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Turning Building Information into Facility Knowledge

Building Information Models: BIM for Facility Management

For hundreds of years, the vast majority of in- formation about a building has been contained in blueprints and file cabinets. Whenever facility managers and other building opera- tions personnel needed information about a room dimension or a lighting fixture, someone had to search for a dusty roll of prints or the hard copy manual that contained the needed information. The computer generation pro- vided much needed CAD systems that have allowed facility drawings to be stored electron- ically. The internet has also made it easier to access operational manuals and replacement part information. While these technologies have provided needed improvements, the elec- tronic drawings and manuals still don’t provide a mechanism for recording and managing all of the information about a building. BIM 3D Conference Room-3d views improve sign off processes for new furniture.

This critical shortcoming has given rise to a new generation of systems and processes that today are commonly known as Building Information Modeling or Building Information Models (BIM). BIM encompasses many tools, processes and methodologies. Instead of a mere drawing and labeling tool like a CAD system, BIM provides for a three dimensional (3D) representation of a building and more important it also contains database storage mechanisms for properties about all of the elements of the building. For those in the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) community, BIM represents a completely new approach to design. While the change from a CAD system to a BIM system for design and construction takes time and effort, the migration offers substantial benefits in time savings, cost and information retention. Because of this, BIM is experiencing explosive growth because the centralized approach to developing and maintain- ing information about the building allows increased teamwork and collaboration during the de- sign and construction process. Many firms report significant reductions in costly field changes and dramatic increases in productivity.

When we take into consideration that BIM is a catalyst propelling the AEC industry through its biggest evolution since the introduction of the personal computer, it is hard to imagine that Facility Management in the 21st century will remain the status quo.

Facility Management can mean many things to many facility managers. From asset management and allocation to facility maintenance and operation, not to mention fast-track move planning and management, BIM presents a simple, centralized facility management data solution in one relational database, eliminating redundant information, and linking 3D geometric building data to its function and use.

BIM for Facility Management Pete Zyskowski & Ellen Valentine

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