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5 ways BIM can benefit Facility Management


Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology has proven itself quite useful during design and construction, because it enables better planning and it allows you to solve problems in a virtual environment, rather than at the actual construction site. Being able to fix clashes before they happen carries a great ROI, and reduces construction schedules (or at least keeps the project on schedule!)

But what about Facility Management? Can facility managers benefit from BIM? Or would that be pushing technology too far? Here, we outline 5 ways BIM can benefit Facility Management, so you can evaluate and answer that question for yourself.

1. Real-time, accurate, and reliable As-Built data.

The Asset Management Strategy needs a medium, and the BIM Execution Plan is the winner. Designers can work with owners early on in the process, identifying the assets that need to be tracked and collecting information during construction. This enables more accurate information (it’s collected at the moment it’s created), visibility for all stakeholders (facility teams will have access to this information in real-time), and reduced commissioning times (commissioning agents spend half their time trying to gather assets information).
Facility managers don’t need to wait for the formal ‘messy’ handover and can have their assets information since day one of operations. Apart from that, recreating information for a CAFM/CMMS may cost up to $100 or $150 per asset.

2. More effective maintenance planning.

Having a 3D easy-to-use interface with a virtual representation of the property allows better planning of the work to be done. With just a click, technicians can have access to all the asset information, identifying other equipment that’s connected and may be affected, assess the surroundings and identify hazard or access issues, and reduce guess-work.

3. Faster troubleshooting.

Facility managers are regularly improving their Preventive Maintenance strategy to avoid unexpected problems. However, when there’s an issue, time is paramount to restore comfort to occupants or even fix production downtimes. Workers need to have access to the assets and facility information very fast, and a 3D model with isolating system capabilities does the job way better than a binder and large sets of drawings. Technicians can quickly see the facility systems and identify shut off valves and critical components to get things back to normal.

4. Better training.

Facilities are changing all the time, and maintenance technicians need to keep up with this to take good care of their assets. Having an interactive BIM model that resembles Google Maps for their facility, allows them to absorb and retain information much better than they would do with traditional methods. Virtual walk-downs, theoretical and SOP training are just a few examples of how BIM models can accelerate workers’ learning curve.

5. Centralized information available from anywhere.

Technology is advancing rapidly, and we all know that we can make better decisions if we have the right data. But how can we make sense of all this ‘data’? BIM for FM brings information from different sources, such as live data from Building Management Systems, Operation and Maintenance manuals, Work Order history, and more, and arranges it around a very simple to use interface. This way managers, owners, and technicians can have access to this vast amount of data in a way that they can make sense of it, and leverage it to make better decisions. Technology is complicated enough, so the tool must be very simple and intuitive.