The Top 5 Common Data Environments (CDE) for BIM

A Common Data Environment is pivotal to successful BIM Implementation. But what is it exactly? Read on.

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In the world of BIM, we often hear of the term “Common Data Environment or its acronym, CDE. It forms a very important concept and is pivotal to any successful BIM project, and choosing the correct CDE forms the first step towards it. The CDE equirements have been defined in the PAS1192 and BS1192 documentation in the past, and more recently, in the ISO 19650. These documents outline what organisations working in the AEC, that is the Architecture, Engineering and Construction domains need to do in order to reach a BIM Level 2 compliance on their projects.

BIM (Building Information Management) involves the development of an asset in a virtual environment. BIM is extremely beneficial as teams can deduce possible conflicts in design and reduce the cost of rework significantly. It also can have quite a positive impact on project timelines.

A CDE provides a platform for these changes to be recorded, distributed and resolved, usually on a connected system like the internet or intranet (nowadays mostly on the cloud). This results in a more efficient way of delivering projects.

What is a Common Data Environment?

Simply put. a CDE is a collaborative environment used by everyone on the project, following the ISO 19650 guidelines, to communicate and coordinate with all members on the project.

The Designing Buildings Wiki defines the CDE as the following:

The Common Data Environment (CDE) is the single source of information for the project, used to collect, manage and disseminate documentation, the graphical model and non-graphical data for the whole project team (i.e. all project information whether created in a BIM environment or in a conventional data format). Creating this single source of information facilitates collaboration between project team members and helps avoid duplication and mistakes.

Common Data Environment
The common data environment (CDE) as illustrated in PAS 1192-2: 2013, © 2013 The British Standards Institution.

As you might have guessed already, CDE is a type of software and there are various software vendors around the world developing CDEs. What follows next is the list of the top 5 Common data Environments used in most advanced Construction projects.

Autodesk BIM 360

BIM 360 is a unified platform connecting your project teams and data in real-time, from design through construction, supporting informed decision-making and leading to more predictable and profitable outcomes.

The BIM 360 Interface

planBIM now integrates with BIM 360, so that you can use the best of both apps!

Trimble Connect

Trimble Connect user interface

Trimble Connect is an open collaboration tool that connects the right people to the right data at the right time – enabling informed decision making and enhancing project efficiency.

Bentley Projectwise

Bentley Projectwise enables a connected data environment to industrialized project workflows and provide on-demand insights.

Bentley ProjectWise Design Screen


Developer: Procore

Procore is the all-in-one construction management software built to help users finish quality projects—safely, on time, and within budget.

Dashboards in Procore

Allplan Bimplus

Allplan Bimplus is the ultimate open BIM platform for all disciplines to collaborate efficiently in building projects.

3D Model viewing in Bimplus

So those were the Top 5 CDEs according to us. Here’s one more which you probably aren’t aware of. 😉

Techture planBIM

Developer: Techture

planBIM is a cloud-based app for managing and implementing BIM on any project. It can be accessed on the web, on mobile or even inside BIM authoring tools like Revit.

The visual CDE of planBIM

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So we’ve covered what a Common Data Environment is, what it’s used for and some of the popular CDEs out there. In future posts we’ll cover some more aspects of a CDE. On another note, we’re building a visual and collaborative Common Data Environment at that integrates with a few other systems in this article. Please do check us out!


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