As mentioned in last week’s post, BIM is gaining large momentum in the AEC community and in some project sectors is becoming a de facto standard, even when it is not a client requirement. This is because AEC’s benefit significantly from using the technology, shortening project delivery times and improving quality. Owners, represented by FM, should be adopting BIM technology as a way of improving the performance and costs of the project over its entire life cycle. Many, however, are reluctant. This may be because they do not understand its value, costs, or processes.
It is the value proposition that is most important since it will drive adoption. While BIM is most often thought of as appropriate for large projects the reality is that all projects have life cycles. When you are talking about buildings they are long life cycles, thereby offering an extended benefit timeline. Adopting BIM as part of a development strategy pays lasting dividends by bridging the gap between the AEC team that builds the building and the Owner who must occupy and operate the facility.
- Integrating BIM data with other building systems allows data to be continuously updated over the life of the building. CMMS, IWMS, BMS, BAS and other systems share data, improving data visibility and efficiency.
- Building performance is improved by this increased data transparency, allowing faster analysis and response when problems occur.
- Data availability lowers the cost of data capture and reduces the cost of operations by allowing deeper analysis of systems behavior, including energy performance and the effect of operational processes.
- Building data in digital form is instantly available to operators and planners at their desk or on the move – not locked away in a basement cavern in a “seek and maybe you will find” manner.
Ah, but what about the costs, you ask. Like many good things in life BIM does not come free. There are acquisition, roll out, training and continuing staff costs. Usually, however, the ROI is around two years, often shorter than that. Here is a quick summary of cost factors.
- Initial costs to design using BIM technology and then produce a model that FM can use.
- Initial cost to integrate multiple FM systems, collect data and train staff.
- Continuing costs to update information and maintain a current “As-Is” information set (not to be confused with “As-Built” which only codifies the building at a particular point in time).
Savings begin before initial operations and continue through the life of the facility.
- Less time is spent collecting data.
- Less time is spent searching for data.
- Modification projects benefit from real time availability of accurate information.
- Utility expenses are reduced by better performing equipment.
The benefits of BIM outweigh its cost as reflected by short ROI periods and improved operating efficiencies and costs. Those benefits are lost, however, when FM chooses not to implement the technology. As time moves forward BIM is likely to be available on most projects as its adoption further penetrates the AEC industry. That means that it will be available to most FM’s. We will not have to require it of our builders. Rather, they will wonder why we are not taking advantage of a transformational technology.
For more information see BIM for Facility Managers, a publication of the IFMA Foundation edited by Paul Teicholz.