How to Maximize Building Information Modeling Software

As a facilities management professional, you’re keenly aware of how building information modeling (BIM) has completely transformed the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure over the past 15 years. By combining new technology and global standards with business processes, architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) teams can identify constructability problems very early in the design stages where changes are quick to make and cheap to implement rather than later in the project after the concrete has set.

“How can you leverage AEC data to proactively maintain and better operate your facilities?”

Through corporate mergers and acquisitions, and new business partnerships, technology has advanced tremendously over the past decade. These activities have enabled new tools like Autodesk BIM 360 and Trimble Connect for team collaboration. The new partnership between Esri and Autodesk has even enabled new system interoperability levels and the birth of new concepts like GeoBIM.

These new combinations have unleashed significant advances in all processes related to design and construction. There are now countless case studies describing the BIM return on investment in the form of increased efficiencies, reduced risk, reduced defect rates, and considerably shortened delivery schedules. And yet, many of the promises of the BIM revolution have not delivered appreciable benefits to building owners and operators other than reduced design and construction costs.

How are governments using building information modeling software?

  • Infrastructure Planning and Design: Governments use BIM software to create digital models of infrastructure projects such as buildings, roads, bridges, and utilities. These models help in visualizing the project, analyzing different design options, and simulating various scenarios before construction begins.
  • Construction and Project Management: BIM software aids governments in managing construction projects more efficiently. It enables collaboration between architects, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors by providing a shared platform for project data and information.
  • Asset Management and Maintenance: Governments use BIM software to manage and maintain their existing assets effectively. BIM models provide a detailed and accurate representation of infrastructure assets, including buildings, roads, bridges, and utilities.
  • Facility Management: BIM software supports governments in efficiently managing public facilities, such as government buildings, hospitals, schools, and public parks. BIM models are used to store crucial information about the facilities, including equipment, maintenance schedules, warranties, and energy usage.
  • Urban Planning and Development: BIM software is utilized in urban planning to create digital representations of entire cities or neighborhoods. Governments can use BIM models to simulate and analyze the impact of proposed developments, assess infrastructure requirements, and evaluate the compatibility of new projects with existing infrastructure. BIM aids in making informed decisions, optimizing land use, and enhancing urban sustainability.
  • Asset Performance Monitoring: BIM software integrated with Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors allows governments to monitor the performance and condition of assets in real-time. By capturing and analyzing data from sensors installed in infrastructure assets, governments can detect anomalies, predict failures, and proactively address maintenance needs.
  • Data-driven Decision Making: BIM software provides governments with a wealth of data and analytics to support data-driven decision-making processes. By analyzing BIM models and associated data, governments can gain insights into asset performance, lifecycle costs, energy usage, and environmental impact.
  • Regulatory Compliance and Code Enforcement: BIM software enables governments to enforce building codes, regulations, and standards effectively. BIM models provide a comprehensive representation of building designs, including structural elements, fire safety features, and accessibility considerations.

Maximizing the Return of Your Investment into Building Information Modeling Software

We know that 80 percent of the total cost of ownership of any facility is incurred during the operations and maintenance phase. To build high-performing operations and make the most of your building information models, ask your team the following questions.

  • How do we leverage our rich design and construction data to proactively maintain and better operate our facilities?
  • How do we ensure that the information delivered during the commissioning process is complete and consistent no matter what AEC team we choose to deliver the new construction?
  • How do we automate the population of our maintenance management systems when new construction is delivered?

Luckily, the answer to all these questions starts with creating a BIM standard for your organization. Just remember that the data required to operate a facility efficiently is somewhat different than the info needed to design and construct that same facility.

4 Steps to Building your BIM Standard

To receive the data required to operate your facility post-construction, you need to define those information deliverables before design begins—in detail. These information deliverables need to be described contractually. There needs to be sufficient financial teeth in your contracts and commissioning processes to ensure they get delivered in a timely manner.

To be successful, implement these 4 steps:

  1. Begin with the end in mind. Create an operational BIM standard that describes all the information elements you will need to operate your facility and populate your maintenance management system.
  2. Don’t forget your contracts. Make sure that your new BIM standards are included in your design and construction contracts. Your AEC team can’t create this info after the fact. They need to understand your needs upfront to meet them.
  3. Set and enforce expectations. Make sure your contracts and commissioning processes have teeth and are enforced. Creating this data will require effort from your AEC team. You’ll need to make sure they deliver it promptly.
  4. Invest in a little automation. There are good tools available from companies like Safe Software (one of the best software companies ever) and Ecodomus that can automate your CMMS population from BIM deliverables. Check them out.

Wow. That may seem like a lot of work, but the rewards will be compelling. It will undoubtedly require some clear thinking and a fair amount of work to deliver on this promise.  Done right, however, you will have much better information available to your team to operate your new facility efficiently. Plus, the time it takes your team to load that rich info into your CMMS will be greatly reduced, and you’ll quickly be able to reach back to the as-built model when questions arise.

Need Help? You’re Not Alone

Above all, don’t feel like you’re alone. As always, we want to be a trusted partner with you on your high-performance journey. There are also great documents out there like the National BIM Guide for Owners to get you started. For help along the way, there are incredible consultants like Deke Smith, who has spent most of his career on this issue and helped write many of the industry standards.

Still feeling stuck? Or anxious to get started? Reach out for a chat. We’d love to help you think through a crawl, walk, run approach to get you started. The best way for us to help you build a high-performance operation is to help you get good information into your facilities information system.

Category: Asset Management

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