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The UK Government’s contribution towards the adoption of BIM the AEC industry is showing continuous growth over the past decade. Although it now mandatory since 2016 to deliver BIM Level 2 in all publicly procured UK construction projects, its adoption is still limited to the design and construction stages of projects. BIM is intended to support the entire project life-cycle, which not only provides benefits to the aforementioned phases, but also to the facility management phase.
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However, BIM implementation into FM is still ‘in its infancy’ (Wijekoon, 2017) and has not reach the desired maturity level. The purpose of this literature review is to analyse the current adoption of BIM into facility management.
A buildings operational and maintenance costs greatly exceed its initial capital outlay for construction. Some studies suggest that for a typical facility, only 15 percent of the lifecycle cost is attributed to the design and construction phase, while remaining 85 per cent of the costs occur during the facility management phase (Wijekoon, 2017).
BIM technology and processes have the ability to provide accurate, reliable and real time information not just to the design and construction phases, but also through the entire portfolio of a facility. The use of BIM technology in the operational phase of buildings lifecycle has only started to gain traction as building owners search for ways to optimize the use of their assets (Haines, 2016).
In 2014, a McGraw Hill Smart Marketing Report analysed the ‘business value of BIM’ (Hill, 2014). Their survey revealed that 84% of owners in the US and 95% in the UK proclaimed that they would be adopting BIM for FM for all new construction projects within the next two years.
There are various definitions of Facility Management (FM). Atkins (2015) regards the most commonly used definition as ‘an integrated approach to operating, maintaining, improving and adapting the buildings and infrastructure of an organization in order to create an environment that strongly supports the primary objectives of that organization’. FM includes a multidisciplinary focus to achieve its objectives, while integrating ‘people, places, processes and technology’ (Wijekoon, 2017).
As a management concept, it originated in the USA in the 1800s while up until forty years ago, it was often confused with ‘building maintenance’ (Atkins, 2015).
The role of FM evolved to not only include maintenance management, but also to be responsible for providing best value for end-users, effective facility planning, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, outsourcing, procurement, performance management, management of change, real estate management and information management (Atkins, 2015). These responsibilities require strong communication, leadership, strategic & project management skills (Wijekoon, 2017).
Over the last few decades, FM has established itself as a separate professional discipline, relatively new to the AEC industry, with its ‘own principles, processes, standards, codes and technical vocabulary’ (Atkins, 2015).
Problems exist within modern day FM practices as extensive documentation of information is required for effective mainteanance and operations of facilities.
Traditionally, existing buildings have this information stored in paper document, either in the form of rolls of drawings from architects and engineers, or boxes of folders containing equipment documentation. These are also typically located in the areas of the buildings which are difficult to access, for example basements (Teicholz, 2013). At present, despite being a hugely time consuming process, a manual handover of paper documents is required at practical completion for mostly all new or refurbished projects. However, this information is critical for the effective management of facilities (Kelly, 2018).
BIM an acronym for ‘Building information modelling’ and is identified as one of the emerging approaches to design, construction, and facilities management. There tends to be confusion as to whether BIM is a process or ‘tool/technique’ (Wijekoon, 2017), however the former is widely accepted. The’ National Building Information Modelling Standard’ (NBIMS) defines BIM as an ‘improved planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance process using a standardized machine-readable information model for each facility, new or old, which contains all appropriate information created or gathered about that facility in a format useable by all throughout its lifecycle” (Wdirisinghe, 2017). The data rich model provides information which describes accurately the ‘three dimensional geometry, objects and attributes of a physical facility’ (Teicholz, 2013).
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As the global financial crisis in 2008 provided the platform for reform in the AEC industry (Wilkinson, 2016), the UK Government set about improving productivity and practices in the construction sector as it mandated BIM Level 2 on all Public works contracts from 2016 onwards.
