How ISO 19650 is changing the AECO Industry in the Middle East

The Middle East is no stranger to grandeur, and in recent years, iconic structures and projects are pushing the boundaries on what’s possible.  

From the Red Sea Project to The Museum of the Future in Dubai, and not forgetting the Burj Khalifa—the tallest skyscraper in the world—these architectural marvels are not just impressive feats of engineering but also a testament to the region's digital innovation. They inspire us to think beyond our limitations.

But in the bustling architectural, engineering, construction, and operational (AECO) industries how do we keep projects of such size and scale on track?

Setbacks like delays, cost overruns, and disputes have long been the norm. In fact, according to McKinsey Global Institute, major projects often drag on 20% longer than planned and can soar up to 80% over budget.

The culprit? Poor information management. With data pouring in from diverse sources and stakeholders, managing this torrent effectively becomes a Herculean task, resulting in inaccessible and unreliable project data.

How do we improve the way information is managed on construction projects?  By improving the way information is managed across an entire project lifecycle; from start to finish. Enter Building Information Modelling (BIM) and the technologies that power it.

By embracing these tools, the industry stands poised to tackle its challenges head-on. However, to streamline these methods, standards are imperative. This is where ISO 19650 steps in.

Introducing ISO 19650

ISO 19650 is more than just a standard—it's a paradigm shift in managing information across the built-asset lifecycle using BIM. Developed to foster collaborative processes, it outlines best practices for managing information within the Built Environment, encompassing buildings, infrastructure, and their components.

Initially a UK standard, ISO 19650 transitioned to an international stage in 2019, drawing from the rich legacy of British BS 1192 and PAS 1192 standards. Supported by key construction bodies worldwide, ISO 19650 is the beacon guiding the industry towards digital transformation.

As the AECO industry embraces digitalisation, the need for structured collaboration becomes paramount. ISO 19650 facilitates this by ensuring the correct information reaches the right hands at the right time, enabling informed decision-making.

Each iteration becomes traceable through standardised naming conventions and unique reference codes, bolstering tracking functionality. Moreover, the framework mandates using a common data environment (CDE), fostering collaborative information exchange across all project stakeholders throughout the asset lifecycle.

The sooner more organisations align to ISO the easier it will be for all, the whole point of following an international standard is regardless of geography or discipline/role, the process is familiar and repeatable. Of course the standards set out a framework where there may be a number of ways to interpret and implement, but critically the starting point and overarching approach should be the same.  Anyone who still refers to the UK’s 1192 suite should transition to ISO 19650, as the UK standards were withdrawn upon the publication of ISO 19650 and are not maintained.”Andy Boutle, Head of Digital Construction at ALEC

Osama Abdulhadi