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Common Data Environment (CDE) – A connected data environment for BIM & Construction

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What is the purpose of a construction project’s common data environment, or CDE? Who makes a contribution? Who is to blame for this? Who owns the data contained within? Why utilise a CDE in the first place? We investigate the concept of a central information repository, which is crucial to BIM deployment.

What is Common Data Environment?

 With new technologies rolling out for the architecture, engineering and construction business, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Design & Construction have gained a considerable predominance in the sector. BIM allows the development of a structure’s digital replica virtually through software and relevant tools. This process involves the collaboration of digital models from various disciplines such as architecture, structure and MEP. It is vital to keep and manage the project-related data at a place where everyone can access the data. Common Data Environment makes it possible to collect, manage and access the construction project data from a commonplace. Let us learn about Common Data Environment in detail. 


Common Data Environment (CDE) – The ease of accessing data from a single source

 A Common Data Environment (CDE) is a digital storehouse where all the data of the construction project is stacked, managed and accessed. The Common Data Environment in BIM is a single source of data from where the construction stakeholders involved in the project can store, manage and modify the information.  

 A Common Data Environment for construction is a highly secured data environment. Due to enhanced data security, the CDE in BIM offers great encryption and allows the data access to whom the access is granted. The centralized data server in BIM VDC allows the users to collaborate on data for construction projects. Through the coordinated data environment, the construction project team can easily access the required project information at any phase of construction. 

📌 How does Common Data Environment Relate with Building Information Modeling? 

Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM

(Reference :- Common Data Environment (CDE) To BIM and Construction –  Plan BIM )


 A building information model and a Common Data Environment in construction, both are data-centric technologies. A BIM 3D model is a graphical representation of the construction project on a virtual platform. The BIM model has data integrated into it to make it a data-rich model. The information embedded in the model, such as dimensions, project schedules, the estimate of cost & resources and illumination, helps construction managers to optime the project. 

 Unlike BIM, a Common Data Environment in construction consist of graphical, non-graphical as well as documentation details regarding the construction project, stored in it. BIM along with CDE enhances the construction project’s delivery. Implementing Building Information Modeling with Common Data Environment, the project teams can eliminate delays in projects and savings in overall project cost. The precise data of the construction project helps to reduce the rework by elimination of conflicts and revisions of poorly done designs, in the preconstruction phase. 

📌 Why is CDE so important for Construction Projects?

 Being a vital component of the construction project, a CDE is of utmost importance to the professionals of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry in the following ways: –  

  • It is an encrypted source of information where the security of data is ensured, as it is undeletable and unalterable. 
  • The coordinated information of the construction projects allows the project managers to alter the slack time and extra cost incurred on the project. 
  • A Common Data Environment is a single source of truth. It allows only the authorized people involved in the project to access the data. Common Data Environment and BIM reduce the efforts of engineers and architects as the required information related to the project is readily available.

The future of construction is a data-driven one to move on from the notorious inefficiencies in the sector to make it kinder for budgets, people, and our planet. Hence, there’s no doubt that CDE will be an indispensable facilitator of this transformation, with evolving innovations and tools. {Tweet}

📌 How should an ideal CDE be?

 An efficient CDE for construction projects should be: – 


 An ideal system is expected to be user friendly so that all the participants can easily understand and use the system. A user-friendly system is easy to use and the user can make the most out of it.  


Security and encryption are the most important components of a database. A common Data environment in BIM shall be highly secured to prevent the leakage or hacking of confidential project-related data.  

Easy to access

In a construction project, a CDE should be easily accessible to anyone to whom the access is given. The information can be required at any moment of time, even on the go.  


One of the main attributes of an ideal CDE is integration. The CDE incorporated on a construction project is expected to merge with the current processes and systems on the project.  

An ideal CDE should possess the above-mentioned attributes in order to serve as efficient data storage & access system in a construction project. But a part of the AEC industry has still not adopted the collaborative data environment systems. Why is it so? Let’s check out.  

Misconceptions about the collaborative data system

Due to some misconceptions in people’s minds, the new technologies are not adopted by a part of the industry. What are those misconceptions that pull them behind, using technologies like CDE? Let us find out.  

Newer systems are too complicated. We are fine with what we have.

As we know, change is inevitable. It is necessary to upgrade the systems with the up-gradation of the business. Due to a lack of proper knowledge and awareness, the newer systems are not implemented by some of them. The CDEs are user-friendly systems that enable everyone on the project to use the CDE for data storage and access.  

Using a Common Data Environment in Construction can harm the data integrity

It is believed that while compiling the data of the site in a single place, it could get leaked during the process. A CDEs on the other hand is encrypted and secured from potential hackers and data leaks.  

Is the future of Common Data Environment in BIM bright?

Witnessing the benefits of enhanced technology for data assures a bright future for itself. A Common Data Environment not only stores the data but collaborates with the project team for data as it creates a single source of truth. The well-organized data structure in CDE offers easy data access throughout the artificial intelligence in  construction project industry. 

 An efficient Common Data Environment in construction also assists project managers for effective document control, stacked in a single place. The information acquired is utilized to lower the overall budgets of the projects, delivering with accuracy on time. As per the current condition, the AEC sector is growing at the speed of light and so their documents are. In a few years, the adoption of CDE will be a necessity for all the projects for maintaining their data securely.  


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