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The importance of BIm in Facility Management

BIM Facility Management: the importance of BIM in asset management

BIM Facility Management is the application for process management and maintenance of the built environment. Find out how BIM improves asset management

While Building Information Modeling is mostly associated with design and preconstruction, its benefits are visible in every phase of the project life-cycle, even well after building is complete, with evident optimization of the subsequent asset management and maintenance phases.

Learn about BIM Facility Management and its wide variety of benefits to ensure higher functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, processes and technology. Keep reading this post to find out more about the meaning and potential of this term and understand how BIM contributes to the operational management of buildings and infrastructure.

What is BIM Facility Management?

BIM Facility Management refers to the integration of BIM and facility management activities and involves the application of the BIM methodology to management and maintenance processes of a built asset.

Any project’s lifecycle in the construction industry evolves according to an ordered sequence of phases, that can be broken down into:

  1. design;
  2. construction;
  3. operation and maintenance;
  4. reconversion or decommissioning.

Facility Management is the last step in the long process of designing and completing a construction project, and includes all those activities necessary to maintain an adequate level of efficiency over time to satisfy the functions for which the building was designed.

BIM for Facility Management

Facility Management in the BIM process

The main objective of Facility Management is to guarantee optimal management of the asset and, in particular, its content (equipment, spaces, furnishings, etc.). The activities involved are both technical and managerial in nature, and include maintenance, renovation, contract management, asset management, and so on.

The Facility Manager has the role of ensuring functionality, comfort, safety and efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process, documentation and technology.

BIM has the power to simplify the management of all these activities through using a virtual digital model of the asset. The BIM model, in fact, can be enriched with all the significant data and become a sort of building dossier that the Facility Manager can easily access and consult to make decisions more quickly and efficiently.

Which BIM dimension supports Facility Management of a building?

Facility Management is generally associated with 7D BIM, which represents the dimension used to track important asset data such as its status, maintenance/operation manuals, warranty information, technical specifications, etc. to be used at a future stage.

This dimension is essential for Facility Managers who, thanks to the information contained in the BIM model, can more easily identify the physical and functional characteristics of the structure. In addition, the integration of BIM and Facility Management allows to:

  • increase collaboration between the parties involved;
  • improve decision-making processes;
  • reduce the time and costs associated with interventions;
  • make maintenance smarter and more effective;
  • optimise space planning;
  • reduce energy consumption and improve user safety;
  • identify potential issues.
BIM in Facility Management

Benefits of BIM in Facility Management

What type of BIM model is used in Facility Management?

The model used in the asset management and maintenance phase is the so-called “As-Built” model, which is defined as the record drawings and documentation of the delivered project.

In fact, the as-built model fully captures the as-built conditions of the project and contains the relevant as-built drawings, also being constantly updated according to the interventions carried out during its lifecycle.

In addition to showing the exact location of the elements (such as furniture, equipment, fixtures, piping, etc.), the as-built model contains a series of useful information to support the Facility Manager’s work (manuals, data sheets, etc.).

When integrated with systems that allow real-time information on the state of the building (IoT), this model becomes a true virtual twin of the asset (Digital Twin), allowing you to interact with the surrounding reality.

Thanks to this interaction, Facility Managers are able to simulate the behaviour of the building and adopt more efficient management solutions.

How is BIM used in Facility Management?

BIM can be viewed as a virtual process that encompasses all aspects, disciplines, and systems of a facility within a single, virtual model, allowing all design team members to collaborate more accurately and efficiently than using traditional processes. This is also one of the major benefits of using BIM for Facility Management activities.

Differently to the traditional approach, in BIM processes, facility managers collaborate with the design team and contribute to assets planning, for example by providing guidance on the choice of materials, the organisation of the space, the type of equipment to be installed and the type of information required for maintenance. All this translates into a significant reduction in project time and cost management.

If you are involved in Facility Management, we recommend you start using a BIM facility management tools that allows you to manage maintenance activities wherever you are and without needing to install any software, while taking advantage of all the benefits of the BIM methodology.

Thanks to the integration of BIM with dedicated maintenance management systems, a BIM software for facility management  allows you to interact directly with the building’s Digital Twin enriched with all the necessary information and to produce more appropriate maintenance plans.

An enormous contribution of BIM to facility management also lies in the possibility of integrating BIM models with intelligent systems (BIM-IoT platform) enabling Facility Managers to monitor the performance and consumption of the building over its lifetime and to evaluate more sustainable alternative solutions.