How can the efficiency of Facility Management be improved by integrating BIM?

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The term facility means a tangible asset that is built, installed or established in order to serve a purpose. In terms of the AEC industry facility refers to the constructed structure or a building. Facility Management is concerned with the efficient management of the facility so that the strategic and day to day operational objectives can be achieved. It ultimately aims to create a safe and efficient environment for the end users.

Irrespective of the size or the nature of the building or structure facility management is important. In the current article we discuss the importance and challenges associated with facility management as well as state how integrating BIM can enhance its efficiency.

Benefits of Facility Management bring to the AEC Sector

It is crucial that any building or structure is properly managed may it be roads, railways, bridges,  retail spaces, hotels, restaurants or even homes. Its importance starts with the very basic of creating a good impression to its citizens, inhabitants or potential clients. For instance, smudged windows, littered premises etc. are bound to put of customers of restaurants and hotels. In retail spaces it could even deter potential investors. Facility management is also used to carry out risk assessments and enforce safety procedures that could reduce potential accidents. Effective facility management is critical to ensure security, maintenance and to carry out quick repairs. Additionally it is also concerned with whether various components of buildings like HVAC, plumbing pipes, heating and cooling systems etc. are running at optimal levels. Thus, an integrated facility management drives down operational costs, improves the long term investment returns of the places, reduces capital expenses and improves durability and longevity of building and its components.

Challenges to Achieving Efficient Facility Management

Facility managers face various challenges when it comes to carrying out various tasks associated with facility management. They run into various challenges in terms of cost, inventory, time etc. To start with every demand with regards to facility management may it be to hire a staff, carry out maintenance and repairs, achieving cost reduction etc. always involves money. The challenge is to ensure maximum cost efficiency without impacting quality. Similarly, asset management becomes a task when the equipment becomes old. New equipment is expensive but at the same time old equipment may require significant maintenance which can be equally draining. The facility manager is also required to keep track of inventory and without a centralized and digitized information platform it can become difficult to keep proper track of inventory and various maintenance functions of that inventory. Finally, there are so many tasks and functions that the facility manager has to carry out like attending meetings, answering emails, coordinating with owners as well as inhabitants etc. which it might get extremely time consuming and may cause them to lose track of priorities.

BIM for Facility Management:

So how can the facility managers overcome these above challenges? The answer can again be found with Building Information Modeling. Once the building is constructed, the Point Cloud to BIM Services can be used to scan the constructed building and the data obtained can be used to update the BIM model used for construction to create as-built models which then provide all the necessary details for facility management. The value of BIM for facility management shouldn’t be very surprising as the data-rich 3D model contains a great deal of information that is essential for carrying out quick and efficient facility management. It can help carry out quick repairs, ensure that all systems are maintained in timely manner, provides a centralized repository of data, reduces safety risks and clashes etc. Below we look at the four main ways in which BIM can be useful for facility management:

1. Asset Management

BIM provides a proper understanding of the floor plans and space requirements which can help facility professionals in reducing the wastage of space ultimately leading to reduction of real estate expenses. By having a comprehensive understanding of the existing space, facility managers can plan, track and optimally use the space. They can thus, gain the maximum returns out of the given stage.

2. Quick Repairs

BIM provides information regarding the location, materials, manufacturer’s details, asset numbers etc. which is crucial when it comes to carrying out repairs. The location for instance, of hidden MEP objects if not properly given might mean a lot of time and energy is utilized in searching for the requisite part. Availability of detailed and accurate data makes the process simpler and minimizes cost impacts. Moreover, based on the warranty, service requirements or maintenance manuals facility managers can also use to carry out preventive maintenance activities thereby reducing the need for frequent repairs.

3. Necessary upgrades

A lot of building components specifically MEP components need to be upgraded either because there are better and more cost-effective options available in the market or because the existing parts of component has become old. With BIM it is possible to keep on top of such upgrades as well as the BIM model can be used to compare two parts or components in terms of cost, energy consumption etc.

4. Efficient use of energy

Most functions in the building utilize energy which has a direct impact on sustainability and cost. Thus, it is crucial to efficiently use the energy in a building. BIM can help ensure that the components of the building are not consuming more energy than required. It can also assist the facility manager in analysing the cost and compare various alternatives available in the market so that the most sustainable and cost effective option can be chosen.

Thus, facility management is crucial in order to ensure that the building works to its maximum capabilities and to ensure its longevity. Using BIM Modeling Services could significantly reduce that challenges faced by facility managers and it can help them carry out their tasks effectively and in a timely manner.

Written By:
Dhvani Badheka
Dhvani is an irreverent writer who has over 4 years of experience under her belt. She is a life-long learner and a quick study which provides her articles a unique insight. She is always reading, researching new materials and trying to expand her knowledge of the AEC industry so that she can create interesting and valuable content.