There are currently four levels of BIM (0-3), where BIM Level 2 involves each discipline creating their own 3D model and sharing this information in a common data format such as IFC or COBie (Kelly, 2018). BIM Level 1 represents the typical process adopted over the last twenty years in the AEC setor, which comprises of a ‘mixture of 3D CAD for concept work, and 2D for drafting of statutory approval documentation and Production Information’(NBS). This information is then exchanged electronically on a common data environment (CDE) (Sacks, 2018).
Teicholz believes BIM represents a ‘significant advancement’ over the ‘Computer Aided Design’ approach, as common problems include errors or omissions in paper documents. Sacks (2018) argues that ‘considerable time and expense required to generate critical assessment information about a proposed design, including cost estimates, energy-use analysis and structural details’.
Though the use of CDEs in BIM Level 1 improved the flow or exchange of information between parties electronically, the amount of costly errors causing conflict and friction between project teams and stakeholders has not reduced (Sacks, 2018).
BIM, from a Facilities Management perspective, can be defined as a ‘collection living document tool in repository to manage accurate building information over the whole life cycle that at the FM stage, owner can use to manage facilities’ (Ariff, 2016). There is growing evidence that BIM enabled FM is being requested on projects (Wijekoon, 2017), which represents a ‘paradigm shift in the AEC industry’ (Aziz, 2016).
Studies carried out in 2013, analysizing the adoption of BIM within the UK industry revealed that 55 per cent of construction organisations adopted BIM during design and construction phases, compared to only 9 per cent for the FM phase (Wijekoon, 2017). This represented a significantly slower implementation of BIM into FM phase processes, despite Ariff 2016 noting that ‘the overall goal of BIM is transferring the data into the FM operations’ (Ariff, 2016).
However, Wijekoon (2017) states that lack of guidance exists for ‘what type of FM information should be integrated with the BIM model, how to include such information and the value FIM through BIM integration’. Limited case studies exist to reveal the benefits of BIM beyond design and construction phases, as clients tend to be more concerned with tangible deliverables, rather than the long-term operational and maintenance performances (Wijekoon, 2017).
In 2016, as part of the BIM mandate of al public secor buildings, the UK Government incorporated the use of ‘Government Soft Landings’ on projects, where the intention was to get ‘client facilities managers involved from a project’s inception in helping to define the employer’s information requirements (EIRs) and asset information management (AIM) needs’ (Wilkinson, 2016).
In addtition to PAS 1192-3, which covers information management in the operational phase, several guidance documents, standards and protocols regarding FM exchanges with BIM has continued to expand. In August 2017, the ‘British Institute of Facilities Management’ published their ‘Operational Readiness Guide’ in an attempt to help FM professionals effectively engage throughout the design and construction process to deliver greater value to the end-user organisations that will occupy the building (Wilkinson, 2016).
As mentioned in chapter 1, COBie and IFC are the most popular standard formats for data exchange within the BIM environment.
In terms of FM, COBie is seen as a neutral spreadsheet format which allows data exchange for commissioning, operation and maintenance of an asset. Typically at the end of each project, each discipline will export or ‘drop off’ required COBIE from their BIM models, which will then be imported into FM systems. Typically, Architects will provide spaces and equipment locations, while contractors will output manufacturer and installed product information. There 6 major milestones where COBIE data drops occur throughout the lifecycle of a project.
IFC is described as ‘model open, neutral format,’ which provides support for asset and facility management functions (Atkins, 2015). It is a ‘common language for information sharing, which provides a standard form of data sharing between construction, operations and maintenance stages of a built asset’. IFC model views define a subset of the IFC schema that is needed to satisfy information exchange between BIM applications and FM systems, such as CAFM systems. (Atkins, 2015)
A CAFM sytsems provide facility managers with the administrative tools to track, manage, report, and plan facilities operations using combinations of 3D CAD and database software. The most interoperable programme may typically consist of ‘some combination of word processing, spreadsheet, visual presentation, e-mail, relational database and desktop publishing applications’ (Watson, 2016). However, many of these tools only provide 2D information to represent spaces or require numerical data to be entered in a spreadsheet (Teicholz, 2013).
