Building information modeling (BIM) is firmly established as the “go-to” technology globally for the design and construction of buildings. It is transforming architecture, engineering and construction by providing accurate, timely and relevant information. So what is the future for BIM? Last week at CIFE’s (Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Stanford University) Summer Program, one hot topic was extending the data rich elements of 3D models further into the lifecycle of buildings for the benefit of operations and facilities management where the majority of the cost of a building resides. The potential for BIM to dramatically improve the effectiveness of building life cycle management is clear.
The challenge faced by the facility and operations management profession is the divide between the information used for building design and construction and the information needed for effective facility management. Yes, we have a way to go before there is seamless integration from design to construction to operations management but companies and organizations are talking about the possibilities and how to establish best practices.
One noteworthy project is the CrossRail project in London which is breaking new ground in the creation of asset information for management and maintenance purposes. “CrossRail represents the largest and most complex instance of BIM’s advantages being deployed for the purpose of what is increasingly referred to asset lifecycle information management (ALIM). London’s GBP15 billion CrossRail project will see the construction of a 118-kilometre line to service both London and surrounding areas, entailing the construction of 42 kilometres in new tunnels and the integration of new routes with pre-existing lines. In order to ensure the smooth functioning of this sprawling, multi-faceted project, the Crossrail Asset Information Management System (AIMS) has been developed. AIMS will eventually record data concerning 1 million individual assets via intelligent data sheets provided by contractors for the project. Crossrail expects the mass cataloguing of the project’s myriad items and attributes to result in savings of around GBP 50 million per year on operations and maintenance costs.”
.”Building owners see great benefits for developing and maintaining lifecycle data for its facilities. The overall purpose of utilizing BIM for data handover and facility management is to enable facility owners to leverage design and construction data to provide safe, healthy, effective and efficient work environments. The maintenance of this data will create greater efficiencies such as having accurate as-built information to reduce the cost & time required for renovations; increasing customer satisfaction; and optimizing the operation and maintenance of the building systems to reduce energy usage… A BIM for facility management provides visualization, access to the precise location and relationships of building systems and equipment, and access to accurate existing condition attribute data. Building Information Management… provides several advantages over traditional 2D drawings. BIM is a data-rich, object-based, intelligent and parametric digital representation of the facility.”
Rather than letting data be pushed to the side and forgotten, design and construction deliverables can be used to capture appropriate lifecycle information. Construction companies recognize that the better they understand operation and facilities management, the better they can serve the long term interests of an owner. The challenge today is to find an efficient way to collect and to transfer relevant data to support downstream needs.
Technology is moving forward, the value of BIM and how it operates in the building lifecycle will continue to evolve. As we have learned in design and construction, the success of BIM requires the integration of people, process and technology. With cooperation, the entire process will improve and all will benefit.