Open-access content Monday 11th November 2013
Jacqueline Gillman, product development manager at BIFM, talks of the future for FM and BIM.
11 November 2013
There's no doubt that over the past couple of years the impact of Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been at the top of the agenda for the built environment sector.
However, conversations with FMs operating at the coalface suggest there's evidence that many are asking, "Where's the 'F' in BIM?"
After all, the main driver for the current activity is the public sector and the Government Construction Strategy. In fairness, you can understand their point; all of these activities relate to construction and major refurbishment projects rather than existing buildings. For the majority of FMs this is an immediate turn-off.
However, the Growth Through BIM report published by the Construction Industry Council (CIC), for which BIFM was a consultee, highlights this is just the first step.
BIM is an enabler that will start the process of digitising our built assets, supporting the optimisation surrounding efficiencies and creating value. Therefore, there have been some underlying frustrations from other professions over the reluctance of FM to engage, as the main beneficiary of the outputs of BIM will be FM.
Although the construction side of the supply chain is currently steering the BIM agenda, reports show that its impact will be felt right across the built environment (classified as property, construction and facilities management). Together they contribute 15 per cent of the UK GDP (see the Growth Through BIM report).
Therefore, rather than asking about the "what", maybe it's time for FM to seize the opportunity and identify "where" in BIM it should actually sit.
A new home for FM
The reality is that BIM is about innovation. To an extent this means an element of reinvention, creating new ways of working and engaging in new conversations.
This in itself can present uncomfortable challenges.
Yet, business leaders talk of a desire for innovation to drive growth and create competitive advantage. We already know BIM will provide new business intelligence and opportunities for information integration, and this in itself is an opportunity for FM to demonstrate its value. Therefore, if BIM is to be embraced by FM, there is a need to incorporate new and/or different processes or ways of thinking.
To support our members, and the industry on this journey, BIFM is already starting to embrace these changes. We are committed to holding discussions such as our recent FM Leaders Forum on the involvement of FM from stage zero of 'RIBA's Plan of Work 2013' and our panel debate: "Is FM the catalyst for all future building projects?" BIFM is also leading and identifying the FM component of the data requirements for each stage of the BIM model.
BIFM doesn't currently have all the answers - but no one does. We are all entering uncharted waters. However, through our engagement with other institutes such as RIBA, and the CIC, and as a member of the BIM4FM group, we believe we can find the solutions.
Never before has FM been talked about with such an appetite or had the opportunity to have its thoughts and opinions heard.
If you have any additional feedback you can contact the BIFM membership team at [email protected] or by calling +44 (0)1279 712 650.