Getting FMs involved at the start of building projects is crucial to making building information modelling (BIM) relevant to facilities personnel, delegates at a recent IWFM webinar were told.
The event, put on by the IWFM’s technology special interest group, was focused on planning and managing the mapping of BIM data into operational systems. It covered topics including data mapping, life cycle considerations and visual BIM.
Throughout, a key theme was the importance of getting FMs involved at the early stages of building projects.
Gary Bell, principal consultant at Turner & Townsend, argued the case for early involvement of the FM department in BIM projects.
“It's really important that at the outset of a project, facilities managers are heavily involved in specifying the asset information requirements,” said Bell. “It’s critical that FMs come in at the start, thinking with the end in mind from the outset.”
Panellists acknowledged that take-up of BIM from FM had not been as wide as hoped, examining some of the issues surrounding how useful BIM was for the FM sector and how to get it to work effectively.
Polls during the discussion showed that three-quarters of attendees had not used visual BIM, and almost a third had not used laser scanning or photogrammetry*.
Penny Brinsley of Service Works Global said that one of the benefits of having access to a 3D viewer within an FM system was that no specialist skills were required or expertise needed to view or access the models. A smashed pane of glass could be located, visualised and clicked on via computer to get all the information related to it for replacement.
“An operative may not need to visit the site and the pane can be ordered, meaning the job can be rectified in a much shorter time,” added Brinsley.
Getting quotes for contractors to replace a unit, identifying safe drilling places to avoid pipes, and reducing the number of visits to a location, were all benefits of having a digital 3D model with data.
Brinsley emphasised the value of this level of information to safety checks and compliance.
But what is perhaps less often mentioned is the value of BIM as a driver of sustainability, helping to understand energy use and consumption.
“Having an information model embedded with rich data about carbon and performance, coupled with smart sensor technology, could help us understand, through the operational phase, the rate of depreciation of assets and the impact that has on the carbon footprint,” said Bell.
The panel also considered how ‘scan-to-BIM’ could aid FMs. Derek Lawrence of Twindl said that FMs should think about what was necessary in terms of scanning and modelling.
“If you had a 3D BIM model created of the building that you’re in now, would that help you in any way maintain it?” he said. “I think the answer would be yes, you could make it help you use that, but do you need to go all the way into modelling, would be my question. The version of the truth is the laser scan or a picture. Why wouldn’t you consider tagging pictures – because it’s all about making decisions with data – rather than going all the way to modelling.”
The full hour-long discussion, the second of two parts, can be seen here.
The Role of FM in BIM Projects
BIM Data for FM Systems
Employers; Information Requirements
Operational Readiness Guide
Related IWFM communities:
(* “Photogrammetry is the science and technology of obtaining reliable information about physical objects and the environment through the process of recording, measuring and interpreting photographic images and patterns of electromagnetic radiant imagery and other phenomena.”)