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FMO and the BIM process – Where is the ROI?


Building Information Management (BIM) is embedded in the design and construction industry but remains vastly underutilized by Owners and their Facility Management and Operation (FMO) teams. While the design side has some Return on Investment (ROI ) metrics in place – technology costs weighed against process improvements – and a decade of experience to assess them, Owners are just beginning to harvest and use the BIM data that is created by the project team.

The shift from accepting a conventional paper drawing deliverable to utilizing the power of a structured BIM process to create a full building database requires investment. Longer-term strategic BIM initiatives such as standards development and integrating data and information in the model earlier are key to realizing the value.

At a project level, teams must engage FMO early in the process. Early engagement ensures that unstructured design data is turned into the information they need. Shifting design and engineering time earlier in the process – documenting as the model is built, involving construction and suppliers, and eliminating clashes– does not increase the overall building cost but does ensure that FMO finally gets the information they need in a timely manner.

What to ask of design consultants?

Design consultants can implement simple and consistent processes that turn unstructured design data into something that can form the basis of information required to support FMO. For example:

  • Implementing a structured Asset Naming schema to capture parent/child and system information.
  • Using a classification schema to clearly identify assets.
  • Using consistent phasing, location, levels and rooms across multiple model datasets.
  • Clearly identifying duplicate information.

Following the above guidelines, the data in the underlying dataset will respond consistently when searched, sorted, and filtered, helping the construction side of the industry to better understand the size and scope of what needs to be undertaken as well as providing FMO with an Asset Registry of what they will ultimately be responsible for managing.

Where is the value?

The transfer of information to FMO is a key moment in the building life cycle. The traditional practice of providing paper drawings and binders, often months after substantial completion, introduces tremendous costs and inefficiencies. FMO teams don’t have the information they need to operate the building; and, it takes them a long time to find the information they do have on paper (up to 30% longer than finding it digitally). Then, recreating information digitally in a CAFM/CMMS solution can cost between $100 to $150 per asset.

Using the available digital information can drive efficiency and quality. For example:

  • Linking required information, during Construction, directly to the relevant specific asset types and instances of each asset ensures that the information is available for review and sign-off prior to Handover.
  • At Handover, the FMO team has all required information and is prepared to take over.
  • Expensive software is not required; all information, whether room-based or asset-based, can be linked in a PDF.
  • All required assets and required information can be transferred directly into a CAFM/CMMS solution.

Design and Construction already see the business benefits of employing a BIM process in the delivery of new facilities. There is no reason why Owners should not enjoy similar benefits.

Don’t wait for traditional information to be provided at Handover. Make digital format deliverables a requirement of the RFP and start to reap the rewards of accurate, easily accessible data for use in the efficient management of the facility throughout its lifecycle.

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