BSRIA recently staged an Information Management in Facilities Management event as part of its Operations & Maintenance Benchmarking Network. The prevailing consensus from the output of the event – including the workshops – was that there is uncertainty surrounding the benefits and outcomes of BIM. Delegates felt that they were seeking further clarity. And that they were struggling to understand the nuances and next steps of BIM.
Bill Wright, Head of Energy Solutions at The Electrical Contractors’ Association gave a presentation reviewing the results of the ECA’s sector-wide survey held during August and September last year with responses from contractors, consultants, main contractors and manufacturers.
They asked what BIM meant to them and this description was most popular: ‘The process of working with digital building information, including data-rich objects, which is effectively shared between those who are building and/or maintaining the building and its services.’
Only 16 per cent respondents thought they were ‘fully ready’ for BIM Level 2.
60 per cent of respondents said that BIM is ‘the future for project information’; with just less than that at 59 per cent agreeing BIM is a tool that will help achieve useful change in construction but 37 per cent said it should not apply to contracts below £100,000.
The advantages highlighted include the ability to virtually ‘walk through’ drawings reducing cost of change before construction and viewing proposed final product; better communication with clients; improve cost and accuracy of building; improve quality of drawings ideal for prefabrication; exterior and interior modelling leading to better co-ordination; better cost information; reduced design time; and improved FM information.
Simon Ashworth, Zurich University of Applied Sciences & Liverpool John Moores University, spoke about: FM – the EIR (Employers’ Information Requirements) and WLC perspective.
Simon explained that the ‘bandwagon’ of digital trends was in ‘full steam’ and that FM needs to get on board with BIM. FM also is facing a challenge of getting up to speed with BIM. He said we need to position ourselves to be able realize its benefits otherwise we run the risk of falling into a ‘death valley of know-how’ in terms of the loss of valuable information and realizing BIMs potential added value.
He reiterated research that indicates 80 per cent of the whole life cost of building or asset is fixed in the first 20 per cent of early design. This is especially relevant to the management of information in the BIM process. If you put ‘garbage in – you get garbage out!’. Facility managers and clients have to say what information they want at the start of the BIM process: ‘start with the end in mind’ to that this can be realised at the point of handover.
Simon quoted Gandhi regarding the future of BIM and FM: “The future depends on what we do in the present.” If the customer doesn’t have an asset management strategy – then they are on a ‘hiding to nothing’ without a BIM strategy. Indeed, BIM is going to ‘shake up’ the way that the whole supply chain does business. The industry focus should be FM and the EIR: defining information needs.
He also quoted Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Therefore, a paradigm change is needed.
His take home messages were that BIM is becoming the norm; BIM strategy must align with Client Asset Management Strategy; FM and clients need early engagement in BIM process; FMs need to define what they need from the BIM process; and FM should own the EIR in the BIM process.
Simon also conducted a survey among delegates which asked what are your concerns about BIM? With the responses showing the level of concern of those present at the event:
- Data management: 64 per cent.
- Unknown technology and integration with CAFM tools: 49 per cent.
- How to include BIM into contracts and legal issues: 42 per cent.
- Knowledge regarding BIM standards, guidelines and specifications: 40 per cent.
- The cost of implementation (resources or time): 33 per cent.
- Knowledge about how to set up a BIM strategy (OIR, AIR and EIR, etc): 30 per cent.
- Basic knowledge and training about BIM and its usefulness to our organisation: 24 per cent.
The last presentation delivered before and after the breakout workshop to debate the subject was delivered by James Blood and Emma Hooper from Metz Architects, looking at the key considerations for setting information requirements at the start of a construction project.
James discussed the need to determine what kind of information you want for your business and said that setting performance outcomes are essential. He uses the Soft Landings process to generate and capture performance outcomes as the ‘golden thread’ to keep the project on track. This he envisaged would ensure the performance gap between design targets and operational outcomes would be eroded.
He talked through his case study project and said the quality of the data is crucial and should be focused on: poor data is worse than no or some data and provided the analogy ‘effort in equals value out’.
His advice was to engage with the FM team from outset; list what deliverables are required in the Asset Information Model; be specific in which data is required and for what items; specify what will it be used for; specify protocols for data; and warned that over providing can be as bad as under providing.
The BSRIA Operation & Maintenance benchmarking network provides up-to-date information and benchmark data in buildings across a range of industries. Data is broken down by type, size and geographical location of building for easier comparison. BSRIA also runs regular events and seminars on key industry topics.
Building operators join BSRIA’s network because it helps them make like-for-like comparisons with their peers and identify areas to:
- save energy;
- reduce maintenance costs;
- improve efficiency;
- improve service.