Making BIM Work for Building Owners

by FM Media
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Owners have long looked to building information modelling (BIM) to streamline the handover of data for use in the facilities operational lifecycle. However, many handovers are still not delivering value. Owners and AEC partners need new tools and processes focused on quality information – the “I” in BIM.

It’s a fact that AEC companies have made BIM a central tool for their businesses, BIM adoption is over 70 percent and most major AEC companies are now using Revit, so why aren’t owners benefiting? One key reason is that drivers for BIM use don’t necessarily align with better data for owners.

During design, the primary goal of BIM is communicating intent and to to create the construction documents.  During construction, the primary driver of BIM adoption is constructability, coordinating trades, avoiding clashes etc. However, both workflows focus on the model geometry with little emphasis on the non-graphical BIM data that owners need.

BIM, tools and workflows can no longer focus just on 3D geometry, they need to efficiently support data management. But here’s the good news for owners and FMs: new skills, tools and processes are moving BIM towards truly streamlining handover.

Key 1: Manage handover throughout the project lifecycle

One of the biggest challenges in handover is that project teams typically wait until the end of the project to gather the data.

Leading organisations streamline handover by checking data throughout the project lifecycle, for example, consider an air handler. During design, you could check for a certain subset of data: naming standards, location, operating characteristics, etc.  At the end of submittals, you should know much more about the equipment such as the manufacturer, model number or maintenance requirements.  After commissioning, you should have everything required for FM.  You can validate all the information from design and construction and also gather final information like serial numbers or installation dates.

By updating information throughout the project, you get better quality, more comprehensive data.

Key 2: Transition to cloud-based workflows

BIM authoring tools are expensive, require extensive training, and can produce large complex files.  As a result, model-based workflows are cumbersome.  How do you move large files around between firms? How do you manage version control?  What about owners who don’t have modelling tools?

With cloud-based platforms, team members can control what information they share, how their models are updated and enable BIM data to be shared in new ways, giving owners greater visibility into models and data.

Key 3: Unlock BIM Data

Another significant issue is that only a small subset of people on the project team have the skills and tools to access BIM. Conversely, modellers don’t know all the information required by the owner.

New tools are emerging that focus on BIM data. You don’t have to be a BIM guru to view or edit model data.  Also, because models have massive amounts of data, it is really difficult to find missing or incorrect information using traditional tools.  Products like BIM Assure, recently released by Invicara, let you create rules to check models and make it very easy to find issues. Instead of wading through thousands of data points, you can get right to the issues that need attention.

Key 4: Quality BIM Data for Lifecycle Facility Management

The great potential of BIM technology for building owners is to provide accurate, timely and relevant information, not just during design and construction, but throughout the lifecycle of the facility.

Building owners and FMs are continually looking for new ways to improve the effectiveness of their facility operations through the building’s lifecycle. Using BIM with products like FM:Interact with Bi-Directional links to Revit, now provides improved space management, streamlined maintenance, efficient use of energy, economical retrofits and renovations, enhanced lifecycle management.

New ways of working, modern technology and new apps provide building owners with an opportunity to engage everyone on the team. This will allow owners and AEC firms to deliver quality BIM data in a cost-effective manner and realise the promise of BIM data handover.

Image copyright: 1xpert/123RF Stock Photo

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