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How does BIM benefit facilities management?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a topic that should be high on the agenda of many FMs, but is often misunderstood and therefore not utilised to its full extent. Some feel the process of implementing BIM data is too big a job, or that it involves knowledge of CAD software and 3D modelling in order to make use of the information – both of which are untrue. BIM is now a mandatory requirement on UK public sector projects (with all project and asset information, documentation and data in electronic format) and it’s now gaining momentum across the world, so the sooner FMs across all sectors can engage with BIM, the better. For more information on BIM and its benefits, click here to request our complimentary white paper.

What is BIM?

BIM is a way of designing, constructing, running and maintaining a building as a collaborative process using a single coherent and up-to-date system of computer models, rather than several sets of different tools and documents.

BIM provides a rich, 3D experience which includes digital simulations and rehearsals of all stages of the design, build and operate process. BIM also promotes collaborative working, allowing digital management and sharing of information by all partners. The information within BIM allows better-informed decision-making, clarity, improved communication and, overall, better business outcomes.

What is the benefit of BIM to facilities management?

The UK government has mandated BIM adoption by all centrally procured projects as a way to reduce capital costs by 20%, as well as providing increased efficiency and collaboration in the construction industry.  However, according to a recent survey by Service Works and online news provider i-FM, just 45% stated they saw BIM as a significant trend.

There seems to be uncertainty around the benefits and outcomes of BIM, but more information is being produced to demystify the process. Numerous case studies are also now appearing about projects using BIM, for example Sydney Opera House and Durham Cathedral.

Benefits include:

  • Cost savings at both delivery and operational stages: BIM can help organisations strip waste from their processes, as they can virtually build the facility as many times as necessary to create the perfect model. This also provides cost certainty.
  • Improved efficiency and faster project delivery: As all parties work together collaboratively, mistakes, discrepancies and duplicate work is avoided
  • Improved client satisfaction: The client receives a building which matches their expectations and needs.
  • Reduced safety risk: BIM allows crowd behaviour to be analysed and fire modelling capability to be predicted to enable designs to be optimised for public safety.
  • Greater project predictability and early modification: Projects can be visualised at an early stage, giving owners and operators a clear idea of design intent and allowing them to modify the design to achieve the outcomes they want.
  • A greater role for FM: BIM allows the professional FM to get involved at the design stage and have a real impact on the building outcome which both improves the outcome and raises the profile of the FM function, which is the purpose of Government Soft Landings.

Making sense of BIM data

Information stored within BIM includes schedules and blueprints as well as asset information such as cost, location, service life, carbon impact, maintenance, spares, re-ordering, substitution, serial number, warranty details and more. This can be an overwhelming amount of data to process, but when integrated with a CAFM system, such as Service Works’ QFM for example, the data can be better managed and be even more powerful.

Integrating BIM with facilities management software systems is the holy grail in terms of better quality and standardised data. BIM provides more reliable information to report to the board, as it can be received, stored, combined with other data and analysed seamlessly. BIM allows FMs to take informed decisions through the whole lifecycle of the facility around areas such as space use, floor planning, equipment and asset maintenance, energy consumption, and cost efficiencies. Such is the holistic nature of the BIM and FM integrated data, problems can 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 specification, and contract information in advance of a maintenance visit, reducing repeat visits and improving response times.

Deriving Meaningful Data From BIM

To read more about the benefits of BIM, and how the data can be imported and used to maximum effect within a CAFM system, request a copy of Service Works’ complimentary white paper  ‘Deriving Meaningful Data from FM Software & BIM Integration’.