As BIM is being more and adopted in the AEC, Atkins (2016) believes attention will turn to the development of CAFM systems to help support more efficient data exchanges with BIM technologies.
A limited application of BIM in the FM phase of the project lifecycle has been identified in comparison to design and construction phases. Many oppurtunites and benefits exist for facilities managers and clients from the adoption of BIM. The following are some of the key examples:
Internal Stakeholders involved in the design, construction and O&M phases of the building are encourages to collaborate which enables critical knowledge to be captured and exchanged at the right times which provide more value in terms of the lifecycle cost of the building (Kelly, 2018).
Facility professionals can monitor and reduce vacant spaces and ultimately achieve major savings in real estate costs. The BIM model provides reliable up-to date information on the buildings spaces and rooms (Teicholz, 2013).
Embedded Information about installed materials and services allow for significant time savings in the commisioning and handover process as this asset information is imported directly into CAFM sytems. The potential for data to be lost is also minimised (Haines, 2016).
By analyzing the costs and savings of various facility improvements and potential building system retrofits, BIM tools allow facility managers to optimize building performance over the life of the building (Teicholz, 2013).
An acccurate as-built 3D BIM model provides better information about existing conditions which reduces the cost implications of any potential building renovation or retrofit (Teicholz, 2013).
Accurate built models provide a platform for managing and operating the building. An Assett information model (AIM) provides the capability to monitor real-time control systems and create building maintenance programs (Sacks, 2018).
BIM is undergoing rapid adoption in the AEC industry but is still a young technological process. (Ariff, 2016). Conversely, it is only just being adopted in FM (Teicholz, 2013). Several challenges and barriers currently exist for the full implementation of BIM into FM phases:
Adopting BIM for FM alone will not necessarily lead to project success. BIM is a set of technologies and evolving work processes which must be embraced by all the key player and stakeholders. BIM will not mitigate the need for effective management skill and a team willing to collaborate (Sacks, 2018).
New buildings represent only a small fraction of the overall building stock in any given year. However, understanding of the how to apply BIM into FM is very limited and as research mainly focuses its implementation into design and construction phases (Kelly, 2018). Wijekoon (2017) agrees that “BIM is still quite new in terms of industry awareness and the standards are only just starting to come through (e.g. PAS1192-3) so that you’ve got to catch it very early and you’ve got to have a lot of clarity very early to make sure that everybody who’s worked on the project is putting the right stuff in the right format and the right structure at the right time to ensure a continuous FM” (Wijekoon, 2017).
A leading industry BIM consultant also acknowledged that “client knowledge about BIM Level 2 is hugely variable. Some FM people are GSL and BIM-literate, but they’re rare.” (Wilkinson, 2016)
A lack of legislation exists regarding copyright issues of BIM data within federated models. During the FM stage, confusion reigns over what party is responsible for updating the model and in which format, native BIM or CAFM. Licensing agreements have helped original creators of data maintain ownership, but it doesn’t appreciate the complexity of embedded data within models (Kelly, 2018). As a result, most contracts still require the handover of paper documentation.
IFC does not provide clear details on what information should be claimed to perform any specific task under a given scope. It is a format to store data to promote interoperability of information. Limited understanding of the appropriate information requirement for continuous FM, and the level of details of these information, are identified as the two key factors for limited implementation of BIM within FM. (Wijekoon, 2017)
Typical short term contracts of 3-5 years for FM practitioners provide less of an incentive for them to consider the whole life cycle of a building, resulting in a negative impact of the long terms operations of the facility (Kelly, 2018).
A recent study (Wdirisinghe, 2017) was carried out to analyse and classify areas of research undertaken in relation in BIM enabled FM. The main areas or research undertaken to date are:
- Specific application Areas
- Facility Management
- Value Realization
- Collaboration of FM knowledge management
- Strategic Planning
- Data Capture Techniques
- Internal Leadership and knowledge management
- Other Implications
The table below provides an insight into the gaps of research that currently exist on this topic.
