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FSI: Ready or not, here BIM comes…

03 March 2016

Here we are in 2016 with the April deadline for mandatory Level 2 BIM use for centrally funded construction nearly upon us, but the big question is… are we, in the facilities management industry, all BIM ready?

Being involved in some early-adopter projects here at FSI means we’re lucky enough to have experience of how useful BIM can be for FM and it’s all too easy to assume that everyone in FM takes these benefits for granted. We have seen demonstrated time saving for mobilisation of FM contracts and CAFM implementation due to streamlined data transfer and also time and money saving in day-to-day operation of buildings where BIM is accessible.

Unfortunately due to the length of time that a construction project takes to reach fruition there are still only a limited number of case studies available despite BIFM teaming up with the BIM Academy last year to publish some BIM for Asset and Facilities Management case studies. So there is a certain amount of fear of the unknown from an FM point of view as well as worry about guaranteed return on investment and who will be picking up the tab in the short term. There are still some FMs who look on BIM as ticking a box for construction rather than regarding it a as a tool for ongoing benefit for the life of buildings.

Certainly the British Standards Institute has been working hard to update the 1192 suite of British standards and publicly available specifications to ensure that the definition of what Level 2 BIM actually is and the processes required to achieve it are available to all. And these can still be downloaded free of charge thanks to sponsorship from the Construction Industry Council (CIC) on behalf of the BIM Task Group.

PAS1192- 3 shapes the process of information management for the handover and operational phase of a facility and assets using BIM and BS1192-4 details the structure for COBie (Construction Operations Building information exchange) data and PAS1192-5 provides a specification for security-minded BIM, digital built environments and smart asset management.

CAFM/IWMS vendors such as FSI are expanding their systems’ core functionality for better handling of additional attribute data and more flexible mapping of building and infrastructure hierarchies. This, coupled with Concept Evolution’s enhanced PFI payment mechanism module that is configurable with workflow rather than reliant on bespoke code, provides the ideal platform for government funded investments.

It’s very good that facilities managers are being expected to collaborate in construction projects in order to achieve a ‘soft landing’ and are being asked to define the data that they need to extract from the BIM in order to integrate with their CAFM & IWMS systems. But many FMs who are getting involved in a BIM project for the first time, may be BIM-blind and cannot be expected to know what to ask for. This is why BIFM’s Operational Readiness Committee, have sponsored the creation of a sample Employer Information Requirement (EIR) template that can be used. This can help make the difference where BIM for construction can be procured well, creating very little additional investment required to meet FM’s needs.

Also, to help provide the FM sector with the tools that they need to understand their role in construction projects, BIFM’s Operational Readiness Committee has been working on a comprehensive guidance document for facilities managers. This guidance document is aimed at helping advise on the actions to be undertaken from a facilities point of view during each of the stages of construction. This will be published on the BIFM website in March.

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