BIM has been hailed as the future of building design, construction and management, encouraging the free flow of information at each stage and beyond. Countries like the UK and Denmark are leading the way and have already mandated its use on public sector projects, with others like Australia and Canada set to follow.
It’s been one year since the official deadline for the adoption of BIM Level 2 in the UK, set by the Government in order to achieve 20% savings on the fragmented construction process that was deemed not to provide “full value” to the public sector. While it can’t be said that this adoption process has been 100% successful yet, the Government is pushing ahead with the next phase of BIM – Level 3 or Open BIM – under the Digital Built Britain strategy. Over £15 million has been allocated to this phase, which will further cement the foundations of Level 2 and “will help to deliver other Government digital transformation objectives, including building successful UK sectors in smart cities, cyber and physical security and sensors through the Internet of Things”.
This is an exciting time for the UK facilities management profession, with an almost limitless level of possibility for the future. The ‘future’ is arriving quickly (BIM Level 3 is expected to be fully operational by 2025) but FM seems currently divided by the lack of standardisation and training on the systems. RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) introduced the first global BIM certification in October last year and other schemes are becoming more widespread but this does raise the point that while unprecedented information is available through BIM, training staff to maintain and use it effectively is as important as the system itself. On the FM side of the spectrum, BIM can be integrated with FM software, such as Service Works’ QFM, to help make sense of the data. As the data is standardised and digital, it can be received, stored, combined with other data and analysed seamlessly, allowing problems to be diagnosed quickly and performance predicted, resulting in fewer equipment and asset failures. Maintenance engineers can also see a 3D visualisation of the asset and its location, together with all service history and contract information.
Despite some initial confusion, many buildings have already taken advantage of the process. The Crossrail project in the UK is using a new “augmented reality” BIM database to further increase communication and understanding. Technical IT manager, Malcolm Taylor, says BIM has made the huge project substantially easier: “You can use visualisations to find significant safety benefits. Or a complicated sequence of construction that might involve 10 or 15 drawings and reports can be shown in 30 seconds – you get fantastic efficiencies.” Also in the UK, BIM helped the Leadenhall Building skyscraper meet the difficult challenges of its sloping shape – a response to the planning regulations to maintain views of St Paul’s Cathedral. A virtual construction approach allowed the client to visualise this innovative solution, and also by integrating the data from the architects and structural engineers, the project was able to achieve a level of co-ordination critical for successful completion.
Learn more about BIM and its value to FM through Service Works’ complimentary white paper, “Deriving Meaningful Data from FM Software & BIM Integration”, updated for 2017. Click here to request your copy.
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