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Feature FM and BIM

“Once we might have been given a room with loads of fi les, now it’s on a disk, ready to go” Katy Dowding, Skanska

In February, the government followed up the level 2 strategy with Digital Built Britain, a strategic plan to implement level 3 BIM – the point when it really gets interesting from an FM perspective. At level 2, the whole construction team works collaboratively to create a BIM model with associated data, but level 3 extends a transparent, integrated approach across the asset life-cycle. “BIM was predicted to drive around 25% out of the cost of buildings, but when you drill down, a lot of the savings are in occupier management and FM,” says Ian Smith, head of occupier project management EMEA at CBRE.

FMs have long argued that they should

be involved earlier to prevent bad decisions that increase operational costs down the line, a philosophy that is now enshrined in the government's BIM and Soft Landings strategy. This aims to close the gap between buildings’ predicted and actual performance and smooth the handover process by involving FM from the earliest design stages. So in the short term, the public sector level 2 BIM mandate will mean closer working between construction and operational teams. Further into the future, it raises the possibility of genuine convergence between them.

Handing over a complete record In the short term, the most immediate benefi t of BIM will be a more complete, accessible record of what a building contains at handover. “Once we might have been given a room with loads of fi les, now it’s on a disk, ready to go,” says Katy Dowding, managing director of Skanska’s FM team. “We can literally download it out of the BIM model and upload it into our CAFM [computer-aided FM] system.” This will also mean that contractors bidding for work will be able to price their services more accurately, and that no asset is overlooked: “The other day I was asked to price a building and given 150 drawing PDFs and no asset register,” says Kath Fontana, managing director of BAM FM. “My team had to spend a week doing take-offs from the drawings. With BIM, we will get the model and the COBie spreadsheet. Historically the data handed over to FM from construction has never been formally validated or verifi ed. Now it will be, which means that we ought to be able to de-risk the process for the client.” But it’s the further extension of BIM's technological potential that will really make a difference to FM. Digital Built Britain foresees that with the “internet of things” – where web-enabled building systems communicate autonomously with each other – there will be the opportunity to collect in-use performance data to guide maintenance and investment decisions, rather than following manufacturers’ generic guidelines. The government predicts this will transform the way assets are managed and delivered. “At level 3, it starts getting more

interesting because we will be able to drill

right into the detailed asset register of every component in the building, allowing maintenance to be undertaken in a very specialised way,” says CBRE's head of occupier management Ian Smith. “We already keep a solid database of equipment and life expectancy, but that’s never going to be as accurate as real-life data.” He also envisions further effi ciencies: “If the BIM model is wired up to the building management system we can track it all the time, constantly monitoring performance.” This would also enable occupiers to plan ahead. “So often refurbishment decisions are driven by the fact that a major piece of plant has failed and you can’t get to it. These are the sorts of things that are supposed to be driven out with BIM.” This operational data could be even

more valuable when used at construction stage, providing a much stronger backing for decisions based on whole-life rather than upfront costs. “Many of these principles have been

around for some time, but BIM is a tool to take it to another level,” says Roger King, director at Telereal Trillium, a property management company and FM services provider. “The biggest opportunity for FM as an industry is to demonstrate how they can infl uence cost and risk by being involved in the design. On the fl ipside, that’s also the challenge for the FM sector: to demonstrate how design change will improve service or reduce costs, or that if you maintain a building in a certain way, it saves money.”

FM’s maturing market Facilities management accounts for an increasing share of contractors’ workload – and, crucially, profi ts. Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Carillion, Vinci, Mace, Skanska and BAM Construct are among the fi rms now earning a signifi cant proportion of their income from FM, with business units that have expanded beyond social housing repairs and PFI contracts to target a much broader FM market: encompassing “hard” FM services such as fabric repairs, fi t-out and M&E services, and the “soft” side of security, cleaning and catering. They’re lured by higher margins, a

more regular workload and longer-term relationships with clients. The exact fi gures are hard to come by: contractors often bracket together their FM


“The biggest opportunity for FM as an industry is to demonstrate how they can infl uence cost and risk by being involved in the design” Roger King, Telereal Trillium


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