Through BIM, we can now lift data such as spaces, equipment data, and room finishes from conception through the lifecycle of the structure. Integrating BIM with Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) solutions can streamline space planning, procurement, preventative/preemptive maintenance, work order creation and more. Also, upon completion of a project, information typically gathered by a team sent into the field can now be gathered from the model instead, offering significant time savings.
By integrating BIM into Facilities Management tools, a visual and interactive environment is added to the workflow. For example, an air handler unit can now have warranty information, links to operation and maintenance manuals, and links to real-time data such as air flow and temperature, wiring diagrams and spare parts lists. In addition, model element location information can now be linked with CMMS and CAFM systems. This allows facilities management teams the ability to have the necessary information in a more tangible form at their fingertips creating efficiencies in their day to day task.
Soon a facilities manager won’t even need to know how to navigate a model. Through the use of bar codes, real time location systems and portable devices such as iPads, the manager will simply have to scan codes located within the rooms of the building and the model-view will automatically orientate itself to match where the iPad is being pointed. This can be taken a step further by accessing different layers of the model, essentially creating an interactive “x-ray” portal into walls.
Many exciting technology tools are on the horizon that will make communicating information on your project much more intuitive, productive and efficient. To maximize the benefits of BIM, make sure all project stakeholders are involved early in the process. Bear in mind, there is no magic BIM to FM “easy” button. Many emerging technology systems are still in their infancy. As a result, your team should work to have the software conform to your process. Because of the rapid pace at which these software tools are developing, it is prudent to look at BIM technology in a mere twelve to eighteen month window instead of assuming you will obtain an all-encompassing solution.