BIM for facility managers and owners - an introduction

BIM is a big buzzword in the AEC industry. Below is a graph showing interest in the term steadily increasing the last 10 years. (source: Google Trends)
Building Information Modelling - interest over time

What is BIM?

According to wikipedia, the acronym BIM can mean two different but highly related things.

Building information modelling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places.

Building Infomation Models (BIMs) are files (often but not always in proprietary formats and containing proprietary data) which can be exchanged or networked to support decision-making about a place

(If this is new or sounds strange to you I highly recommend reading the rest of the wikipedia article to get some more background on the terms. We will also try to keep providing small articles on this blog so follow along if you are interested in learning more)

One way, BIM can be viewed as next level of the "paper drawing => 2D CAD drawing => 3D CAD model" - progression the industry has gone through.

However it is important to note that BIM do not just represent a more efficient way to generate drawings and visualizations. There are multiple ways BIM (both the processes and the information "carrier") represent paradigm shifts for the industry. BIM represents new ways of working together with more "intelligent" information. I hope to cover more on what I mean by this in later blog posts.

BIM and Asset Information Lifecycle Management

The lifecycle aspect have always been a big part of "the promise of BIM" and how it will revolutionize the industry and make it more sustainable. Users and Facility Managers will in the ideal scenario be involved earlier in the process, handover will run smoothly without the need to reenter or manually transform information and the shared facility model will be the backbone of operations, maintenance and what-if scenario planning in the whole life span of the portfolio of facilities.

However, we have to face that most of the real use cases up until now are related to design and construction. Processes like clash detection, design collaboration, design rendering, energy analysis are all examples of current processes with good results from utilizing BIM. Its a good beginning and it will expand in the future.

I believe that in the coming years facility managers and building owners are in for a rocky ride when it comes to changes in the industry. Everything will change and the winners will the ones best able to adapt. Challenging aspects of the industry will still be challenging. There will still be a big discussion around who pays for the change and who will get the benefit. Facility managers will still lack some information and still not know what to do with other information.

Chalkboard - Learn bim for facility managers

In the upcoming series of blog posts we hope to focus on how the industry (with a focus on owners and facility managers), can meet the challenges and seize the opportunities that lifecycle BIM represent. We hope you are interested in following along and maybe participate in discussions. We love feedback and are open to alternative points of view. This is all new and none of us has got the one true answer.