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BIM models and Facility Management

BIM models and Facility Management: operational optimization

The adoption of BIM models in Facility Management translates into unprecedented operational efficiency, reducing management and maintenance costs while improving space and resource scheduling. Find out how

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a methodology that has proven very useful during the design and construction phases of buildings and infrastructure, as it allows for better planning and problem-solving in a virtual environment rather than on the actual construction site. Being able to resolve conflicts before they occur allows for construction schedule adherence and ensures excellent returns on investments.

But what about Facility Management? Can facility managers benefit from BIM?

In this article, we will explore the evolutionary path of BIM models, from their creation during the design and construction phases to their application in Facility Management (FM) and the role played by BIM models in Facility Management.

From Design to Management: Evolution of BIM Models

BIM Design Models

In the initial phase, architects and engineers develop BIM design models with the aim of defining the architectural concept and producing documentation for construction. These models, characterized by a generic definition of materials and equipment, provide builders with the freedom to submit competitive bids while maintaining a high level of design flexibility.

BIM Construction Models

BIM construction models, used by technicians and construction companies, facilitate construction phases planning and the early identification of any conflicts through clash detection. These models are rich in detail, contributing to reducing uncertainty in the construction process, improving safety, and simulating real-world outcomes.

BIM for Facility Management

Facility Management in the BIM process

The Critical Transition: From Built to Managed

As-Built BIM Models

Usually, the designers responsible for drafting the project models also have the responsibility to create the as-built BIM model at the end of works. However, it should be noted that designers are not always updated on all changes made on-site, and therefore, it is the responsibility of the construction company to update the final drawings.

These models, enriched with details, annotations, and technical specifications, become an indispensable resource for owners, serving as an authoritative reference model.

BIM Models for Facility Management

The BIM model for Facility Management (FM) evolves from the As-Built model, removing irrelevant information related to construction and instead integrating essential data for effective building management. But what is the function of BIM in Facility Management?

The purpose of defining a BIM model for Facility Management is to manage the information transmitted from the design and construction phases, or detected as as-built, to maintenance operations.

BIM allows facility managers to manage the building throughout its life cycle, providing access to data such as building layouts, electrical and mechanical systems, and real-time equipment specifications, enabling them to make informed decisions, simplify maintenance and repair processes, and improve building performance. Using this methodology, equipment and component lists can be automated, Facility Management systems such as a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) can be enriched, and building data redundancy can be reduced.

The benefits a CMMS can offer your company and your maintenance business are numerous and all very relevant! Try a Facility Management software now too and see how this tool simplifies any facility management procedure!

The Role of BIM Models in Facility Management

BIM models thus play a crucial role in facility management. They provide a clear understanding of the physical characteristics of a building, such as its dimensions, shape, and spatial relationships, which are essential for facility management activities such as maintenance, repair, and refurbishment. These models can simplify building management throughout its life cycle and provide facility managers with real-time information about the building and its systems.

Facility Management Optimization through BIM

The transition from the as-built model to the BIM FM model enables a qualitative leap in building management, providing an integrated database for tracking maintenance operations, space management, and planning material and equipment replacements.

BIM model with as-built documentation

BIM model with as-built documentation

From As-Built to BIM FM Model

The crucial question about the usefulness of the as-built model in the context of Facility Management (FM) requires careful evaluation, based on two fundamental premises.

Content and Format

Does the model contain all the necessary information for the effective implementation of FM operations? Is it adaptable to the specific needs of the intended use?

In the analysis of this issue, considerable challenges emerge. Naming and classification conventions adopted during the design and construction phases may not perfectly align with FM operational needs. For example, criteria such as tariff codes, space denominations, and other classification systems, although appropriate in the initial stages, may prove inadequate once the building is operational. The need for a more detailed breakdown of equipment to support maintenance intervention planning is another factor to consider.
It is common to find that the as-built model is composed of multiple subsystems, not only based on technical disciplines (architecture, structures, MEP) but also on building lot divisions. While this organization may be heuristic during construction, it may require revision during FM operations, for example, to be divided according to service management criteria.

Suitability for Use

Is the model suitable for its purpose as an FM tool?

This evaluation requires a broad perspective. It is essential to define a clear action plan that identifies the benefits, applications, and end-users of the BIM model in the FM context. Integration with Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) represents a tangible example of implementation. However, to achieve true bidirectional data integration, the BIM model must be enriched with specific parameters, in line with the CMMS data structure.

Similarly, performance consideration is crucial. A detailed as-built model, while valuable for documentation and historical consultation, may be overly burdensome for operational use in FM. Simplifying the model, removing non-essential elements, and optimizing modeling strategies become essential to ensure FM operational efficiency.

Key Changes for FM BIM Model Creation

In creating the FM BIM model, the following changes are made:

  • removing irrelevant information, including construction details and technical drawing sheets. This information, although available in the as-built model, can weigh down the FM BIM model if included;
  • if possible, merging connected models representing architectural, mechanical, electrical, fire protection, and specialized equipment aspects;
  • numbering equipment and components with unique asset IDs;
  • connecting the FM BIM model to the facility management system, which tracks ongoing work orders, maintenance operations, occupancy information, equipment and material replacement costs, and other building operation-related data.

These changes aim to make the FM BIM model an agile and efficient tool for managing spaces and infrastructure, eliminating any superfluous elements and focusing on what is truly useful for daily and strategic property management.

Benefits of using BIM model in Facility Management

The role of the facility manager in building management involves challenges such as poor planning, unforeseen expenses, and the risk resulting from a lack of detailed knowledge of the structure. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the solution because it integrates data on products and resources within maintenance.

This approach facilitates more effective and preventive maintenance, reducing costs and planning time. BIM also helps in space optimization, minimizing waste and costs while maximizing efficient space usage. In the context of retrofit or renovation projects, BIM provides detailed data that allow for cost, time, and complexity assessments, preventing excessive problems and financial surprises.

Furthermore, BIM enables detailed analysis of energy consumption and facilitates the implementation of energy-saving strategies: this not only reduces operating costs but also contributes to environmental sustainability. Finally, BIM offers a long-term perspective, allowing facility managers to evaluate investments that ensure optimal building operation over time, reducing overall expenses and optimizing efficiency. In summary, BIM represents a versatile and effective tool for improving building management, reducing costs, time, and energy.

Conclusions

The integration of the BIM model into the building life cycle and Facility Management represents a revolution in how buildings are designed, constructed, and managed. This evolution promises not only significant economic savings but also a qualitative leap in sustainability and efficiency of living and working spaces, outlining a future where technology and innovation walk hand in hand towards the creation of optimized environments for future generations.

If you are involved in Facility Management, I recommend evaluating this practical BIM facility management tool immediately, which allows you to manage maintenance activities leveraging all the advantages of the BIM methodology.

 

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