Adapted by (Wdirisinghe, 2017)
This holistic review illustrates the gaps of knowledge into how to adopt BIM into FM. From the graph, the less researched areas of ‘Collaboration / FM knowledge management’, ‘Strategic Planning’, ‘Internal Leadership and Knowledge Management’ and ‘Procurement’ were identified. A common theme can be seen from these areas as Wdirisinghe (2017) notes the lack of research regarding the ‘early adoption’ of BIM into FM and any case studies of ‘early adopter exemplars’ (Wdirisinghe, 2017). This author acknowledges this research gap problem and suggests the theme of ‘early adoption’ as a potential topic for future analysis.
With the rapid development of information technology, owners can realize significant benefits on projects by using BIM processes and tools to streamline the operation of higher quality and better performing buildings. The literature review demonstrated a lack of adoption in the AEC industry of BIM technologies and process into FM phases.
Also, the majority of research studies undertaken so far have focused on specific application areas relating the operational phase, when FM practitioners have already received the BIM data. Limited studies exist of the initial stage of projects.
The success of BIM in FM depends on the information carried through BIM into FM (Wijekoon, 2017). Therefore, promoting an early engagement of the facilities manager is beneficial to implementing BIM into FM and achieving sustainable building value over its lifecycle. If not, there is a risk BIM may only be used as ‘another type of software that replaces the maintenance documents storeroom’ (Sacks, 2018).
- Ariff, N., 2016. Building Information Modelling (BIM) in Facilities Management: Opportunities to be considered by Facility Managers. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 27 February, pp. 353-362.
- Atkins, B., 2015. Total Facility Management. Fourth Edition ed. s.l.:Wiley.
- Aziz, N., 2016. ICT Evolution in Facilities Management (FM): Building Information Modelling (BIM) as the Latest Technology. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 31 October, pp. 363-371.
Haines, B., 2016. The Benefits of Lifecycle BIM for Facility Management. [Online]
Available at: https://fmsystems.com/blog/the-benefits-of-lifecycle-bim-for-facility-management/
[Accessed 20 October 2018].
Hill, M., 2014. Smart Market Report. [Online]
Available at: https://damassets.autodesk.net/content/dam/autodesk/www/solutions/bim/Business_value_of_BIM_2012_North_America.pdf
[Accessed 24 10 2018].
Kelly, G., 2018. Back to Basics – The What, How and Why of BIM and FM. [Online]
Available at: http://www.bimplus.co.uk/people/back-basics-what-how-and-why-bim-and-fm/
[Accessed 20 October 2018].
- Meng, X., 2015. Building information modeling based building design optimization for sustainability. Energy and Buildings, 15 June, pp. 139-153.
Redstack BIM, 2017. BIM and Facilities Management: Bridging The Gap. [Online]
Available at: https://www.redstackbim.com/blog/bim-and-facilities-management–bridging-the-gap
[Accessed 20 October 2018].
- Sacks, R., 2018. BIM Handbook. Third ed. s.l.:Wiley.
- Teicholz, P., 2013. BIM for Facility Managers. s.l.:Wiley.
Watson, J., 2016. COMPUTER-AIDED FACILITIES MANAGEMENT (CAFM). [Online]
Available at: https://www.wbdg.org/facilities-operations-maintenance/computer-aided-facilities-management-cafm
[Accessed 22 10 2018].
- Wdirisinghe, R., 2017. Building information modelling for facility management: are we there yet?. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 24(6), pp. 1119-1954.
- Wijekoon, C., 2017. Enhancing the value of facilities information management (FIM) through BIM integration, s.l.: Emerald.
Wilkinson, P., 2016. WHERE IS FM IN THE BIM CONVERSATION?. [Online]
Available at: http://www.fm-world.co.uk/features/feature-articles/where-is-fm-in-the-bim-conversation/
[Accessed 20 October 2018].
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