Bim for facility managers and owners - Space management

This week we will look at how BIM fits in with the traditional FM process space management.

Managing space is an important part of facility management. Space needs and space usage are usually dynamic based on the ever changing needs of the organizations.

In addition to keeping track of the current state, the facility manager needs to plan upcoming moves and future what-if scenarios. Planning and management need to be done both on a per facility basis and for the facility portfolio as a whole.

Space data including location, area calculations and aggregations are also important data for portfolio reporting, trend analysis and as a foundation for other processes, e.g. contract management, portfolio reporting, cleaning, energy efficiency and compliance management.

BIM supported space management combines the spatial and geometric information given in maps, 3d models and 2d floorplans combined with the data information in asset registers, tenant registers, performance data etc.

BIM for FM space management

Having BIM models to support space management give the possibility of improved processes. However, there are some challenges to getting started, both in the technical and the organizational side.

For existing buildings, there are usually no "proper" BIM model with 3d geometry and data integrated.
For new buildings where you receive as-built BIM models at handover, the detail level and structure are not likely tailored to the needs of operations.
Navigating 3D models are not always suited for space planning, reporting etc. Recipients are more used to 2d floorplan and tabular data. Especially the data part tailored for operations are underutilized in the current state of BIM.

Also, remember that building data captured in BIMs are just part of the puzzle. Other parts may be managed in other systems - e.g. human resources, document management, finance.

In the BIM-community, we now see more and more focus on the needs of the operations phase. Initiatives like COBie for handover management are focused not only on how to export and trim down data from models but also about adding relevant information like classifications and performance and operations data.

It is also getting easier to generate BIMs for existing facilities. Possibilities include point cloud scanning, cad to bim conversions and mobile data collection apps.

The beauty of BIM is that it allows for different views of the information contained in the model. If a 3d view is not ideal for your process you can view the same data as 2d floorplans and include/ filter out the information you want same way as you turn on/ off layers in a cad drawing.

Below we show two examples of generating alternative visual views of data in the BIM model. On the top is a 2d floorplan with spaces color-coded according to their classification. Below that are the same data (for all floors) visualised as a treemap.

BIM for FM - 2d Floorplan from IFC model

BIM for FM - Treemap of space areas generated from IFC file

Another good trend is that IT systems are generally becoming more open. Open APIs (application programming interfaces) means that information can be shared between systems and industry standards like IFC, COBie and OSCRE mean that the cost of these integrations is smaller. Also, this gives the possibility to break up the large FM/BIM/CAFM systems into smaller mini-apps targeted at users that are only using part of the system.

Some advice on getting started on BIM supported space management:

  • Make sure you work towards a common master data model and classification scheme. utilise industry standards and tailor to your specific needs.

  • Link BIM models to you CAFM system or use an integrated approach. If you have a big investment in a CAFM system it may make more sense to integrate your BIM models into

  • Make sure to keep the register up to date, at least on a floorplan level.

  • Build processes around you floorplans and master data - cleaning, meeting room booking etc

  • Select systems with open APIs to make it easier to integrate with other systems in the enterprise.

  • Use your FM BIM for move planning and scenario planning

  • Simplify reporting. Give recipients real-time access to the data they need and utilise visualization techniques to get the important points across to different levels of the organisation

  • Start small and share success stories