Implementing BIM: Addressing Challenges and Roadblocks around Information Modeling
- After more than a decade, BIM still doesn’t have a lot of traction with building owners and facilities teams. However, finding a happy medium between the right amount of data and cost-effective work flows could help FMs harness the power of BIM data for operations.
- This article outlines the many challenges FMs face when implementing a BIM data strategy, and provides a pragmatic road map for making BIM work for FMs.
For more than a decade, facility professionals have heard they can use data from building information modeling (BIM) to support operations. Early case studies like Xavier University in BIM for Facility Managers by Paul Teicholz in 2013, have shown how streamlining building handover can save many hours and headaches for FMs who are planning maintenance and preparing a new building for occupancy. However, for most, the conversation about BIM has become very confusing as they see BIM as a “black box” with plenty of hype, added cost, and unclear value.
For anyone unfamiliar with BIM, think of it as a combination of tools and processes that create a detailed set of information about a facility. That information is tied together in a 3D model that is used to and building assets or spaces. BIM for FM promises to help launch and run a new building’s FM software quickly and cost-effectively. After handover, BIM can also support the existing FM software as a 3D “digital building manual” with easy access to information and documents.
“The value from integrating BIM and FM work flows is real — and, with a little strategic thinking, challenges can be addressed to realize the benefits.“
So, why hasn’t BIM gotten better traction with building owners and facilities teams? On one hand, FMs have asked for BIM and have received beautiful 3D models that didn’t have the data that they really need. This caused many to write off BIM as simply a 3D model that, while interesting, doesn’t deliver any real value.
On the other hand, some owners implemented massive BIM data protocols that “boil the ocean.” They ask for more data than they need and write requirements too complex and costly for design and construction teams to deliver efficiently. As a result, many FMs have opted to continue with “business as usual” and end up manually gathering and entering building information into their CMMS or IWMS systems, which is a time-consuming, cumbersome, and costly process.
The good news? There’s a happy medium — a right fit that merges the data with a cost-effective work flow. In this article, we’ll go deeper into the challenges and provide a pragmatic road map for making BIM work for FMs.