Thursday, June 2, 2011

The BIM/FM paradox

There is a bit of a sad irony when it comes to Facilities Management and BIM.

Not challenging the concept of a digital, 3dimensional, data-rich model being useful for operational and maintenance once the building is completed.
Most building owners think similarly and are usually eager to have their digital building live on beyond construction through operations and FM.
Consequently many BIM promoters rely heavily on piggybacking FM, to sell preFM BIM.

There is a contradiction:
While selling ‘design and construction BIM’ is the easiest on the back of FM, in practice these models are of little use for FM.
Yes, it is possible to repurpose and modify the information created through construction stage to suit FM, however this is not necessary cheaper then say, creating an FM model from scratch just before the completion of construction.

Let me clarify this further: If BIM is performed PURELY to fulfil the FM requirements of the building owners, the currently promoted approaches may not be very suitable.
BIM and FM can complement each other and I’m all for ‘design and construction BIM modelling’ however, these need to be able to ‘stand on their OWN feet’.
I also wish to highlight the risk of selling one thing and delivering another.

The best chance for BIM in the future is in repeat clients, having BIM-conversant clients can also help.


  1. Yup. I would go so far as to say that, in most markets, design BIM needs to be able stand on *its* own two feet. Likewise for construction BIM. In my market, the BIM we do is for us. It has to be. Not one contractor, owner, subcontractor, or supplier that we work for or with has asked for a digital model. Almost none would know what to do with one if they had it. I think the day will come ... as I have for over a decade now.

  2. Interestingly i worked on a project recently where the viewer for a Tekla steel model of the the steelwork was a huge benefit to the rigging crew erecting the steelwork. When they could view the model and see the actual connections for each piece it was a lot easier to co-ordinate the steel erection instead of having a marking plan at 1:200 and a fabrication drawing.
    Some of the more difficult pieces we even printed out a screen shot of the model with steel marks annotated for ease of construction.