BIM (Building Information Modeling) is playing a phenomenal role in the construction sector. Unifying the architecture, engineering, and construction processes, BIM provides access to coordinated, reliable, and shareable data to all parties. Beyond the construction process, enabling BIM for facilities management and operations can greatly benefit the overall health of the building and reduce ongoing operating costs.
While the benefits BIM workflows offer during the design and construction phases are well-documented, BIM unleashes its true potential when applied across the entire lifecycle of the facilities. By using BIM, it is possible to manage the maintenance and operations of new and existing facilities effectively.
This seventh dimension in BIM is commonly referred to as BIM for Facilities Management. BIM 7D has enormous value for facility managers. But before we discuss the benefits, let’s understand what facilities management BIM is all about.
Thinking of Using BIM for Facilities Management?
BIM offers informative digital models of all the components that go into the construction of a building. Stakeholders can scour these models to get information about the physical and functional characteristics of a facility.
BIM for facilities management, therefore, offers managers important information about the building to help operate and maintain the facility efficiently. Depending on the building type, there may be several details that facility managers can access.
For example, a commercial facility may have information about the location of HVAC units, motors, servers, etc. The informative model can also include details about materials such as walls, doors, and machinery. Facility managers may also gain further insight into the estimated cost of operations and when routine maintenance should
By regularly maintaining these details during the building operations, BIM capabilities offer management teams a building handbook that they can refer to all the time for intelligent maintenance and upkeep of the facility.
Benefits of Using BIM for Facilities Management
Collaboration is a key component of a BIM workflow. For facility managers, this means that they can exchange information with key people involved in the design and construction phases to get a better understanding of the building lifecycle. Besides, facility managers can also participate during the design phase for new and
Involving them early offers other stakeholders the opportunity to address the design and construction constraints beforehand and ensure that the facility is cost-effective and meets the day-to-day objectives of facility managers.
Smarter and Efficient Maintenance
When the facility’s informative model is updated regularly, maintenance teams can access important performance and condition data about the building assets. For example, a user can examine the 3D model of an HVAC unit to get details about performance, maintenance schedules as well as manufacturer information. With this data, he/she can create preventive maintenance plans for the unit.
Besides, the 3D model of the facility also allows technicians to become completely aware of exact asset locations, enabling them to locate the problem and fix it quickly. And, whenever there’s a change in the asset location, the information gets updated for every stakeholder, ensuring a single source of truth for everyone.
Effective Space Planning
A BIM model also facilitates the effective utilization of space as it becomes easier for the facility managers to visualize the building and the available space within the envelope. With access to accurate layout information, facility managers can optimize the allocation of assets, optimize evacuation routes, identify weak security points, and ensure ease of access, safety, and comfort for the occupants.
In addition, with BIM, one no longer has to rely on in-person walkthroughs to visualize a project as changes are made or effectively plan how he or she could utilize the space before signing lease agreements.
Today in the midst of the pandemic, 3D rendering tools offer alternative solutions that keep everyone safe and comfortable while maintaining the level of customer service and attention to detail expected of companies. For example, commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE has implemented the use of the Floored Plans system to meet the needs of their customers:
"Following the COVID-related decrease in physical space tours, CBRE was able to leverage its proprietary web-based space planning and visualization tool to not only help prospective tenants and landlords plan a space, but visualize what it will look like in real-time in 3D as changes to the plan are made. Since March 2020, CBRE has onboarded over 50 million square feet of commercial office space into the Floored Plans system to help viewers visualize both built and unbuilt space without the risks and challenges of physically visiting a floor." - Sydney Talcott, Senior Director, Technology & Visualization at CBRE
Reduce Energy Usage
Energy savings is one of the critical priorities for most commercial buildings. This is especially true for green buildings developed to reduce environmental impact. BIM offers access to data on energy consumption, offering facility managers an opportunity to analyze and compare different energy alternatives to meet energy goals.
Tools like energy modeling can further assist management teams in performing detailed analyses for sustainability and evaluating the facility for code compliance.
"As building owners and operators invest in making use of building data to reduce energy spend, optimize space utilization, perform predective maintenance, or enhance occupant experiences, BIM provides the foundation that all future data will be derived from. The acuracy and completeness of a building's BIM has a ripple effect through all the building data collected. For example, inaccurate geospatial measurements lead to inaccurate data reasoning and subobtimal or incorrect results." - Shaun Cooley, CEO, Mapped.
Optimize Existing Facility for Better Efficiency
BIM is equally useful for existing facilities built without an informative digital model. It is possible to generate an integrated BIM model of the existing facility using a laser scanning technique along with original and retrofit design plans.
Facility managers can utilize this 3D model to suggest retrofitting opportunities to optimize the building for improved operational efficiency and energy savings.
Utilize BIM for Facilities Management with the help of BIM Designs, Inc.
The cost of managing and maintaining a facility is often more than the cost incurred during the design and build phase. By extending BIM capabilities beyond the design and construction phases, it is possible to bring down the cost considerably. Besides, immediate access to building data empowers facility managers not only to operate and maintain the facility effectively but it also allows them to make choices to improve building efficiency based on facts rather than guesses.
Interested in learning more about how BIM can help improve your ROI in your next project? Contact the experts at BIM Designs, Inc. for a free estimate or to discuss your project needs.
About BIM Designs, Inc.
BIM Designs Inc. is an agile BIM detailing, modeling, consulting, and coordination service provider. We work closely with architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) contractors and developers that require experienced journeymen detailers and engineers for Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection (MEPF) modeling, Laser Scanning, and Virtual Design Construction (VDC) services. BIM Designs, Inc. is a signatory with 18 UA and SMART unions in multiple states.
About the Author
Mark, CEO, joined the BIM Designs team with over 10 years of experience working with Silicon Valley tech companies in product management, business development, mergers and acquisitions, and CxO roles. Mark leads the growth, strategy and execution of the company; his acute ability to develop and implement strategic processes that scale the company's capabilities drives efficient service delivery, increases client satisfaction, and builds cross-functional teams.