I hear the story all the time from building owners that they’ve received a model from an AEC team and it contains a wealth of information that they would love to utilize in their facility operations. The next question that arises invariably is, what do I do with the model now and how do I maintain it? Early in the BIM revolution most people were concerned with model geometry including parametric objects and increased quality of drawings because views such as floorplans, details and elevations were connected to the actual model. Over time, it has been realized that BIM is actually an entire building lifecycle process and there is much more to it than just 3D geometry and associated high quality 2D documentation. The AEC industry has fully embraced the value of the BIM based workflow process but translating this to building owner workflows has been a challenge as the process for continuing the workflow has been poorly articulated at best.
I think it’s time to demystify the BIM based lifecycle process and clearly portray to building owners the ease at which a BIM can be maintained in a healthy state that provides value throughout the life of a building. The truth is most people within an organization who interact with facilities data that flows bi-directional with a model will never know that the model exists and will most likely never see or interact with a 3D model. This does not mean that they don’t provide invaluable input to maintaining the model. On the contrary, providing secure discrete access to updating and maintaining specific information within the model to the workers who are closest to the data is truly the key to success for successful building lifecycle utilization of a BIM.
The most basic example is a maintenance technician who spends their time in the field completing both preventive and corrective maintenance tasks. Their view of BIM data may be as limited as seeing asset details or maintenance information on a handheld device such as an iPhone and may not even interact with a 2D floorplan as they go about their daily maintenance tasks. They could also be performing additional task such as barcode scanning assets and logging their conditions through a limited data driven form. This type of very specific access which is distributed broadly to staff who interact with facilities data every single day anytime and anywhere and allowing them too quickly and easily access and update a BIM is really the key to high quality lifecycle maintenance of the model. As you can see in this sense there is no actual Revit or modeling experience required for the majority of the lifecycle BIM tasks required to maintain healthy models