The Benefits of Lifecycle BIM for Facility Management

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Business Information Modeling (BIM) has transformed architecture, engineering and construction. However the great potential of BIM is to provide accurate, timely, and relevant information not just during design and construction for a single building, but also throughout the lifecycle of an entire portfolio of facilities. The use of BIM technology in the operational phase of a building’s lifecycle is just beginning to take hold as building owners look for new ways to improve the effectiveness of their facility operations.

The most recent McGraw Hill Smart Marketing Report on the business value of BIM for building owners which was completed in 2014 said that 84% of building owners in the US and 95% of building owners would be adopting the use of BIM for all new construction within 2 years….which is now.

But why are we seeing this transformation and what are the reasons that building owners are beginning to rapidly adopt BIM based solutions for the entire building lifecycle including all aspects of building operations?

Lifecycle BIM is the practice of creating, maintaining and utilizing building information to manage operations and maintenance of buildings throughout their operational lifecycles. Facility managers are finding value in a number of areas of building operations that benefit from enhanced data.

BIM Lifecycle Participants
BIM Lifecycle Participants

Some areas of value for using BIM in facilities management are as follows:

Improved Space Management

By understanding the details of how space is used, facility professionals can reduce vacancy and ultimately achieve major reductions in real estate expenses. The room and area information in BIM models are the foundation for good space management.

Streamlined Maintenance

The key challenge in developing a maintenance program is entering the product and asset information required for preventive maintenance. The information about building equipment stored in BIM models can eliminate months of effort to accurately populate maintenance systems.

Efficient use of Energy

BIM can help facilitate the analysis and comparisons of various energy alternatives to help facility managers dramatically reduce environmental impacts and operating costs. By analyzing the costs and the savings of various facility improvements and building system retrofits, facility managers gain a tool to optimize building performance over the life of the building.

Economical Retrofits and Renovations

A “living” BIM model provides an easier means of representing three-dimensional aspects of the building. Better information about existing conditions reduces the cost and complexity of building renovation and retrofit projects. By providing more accurate and dependable information to contractors, change orders resulting from “surprises” in as-built conditions can be greatly reduced.

Enhanced Lifecycle Management

Some building design professionals are embedding data on life expectancy and replacement costs in BIM models, thereby helping an owner understand benefits of investing in materials and systems that may cost more initially but have a better payback over the life of the building. For example, using vinyl wall covering for interior wall finishes is more expensive than paint initially, but may result in reduced overall lifecycle costs since it is more durable. The lifecycle data is also very valuable for forecasting ongoing capital improvement costs.

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