Building information modeling
Article

Are You Making the Most of Your BIM Investment?

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.

maximizing your BIM Investment return

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.