In a previous article, we explored the profound impact that Building Information Modeling (BIM) has on the entire project lifecycle, spanning from the initial design phases, to post-occupancy. Now, let’s shift our attention to the latter and delve into the substantial influence that BIM is set to exert on the building maintenance and operations stage.
With the ever-expanding adoption of BIM, the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry is on the brink of a significant transformation in terms of streamlining and enhancing the building’s maintenance and operations—we should not forget that about 80% of a facility’s value is generated when it’s already operational. BIM’s approach, from inception to execution, is poised to revolutionize the way facilities are currently managed. Let’s look at the key elements at play and discuss them in more detail:
A data-driven approach to decision making
By generating a “digital twin” that not only encompasses a building’s geometric attributes but also incorporates the actual physical properties of materials, BIM offers a robust data source that comprehensively captures the entire lifecycle of its constituent components. Facility managers can leverage this information to make informed decisions regarding any necessary maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. This data-driven approach not only empowers more efficient resource allocation but also opens the door to strategic maintenance planning. With the ability to calculate equipment performance, identify wear and tear patterns, and evaluate the remaining lifespan of components, a structured, predictive maintenance schedule can be meticulously planned and executed, reducing downtime, optimizing resource allocation, and ultimately extending the longevity of building systems.
Smarter facilities drive energy efficiency.
BIM facilitates real-time monitoring of energy consumption and the identification of inefficiencies through its integration with Building Management Systems (BMS) and sensors. Aside from having a digital representation of the physical building and its various components, BIM can incorporate data from sensors, meters, and the building’s infrastructure, such as HVAC systems, lighting, and electrical equipment. This data is continuously fed into the BIM platform and transformed into easy-to-understand visualizations that can be accessed by facility managers to gain insight into real-time energy consumption. This makes it easier for them to detect anomalies or deviations from expected benchmarks, and make timely corrections that allow the facility to get back on track. Remote monitoring capabilities also assist in this process, as the BIM platform can be accessed from any location, which enables a swift response to inefficiencies or unexpected energy spikes.
Improved safety and security through BIM
By serving as a centralized platform where crucial information is accessible to building owners and operators, BIM allows for the integration of safety and security features in a comprehensive manner. This includes emergency response planning, fire safety systems, and security protocols, which contribute to the safety of visitors and employees alike. BIM can incorporate geospatial data, which includes information about the building’s physical location and its proximity to potential safety and security hazards, such as flood zones, seismic activity areas, or high-crime regions. This data aids in risk assessment and emergency planning. BIM’s detailed 3D model of the building (including layout and location of structural elements and critical infrastructure), facilitates safety planning, including the definition of fire escape routes and assessing structural integrity when disaster strikes. In turn, this allows for better planning an emergency response, simulating different scenarios for training first responders.
Minimized downtime keeps users happy
Predictive maintenance practices that make use of BIM reduce equipment downtime, ensuring that the facility provides uninterrupted service to its users. Early issue identification, efficient resource allocation, and streamlined maintenance scheduling configure a proactive approach that allows facility managers to address maintenance and repair tasks before they escalate into major problems, ensuring that the building’s systems and equipment remain operational, with minimal disruptions. This not only enhances user satisfaction but also prolongs the lifespan of critical building components, ultimately reducing operational costs and promoting sustainability.
Efficient space utilization
BIM can provide valuable insights and tools for optimizing the allocation and use of space within a building. Through a detailed, 3D representation of the building that includes the layout of rooms, corridors, and common areas, facility managers can analyze how space is currently utilized and make informed decisions about reconfiguring or repurposing areas to maximize their efficiency. Understanding how spaces are used is crucial for optimizing employee productivity. BIM can create simulations, testing different layouts to determine the most productive arrangements, taking into account factors such as natural light, proximity to amenities, and ergonomic considerations. Efficient space utilization also has implications for energy consumption. Using BIM, facility managers can model how different spaces are heated, cooled, and lit, allowing them to adjust systems to match usage patterns.
Building Information Modeling is shaping the future of building maintenance and operations in remarkable ways. As BIM extends to the post-occupancy phase, the AEC industry takes a step forward on the way to a profound transformation of how buildings are constructed and maintained throughout their lifecycle. With BIM at its core, the building maintenance and operations landscape becomes more efficient, secure, and sustainable than ever before.