Common Data Environment (CDE)

Collaborative BIM Working

A major constituent of collaborative environments is the ability to communicate, re-use and share data efficiently without loss or misinterpretation. This section summarises the principles outlined in BS1192:2007, which defines the working processes for project collaboration and efficient data sharing.

Refer also to PAS1192-2 section 9.2 for the extended Common Data Environment across the project team at Capex and Opex stages.

Common Data Environment (CDE) core principles

A Common Data Environment (CDE) process approach allows information to be shared between all members of the project team.

There are four areas relevant to a CDE as illustrated below:

Work In Progress (WIP)

Model data described as Work in Progress is that which is currently in production and has not yet been checked and verified for use outside of the authoring team.


To facilitate co-ordinated, efficient working, each party shall controlled release of information available for project-wide formal access through a shared repository or exchange protocol. These files shall be accessible by all from a central location, or replicated in the Shared Area of the project folder structure of each party.

Prior to sharing, the data shall be checked, approved and validated in line with the

BS1192 workflow.

  • Only BIM data or files that have been checked, approved and given the appropriate suitability/status code and revision shall be transferred to the Shared Area (see section 4.2 for checking process).

Refer to BS1192 section 15.3.2 figure 5 and PAS1192-2 section 9.2.3 table 3.

  • Sharing of models (iterative model exchanges) shall be scheduled and carried out on a regular basis in order that other disciplines are working to latest validated information as defined in the Project BIM Execution Plan.
  • It is recommended that individual discipline model files should be issued exactly as produced with no additional merging, or editing. All necessary references and linked files should also be issued.
  • A process for communicating changes needs to be defined. Changes to the shared models shall be effectively communicated to the team through traditional drawing issues sheets or transmittal forms, change register or other suitable notice, such as e-mail, as defined in the project BIM Execution Plan.

For indicative purposes, the Shared area is shown here as a single shaded region. This may, in truth be individual locations for each stakeholder.


Published documentation is created at agreed project milestones from the Shared information. This is a repository of “client approved” information and is not covered in this workflow.

Refer to BS1192 section 4.2.4 and PAS1192-2 section 9.2.


  • All approved information shall be stored in the designated Archive location, including shared, published, superseded and record information.
  • Archived data shall reside in logical folder repositories that clearly identify the archive status e.g. 2014-12-11 Stage 3 Detailed Design.

Refer to BS1192 section 4.2.5 and PAS1192-2 section 9.2.

What is a CDE?

The common data environment (CDE) is a central repository where construction project information is housed. The contents of the CDE are not limited to assets created in a ‘BIM environment’ and it will therefore include documentation, graphical model and non-graphical assets. In using a single source of information collaboration between project members should be enhanced, mistakes reduced and duplication avoided. Here we explore the CDE in more detail… Continue reading “Common Data Environment (CDE)”