A Simple BIM Naming Convention Based on ISO 19650 Part 1

1. Naming convention

For BIM Level 2, a naming convention is mandatory. To achieve the highest BIM Maturity Level, where data is exchanged between different disciplines and organizations regularly, a predefined and agreed upon naming convention is a condition without which the project could not succeed. Applying this standard naming system to directories, files, parameters, and any element shared among the stakeholders will guarantee fewer misunderstandings and errors when exchanging data.

Stakeholders will scan and access files to collect or modify data from the files. A naming standard for files and folders facilitates the direct access and retrieval of information stored in the organization.  

1.1. General rules

  • Use Title Case, capitalize all words except non-initial articles, and separating words with space and fields with a hyphen:

BIMicon-House B-Core Plans.pdf

This enhances legibility compared to all upper or lower case, as it is closer to standard typing.

  • Avoid using special characters in files and folders:

\ / : * ? “ < > | [ ] & $ , . { } @

These characters cause conflicts or errors in files when copying or moving directories. For example, use the dot (.) only in front of the file extension.

  • Spaces are accepted to separate words in a field. There is no need to use an underscore ‘_’ for this purpose. Example:

D:\BIMicon Library\Curtain Wall Panels\

  • Use the hyphen character ( – ) only to separate fields. To separate words or codes inside a field, use the underscore character ( _ ) if a space character is not suitable. For example:

B78-BIM_Manual-Core Plans.pdf

  • Filename must be fully descriptive without having to open it and independent of its location:

Files that rely on its directory path for identification are no longer valid. For example:

D:\BIMicon Library\Windows\BIMicon_Awning Window.rfa

D:\BIMicon Library\Curtain Wall Panels\BIMicon_Awning Window.rfa

The content of these two files is different but relies on the subdirectories to identify their content. Only with this clue, the user can differentiate them as a wall-based or a curtain wall-based window, which does not uniquely identify these two items. A better solution is to rename the curtain wall-based one to:

BIMicon-Awning Window-Curtain Panel.rfa

There will be no confusion when these families are moved to another folder or even moved together by accident.

  • Do not exceed 260 characters for the folder name and filename character count:

C:\Users\BIMicon\My Documents\To Send\Consultants\My Project\Favourite Things\Favourite Project\Best Project\Family Folders\New Manual.doc

Even though it is difficult to exceed the 260 characters count, it may be possible due to complicated directory organization and backups created over backups. Tidy up the folder structure and files if the Operating System (OS) doesn’t allow you to copy or move files.

  • Use sequential numbering, meaning prefixing leading zeroes to the names:

 01, 02, A01, A02… instead of 1, 2, A1, A2

It will allow the OS and other software to sort your files sequentially. It is also applicable to directories where you want to organize hierarchically or track missing content. For example, in a directory with folders named with numerical prefixes, any missing number hints to a missing folder.

  • When sharing files with stakeholders or archiving files in the system, do include a date in the file name if the file does not have a version identifier:

Some files have appended the revision at the end of the file name. This code uniquely identifies the file and avoids any confusion about the issue date of the file.

But when files do not have a unique version identifier in their file name, a date must be prefixed with the format YYYYMMDD. For example, some contracts or documents without revision data, like central models:


  • Keep the names as short as possible using usual abbreviations like DD for Design Development or WIP for Work in Progress :

A short descriptive name is preferable over a long-convoluted name. Whenever possible, use the least number of words to describe the contents of the file. For example:

WE435-CD-GF Bedroom 011-VS-R09.png

Is preferable over:

WE435-Construction Documentation-Ground Floor 011-Visualization-Revision09.tiff

  • Do not use convoluted names, do plan for a name instead of rushing to type it:

Rev1-BIMicon-BIM Manual.png

Taking a few minutes to check the conventions established in this guide will ensure you get it right and save you time renaming the file later.

  • Make the version in the file name explicit if the file goes through changes:

If a file is revised or changed during the project, a code reflecting this change must be present in the file name. It can be either the date or the revision discussed previously. For example, if a file is initially named:

WE435-CD-GF Bedroom 011-VS.png

And goes through several revisions, the successive names will be:

WE435-CD-GF Bedroom 011-VS-R01.png

WE435-CD-GF Bedroom 011-VS-R02.png

In case of archiving, place the archive date at the beginning of the file name:

20210411-WE435-CD-GF Bedroom 011-VS.png

  • Be consistent:

Maintain the naming coherent by applying the previous norms. The rules allow some degree of freedom, like choosing the revision field format, in which you can use:

R01, A, Rev01 or B1, etc

This flexibility requires consistency, so please stick to the established convention.

