Integrating BIM in FM a trend to stay or to go?

Adrian Jarvis, General Manager at FSI Middle East FZ-LLC, part of FSI Global plc, developers of the Concept Evolution CAFM and FSI GO Workforce Mobility solutions, discusses Building Information Modelling (BIM) with Construction Week Online.

In the UAE we hear a lot about Expo 2020 and its cost in terms of infrastructure and operations (an estimated $9bn), but we seldom hear about the cost to operate and maintain these structures.

It is a widely accepted rule of thumb that the design and construct phase of a building's lifecycle only represents 20% of the overall cost. In other words 80% of the overall cost of investment will be required to maintain and operate these buildings.

Unfortunately, many buildings in the GCC are currently managed without the owner or operator having a detailed asset register. 

Maintenance is still more reactive as opposed to preventative. Energy consumption and efficiencies are not recorded or properly analysed. Owners wanting to get a grasp on their property portfolio have to conduct asset surveys, which are not only time consuming but very costly. In summary, maintenance and operational costs lack control and could be significantly reduced.

There is however growing awareness amongst owners and developers of integrated Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the design and construct phases. The benefits of integrating data at this stage are widely recognised particularly in terms of financial savings generated from, for example, conducting clash detection or during sequencing and scheduling.

The next step is including BIM at operational and maintenance phases, which in this region appears to be a new concept and we are lagging behind in comparison to Europe or Asia.

The benefits BIM can offer operationally were demonstrated when my colleagues at FSI UK collaborated with BAM Construct and Autodesk on what was known as ‘Project Robin' at UCL Academy Camden, a six storey education sector building in central London. All three parties combined their skills using Autodesk Revit and BIM 360 Field to pull the data from the 3D model directly into the Concept Evolution CAFM system.

It sounds very simple in principle however, it required the efforts of all three teams to make it happen. The 3D model was re-designed in Revit from existing record drawings by the BAM Team including the MEP model. The data was subsequently transferred into COBie format. COBie is essentially a spreadsheet comprising information derived from all collaborative parties in a structured format.

Workflows were generated in Concept Evolution to seamlessly import the data and drawings directly into the core system which in turn delivered a ready-made asset register for the FM managers. The objects imported from the model comprised the attributes necessary for the FM team to prepare and manage planned preventative maintenance schedules in advance. A ready-made asset register eliminates the need for costly asset surveys.

The benefits of integrating BIM do not stop there. Technicians now have the ability to receive maintenance tasks directly to their handheld devices, access asset data and open up model drawings. Engineers come to site with the knowledge required to rectify the job saving man hours. It also offers further benefits in terms of space and move management.

Project Robin proved that integrating BIM in FM can deliver major financial benefits for owners/developers. The project won an award at the i-FM Annual Technology in FM Awards in 2014.

Statistical data has yet to be collected en masse to quantify the savings that can be derived, however the general consensus is that BIM does tremendously help during the operational and maintenance lifecycles, will save owners/developers a lot of money and improve the overall efficiency of their property portfolios. It may not have fully arrived in this region but we are heading this way and Expo 2020 will no doubt expedite the process. Concept Evolution is BIM ready.

About the author
Adrian Jarvis is general manager at FSI FM Solutions