Buildings across the UK, from offices to universities, stand to benefit from a significant step forward in the use of technology.   A ground-breaking research and development project is set to bring the benefits of building information modelling (or BIM) – which is still cutting edge construction software - into the way that facilities are managed after a building is completed. The result should be buildings with fewer faults and lower operating costs.   The project is being pioneered by FSI, Autodesk and BAM Construct UK, which develops, designs, builds and manages buildings - who initiated it.   The process involves pulling information from 3D BIM models into a building’s facilities management workflow systems, improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the way clients can manage their assets.   Kath Fontana, Managing Director of BAM FM, says: “Imagine you are an owner, manager or developer who has just been handed the keys to a new building. You have no option: every square metre has to be maintained. Now imagine that you have no easily available data to tell you where all your new assets are, how many there are, what type they are, or who the suppliers are. Making sound decisions about when to repair or replace assets like this without good information about them to start with is a surprisingly common problem.   “There are enormous gains for clients in being able to use the data in the 3D building model as it develops over the construction cycle. It enables early, speedy and accurate compilation of the building’s asset register. It will provide detailed, accurate and real-time information on which clients can plan the management and maintenance of their building. These allow them to set-up and deliver their facilities management services with on-going confidence in the operating information.

“While there is a lot of debate about the benefits of BIM for asset management, BAM is putting the theory into practice. The market-leading strides we have made in developing and applying BIM in our design and construction activities enable us to take this next step."   Together with its partners, BAM expects to have the process designed, developed and tested by early summer, after which it will conduct live testing.   Compton Darlington, Business Development Director of FSI (FM Solutions) said: ‘The greatest variable in the implementation of an effective computerised facilities management system is the quality and accuracy of the supplied data. Our project will instigate the collation of useful and relevant information in a uniform and structured format from the outset automating the creation of asset and FM contract management data. We will be building a link between FM data and visual information ensuring ready access to accurate information at all times.’ 

  Paul Fleming, Account Manager Autodesk, says; ‘We’ve been supporting BAM over the past year with its FM strategy. Our COBie Extraction tool allows BAM to mine BIM data and provide handover information that meets the Government's 2016 BIM mandate.  BAM's project will go beyond COBie to provide as-built data supplemented with commissioning information collected in the field using our cloud and mobile solutions; providing a complete data record that can be used for FM from day one of operations’   Kath Fontana concluded, “Everybody who manages a new building – local authorities, universities, private developers, corporations - all stand to benefit when they develop their estates. Many of them are talking to us already about this innovative practice.”