1.2. Naming Structure

Use the following structure for file names, especially for BIM files and deliverables derived from the BIM model like plotted plans or exported drawings:





The following table enumerates each field and the next section explains each field in detail:

FieldProjectOriginatorPhaseLevels and locationTypeRoleClassificationNumberSuitabilityRevision
ObligationRequiredRequiredRequiredRequiredRequiredRequiredOptionalRequiredMeta-dataMeta- data
DescriptionCode for projectCode for organisation creating informationCode for phase of the projectCode to locate file referenceCode for type of fileCode for role of organizationCode to reference assetSequential file numberCode for status of dataCode for revision of data

1.2.1. Codes in Naming Convention


Project. A code between 2 and 6 characters that identifies the project. In case collaboration occurs with other organizations, it should be independent of the organization’s project code. For example:

101JB, 2021_B01, etc.


Originator. A code between 2 and 6 characters that informs about the organization that created the file. For example, BIMicon, ISO, and so on.

● PH

Phase. Code that denotes the phase of the project at the moment of issuing the file. Some examples are the following:

Schematic DesignSD
Design DevelopmentDD
Construction DocumentationCD

● LV

Level. This code specifies the location of the content of the file in relation to the building:

Levels & Locations
ZZMultiple Levels
XXNo Level Applicable
GFGround Floor
00Base Level of Building or linear Asset
01Floor 01
02Floor 02
M1Mezzanine above Level 1
M2Mezzanine above Level 2
B1Floor -01
B2Floor -02


Type. Code that points to the kind of information contained in the file:

Codes for Drawings & Models
AFAnimation File
CMCombined Model
CRSpecific for the clash process
DR2d Drawing
M22D Model file
M33D Model file
MRModel rendition file for other renditions, thermal or acoustic analysis
Codes for Documents 
BQBills of Quantities
CPCost Plan
FNFile Note
HSHealth & Safety
IEInformation Exchange
MIMinutes/Action Notes
MSMethod Statements
RIRequest for information
SASchedule of accommodation
SNSnagging List

● RL

Role. Code to identify the function of the organization in the project:

Codes for Disciplines and Roles
BBuilding Surveyor
CCivil Engineer
DDrainage, Highways Engineer
EElectrical Engineer
FFacilities Manager
GGeographical and Land Surveyor
HHeating & Ventilation Designer
IInterior Designer
LLandscape Architect
MMechanical Engineer
PPublic Health Engineer
QQuantity Surveyor
SStructural Engineer
TTown and County Planner
YSpecialist Designer

● CL

Classification. Field used to classify assets for Facility Management. It is mandatory to specify the classification system in the BIM Execution Plan. Among the many possible classification systems, these are the common ones; OmniClass, ISO 12006, and Uniclass.


Number. It is a sequential code assigned to each file when it belongs to a series of files. In the case of drawings extracted from a BIM model, it will use code the sheets numbering inside the model. For example:

Sheets Numbering
ArchitecturalA01_001, A01_002, A01_003…
StructuralS01, S02, S03…
Multi-purpose0B1, 0GF, 001, 002, 003…


Suitability. This code defines the current state of the document. Use the following abbreviations:

StatusDescriptionGraphicalNon- GraphicalDocument
Work in Progress
SOInitial Status of WIPYesYesYes
S01Suitable for co-ordinationYesYesYes
S02Suitable for InformationYesYesYes
S03Suitable for reviewNoYesYes
S04Suitable for approvalNoYesYes
Published Docs
B01,B02,B03Partial sign offYesYesNo


Revision. The code used to denote the version of the document. This is the preferred way to version and supersede any files instead of prefixing a date. The following table contains standard conventions to number revisions:

Revision Numbering
Numeric01, 02, 03…
Alfa-numericA01, A02, A03…
Rev01, Rev02, Rev03…


ISO 19650 – https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/iso-19650-BIM/