to deal with changing requirements through different stages.” ­– Allan Stableford stated.

How Atvero helps maintaining ISO 19650 compliance

Maintaining strict file naming to comply with ISO 19650 can be a daunting task, but automation can make this process become much simpler.

In Atvero, each field value in the standard ISO 19650 naming scheme is assigned with metadata to generate document names. Atvero automatically examines the validity of the metadata in each field to evaluate whether they adhere to ISO 19650. For example, if the Project Code in a document’s title has an incorrect number of digits, Atvero can recognise and suggest actions to fix the wrong value. A document will not be uploaded into Atvero unless it is correctly named. Therefore, all document names in Atvero are guaranteed to be ISO 19650 compliant.

“Atvero effectively removes all the file naming mistakes in the first instance, meaning there is less observation to be done on my team members. We don’t have to worry about people inputting incorrect letters or codes into title blocks because we know for sure Atvero just won’t accept them.” Lorna Cleminson reflected on how Atvero helps guaranteeing strict file naming that complies with ISO 19650.

For simple tracking of the contents and purpose of documents, additional metadata can be added to file names in Atvero. One of these are Status Codes, which can be optionally assign to title blocks to reflect the suitability of use of the issued information. This enables different recipients across different project stages to perform appropriate actions to the file at each stage.

Additionally, project team members can also assign metadata for Revision Codes to file names in Atvero. This allows them to easily track every version of every document and drawing, issued and received.

The fact that Atvero has strict ISO 19650 capabilities built in, while providing the option to amend and add additional information into file names as a project goes forward gives us much more flexibility in document control.” – said Allan Stableford.

Gilling Dod Architects is a UK-based award-winning practice with a specialism in healthcare design. Being the first BRE BIM Level 2 accredited practice in the Northwest, Gilling Dod has an enviable portfolio of successful UK and international projects, ranging from £500,000 up to £170 million in value.

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