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How does BIM benefit facility managers?

The use of BIM in facility management: what is it and what are the benefits over time in terms of building management and maintenance

A complete information framework of a building is essential to ensure its correct management and maintenance over time. There are processes and methods, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), that enable access to the building information and allow better facility management.

BIM offers a wide range of advantages in the construction, management and maintenance of a work: let’s find out what they are together.

How BIM help facility management

Facility management refers to the management of existing real estate based on the collection, storage, generation, update and sharing of documents relating to the history of the building (charts, technical data sheets, user manuals, documents, reports, projects, etc.).

In the BIM field, facility management is associated with 7D, the dimension that deals with managing buildings throughout their entire life cycle.

BIM in facility management results undeniably beneficial as it:

  • generates savings on maintenance costs;
  • improves collaboration between professionals;
  • improves project efficiency and accelerates the delivery times of the works;
  • reduces risks for operators and improves safety in the workplace;
  • reduces any interference between the elements envisaged in the project and the variants during the work;
  • offers better planning of maintenance works;
  • improves the control of facility managers in routine maintenance;
  • integrates with facility management software and systems to automate processes and digitize information.
facility management

6D BIM- Facility Management

BIM also goes beyond what is the mere building management. The information associated with the 3D model and provided by BIM helps facility managers to communicate needs and programs with contractors and suppliers. It also helps the management of all aspects related to communication and interdisciplinary collaboration.

The information model of the building has a great value and can be used and implemented during the entire life cycle of the product. In fact, professionals, contractors, suppliers and customers can collect information and add it to the BIM model.

What is BIM for facility management?

BIM is a methodology based on construction and infrastructure management processes: from the design of a building to its construction, from maintenance works to demolition.

The main objective of BIM for facility management is to optimize all flows and resources that concern the management of a work. This objective is achieved by digitizing all the information that is directly associated with the 3D digital model (digital twin that corresponds to the 3D digital replica of the physical building). The digital twin allows facility managers to have all the information they need and also to add new ones.

There is no limit to the quality, quantity and degree of detail of the information that a BIM model can contain. This is why BIM is increasingly becoming a necessity for employees in the construction sector and for those who deal with facility management: information is always accessible, safe and shareable with other employees.

The role of BIM for facility management is also to provide quantifiable and accurate information relating to all aspects concerning maintenance (works aimed at the routine maintenance of systems, replacement of fixtures, renovation of finishes, structural improvements, etc.).

BIM allows you to examine a very realistic 3D model and analyze information as needed. The result of the analyses and estimates made on a BIM model will certainly be very accurate and this also implies an accuracy in the management of maintenance.

Ultimately, what is the relationship between BIM and facility management?

We could say that BIM is now indispensable for facility management because it supports and facilitates the entire decision-making phase and helps to optimize the resources, collaboration and information of the building throughout its life cycle.

Which BIM model features facility management?

As mentioned earlier, there is a dimension of BIM that deals exclusively with the management of all facility management information and is BIM 6D.

6D BIM contains all the information useful for the management and maintenance of existing assets through actions that ensure quality of services and safety of users and workers.

With 6D BIM, everything related to the structure management process is collected within a single building information model. The objective is to maintain the performance standard of the components of the asset (fixtures, systems, energy behavior, etc.) until its demolition.

The availability of BIM models allows the simulation of multiple scenarios to effectively evaluate asset management activities:

  • state of art;
  • interventions;
  • timing;
  • costs.

The sixth dimension of BIM, therefore, allows the management of the building during its entire life cycle and associates the essential information to the maintenance and management of the asset with the 3D model. In this way, information can be shared and exchanged between the different stakeholders, it can always be implemented over time and there is no risk of data loss.

To better manage all aspects of facility management directly on a single BIM model, we need a BIM Facility Management tool dedicated to the control, verification and maintenance of assets.

An application of this type helps to manage:

  • sites;
  • assets;
  • maintenance plans;
  • maintenance activities;
  • all other possible activities on the asset during its life cycle.