BIM for Facilities Management... ok, fine... Facility Owners

I do note that this article says ‘Facility Owners’ rather than ‘Facility Managers’… as the Director of my Department likes to say ‘We’re the tail trying to wag the dog’.

While not in a construction field, I do subscribe to AECbytes, as Lachmi Kemlani always has great articles and jumpstarts fantastic discussions from industry leaders on her site.
See below where I’ve snipped out the bits of this particular article that can apply to facility managers, as well as a great bit from her summary at the end. As always, I love to hear speculation about the
Future of FM.

The ‘Transition to BIM’ is an issue that any facility owner is going to have to face. Almost all of our construction documents are created by outside contractors. So, a transition here wouldn’t just mean sending me and a couple others off to training. It would mean convincing our contractors to move forward, as well as forcing them to work more closely for increased consistency across their models, which means choosing reliable and easy to use collaboration tools.
Just the thought of that almost makes me want to give up on the whole idea right now.

BUT! Thinking of all of the money that BIM could save during construction is just a drop in the bucket compared to how much it could save us in the long run! According to the deskers presenting at the first FM mixer at AU2004, building a building costs about $200 sq ft, and maintaining costs about $40 a sq ft annually.
Do I have any hard numbers on this?
No. I don’t budget for our maintenance, and I don’t manage the new construction projects… but, I do support the people that do… and I know how important accurate documentation (or heck just HAVING ANY documentation) is.

Her article points out that the discussion brought up the point that there are currently no BIM-FM solutions available... well.. of course, my thought on that is...
Building Systems for FM?
I *AM* the End User
The BIM technology is maturing for Architectural and Structural and Building Systems aren't far behind. We should be building on these programs that are gaining acceptance, not trying to create something entirely new and distanced that we have to face import/export challenges with.

Anyway… for the non-FM’ers here, I do encourage you to check out the rest of Lachmi’s article and see what your customers are thinking about.

Use of BIM by Facility Owners: An "Expotitions" Meeting
The biggest one was that of the transition to BIM, and the overall consensus was that the "pain" was not really in the technology or in learning it, but in the change of the business process that is involved. To put it in another way, 70% of the change that is needed to move to BIM is going to be cultural, while the technology will account for only 30% of it.

Getting back to the owner's perspective—which, after all, was what the event was all about—some felt that owners need to look beyond the immediate benefits of BIM in the design and construction phase and focus on the long-term benefits they will realize in their facilities management and operations processes

what continues to surprise me is the amount of time that is still spent on debating BIM. I see BIM as a logical evolution from CAD, the next technological step for the AEC industry, and very much in tune with the technological advancements happening in other fields and in society as a whole. While BIM may be a complex technology, we should try and avoid making its adoption so much more complicated than it needs to be. We spend far too much time dwelling on the difficulties involved in making the change, and we are constantly trying to look too far ahead to see what benefits BIM can bring down the road. While a long-term perspective is important, the focus should be on what we can achieve with BIM in the near term and trying to find the best way to do it. I think we can only make some serious headway with BIM in the AEC industry as a whole when we start taking it for granted—just as we take CAD for granted now—and focus on the "how" rather than on the "why."
- Lachmi Khemlani of AECbytes


Anonymous said...


You might have guessed I already had this article printed out and sitting on my desk even before I read your blog! (You know me and my BIM ways)

This is the ultimate reason why architectural firms will be pressed into BIM implementation... the customer. This goes beyond simple Building Information Modeling and Parametric design and into the field of Lifecycle Management and how all the data (Building and Civil) will be used by Facilities managers to manage a structure.

Currently the following things are either possible or the software is currently being developed:

HVAC calcs based not only on the building model, but calculated from the building model data to form energy cals based on the occupancy at times of day/year (heat/air costs); this model will change based on the second part:

Facilities management of space arrangement, rental, etc. This will be used to figure space arrangements, energy needs and costs based on use and occupancy, parking, human flow through the building, etc.

Also calculated will be warranty information, future projections for maintenance costs, and even the total value of the property itself.

Ultimately this (BIM) is important to the designer because creating such a "data model" will provide extra chargable services for them and also help build the relationship between themselves and the client as deliverables are produced more accurately and allow for the client to have more control... not just over the construction process, but building lifecycle management as a whole.

Mistress of the Dorkness said...

;) another day, another keyboard...

I like your thinking here, Brian. I think we're contemplating working with a consultant who will take the physical information of our buildings and major systems equipment and put it into a database that they have populated with anticipated replacement dates, and local labour and materials costs, and estimate how long we can keep each building running before we should totally replace it and/or it's systems. It would be nice to have something like that ultimately built into a BIM-FM solution. (of course, that might just be the actuary in me speaking ;) I love statistics)

Anonymous said...

I'd appreciate it if you can keep me updated on the software and process if this goes on to actually happen!

Its something that can be done today with the technology available on the level you describe. Ultimately this data will go beyond just Data (which is what you describe) and become part of either a central database or (more likely) a combination of databases that multiple software programs will be able to dip into for the information they specialize in.

In your case, imagine a space that had just HALF its roof replaced due to damage. In a data model it would simply list the warranty information for both roof sections. In a Model environment you can actually find the places the roof was fixed at without climbing up on the roof or perhaps even requiring a site visit for the roofers to make a bid on for preventative maintenance issues(sure they likely would, but its just an example). The same technology could be used to document the exact locations certain contractors did work in order to more easily determine liability issues.

It has some powerful applications if you wish to get creative with all the data potentially at hand.

Mistress of the Dorkness said...

Well, let's keep in mind here that I'm just the tail. They did a demo for us on just two buildings. I provided them with the info, but, I was not invited to the meetings evaluating this concept. ;)
So, I did attend a presentation where the consultants provided a quick sampling of information, and I did dominate a little bit asking about where they got their stats, how often the regional markers would be updated, what type of language the database was written in, etc... but ~crestfallen~ I saw eyes glazing over throughout the room... nobody else really cared.
I hope that administration will include me in the discussions if this goes through... but, I won't be suprised if they don't.