Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe the technical features, underlying concepts and implementation details of a novel Building Information Modeling (BIM)-integrated, graph-based platform developed to support BIM for facilities management through a usability driven visual representation of the construction operations building information exchange (COBie) spreadsheet data. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is based on the iterative steps of design thinking and agile software development methodology. The conceptual development of the VisualCOBie platform is based on Gestalt’s principles of visual perception to facilitate usability and comprehension of the COBie data. Findings: The paper demonstrates that Gestalt’s principles of visual perception provide a suitable conceptual as well as implementable basis for improving the usability and comprehension of COBie spreadsheets. The implemented BIM-integrated, graph-based VisualCOBie platform supports visual navigation and dynamic search, reducing the cognitive load of large spreadsheets that are common in facilities management software. Research limitations/implications: The usability, visual search and dependencies-based search of VisualCOBie can potentially transform how we implement and use facilities and information management systems in construction, where large spreadsheets are frequently used in conjunction with BIM and other tools. VisualCOBie also provides usability-based step towards BIM for facilities management. Originality/value: The VisualCOBie approach provides a novel user interface and information management platform. This paper may also foster a potential paradigm shift in our approach to the representation and use of information exchange standards such as COBie, which are required to facilitate the research and practice on BIM for facilities management.