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FMs are accustomed to getting a CAD drawing at the completion of a construction project from the designer and, if they're lucky, as-built drawings from the contractor. Andy Stolworthy, BIM Project Leader at ASSA ABLOY Security Solutions, explores how Building Information Modelling (BIM) is closing the gap between the architect’s intent and the FM’s management.

Organisations spend a significant part of their overall expenditure on managing their property. The larger the organisation, the more complex this becomes and the greater the potential savings from better management. Previously, architects didn’t have an efficient way of sharing information with FMs, so their design intent could be lost and FMs would waste time looking up disparate drawings and documents as a data resource.

BIM is helping to overcome this problem, as it provides a communication portal for everyone involved in a project. This not only creates efficiencies during the planning and build stage, but also through the handover process and throughout the ongoing management of the assets. Manufacturers can effectively transfer their planned maintenance strategy through a BIM model, which will display an asset’s life expectancy, in turn reducing the likelihood of equipment failures that could lead to costly emergency call outs.

Increasingly, due to the transfer of focus from capex to totex budgeting, architects may specify a product based on costs that occur after an asset has been acquired, including maintenance, repair and replacement expenditure. Successful BIM delivery for FM is about communicating this to them in an accessible and comprehensive format to help improve the communication of the original intention and use this to


manage space more efficiently and cost-effectively over the project’s lifetime.

For example, ASSA ABLOY Security Solutions has recently launched its BIM doorsets and will shortly be releasing its hardware set objects, which have structural data attached providing a clear indication of the expected life of components in different environments. Extensive research has been carried out on these BIM objects, which has seen the installation of cycle-counters within real-life applications from schools to hospitals, in order to obtain an accurate representative of an object’s life-cycle within different establishments.

This information is available in the BIM object’s attached data, making it easier for architects to specify products that will be of a high enough standard for continual application in particular environments.

BIM objects can correctly inform architects on the evaluation of their options, so they may choose to make a higher initial investment in a product that can improve value for money over its whole life, by reducing maintenance costs and eliminating the need to upgrade. A BIM model will then store this information, so the architect’s original focus on the whole life cost of the project is easily translated to the FM.

Essentially, BIM has the potential to serve as an electronic Operations and Maintenance Manual to assist in


maintaining the built environment. BIM is not a complete solution for FM; it is a process to be added to the skill set of the profession to promote best practice. So far, FMs have not had a great input into the evolution of BIM; nevertheless, it is imperative that they begin to understand the benefits BIM will bring to them. With the UK Government declaring that all new Government-funded building must be constructed using BIM software by 2016, this awareness and collaboration will only become more important.

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