Building Information Models for Facility Information Systems

April 18, 2017

Building information modelling is now well adopted in the construction industry. Designers and builders can realise significant benefits through the application of this technology, to date models have generally been tailored to design and construction as their primary purpose.

As such, in many instances, building owners and facility managers have seen little benefit from these powerful digital models after construction.

Without a clear statement of post construction requirements, the design and construction team’s models will likely miss much of the opportunity to include the particular data and functionality to effectively assist ongoing ownership and facility management.

Additionally, as the building must be transitioned from construction to operation, so must the Building Information Model be transitioned from a format that includes very detailed and specific construction information, into a format that is optimised to integrate into a broader facility information system.

From an operational perspective, the focus for the Building Information Model post construction must be the building’s systems and asset related information data sets contained therein, together with the documentation and data that supports the 3D model, and the ongoing access/functionality, management and maintenance of that Information.

The following process and documents are recommended to provide the framework to establish, manage and maintain the model, and ensure it will benefit owners and facility managers.

Where a Building Information Model has not been developed in an existing facility, this approach can still be used as it provides a practical structure, even without 3D visualisation, for developing an effective facility information system.

Information Management Plan

Instigated at the outset of the design and construction project this process should ensure consistency in modelling, information storage and exchange, and documentation practices. It should also closely define the owner’s and facility managers’ requirements, separate to the design and construction process, for the data sets and functionality required for ongoing operation.

The Information Management Plan should address in clear terms the requirements for the three key aspects of building information life cycle management:

  • CAD & 3D modelling – e.g. Revit standards
  • Information data sets – e.g. for building services – BIM MEPAUS
  • Project records– e.g. O&M Manuals

Information Maintenance Plan

Information modelling and the management of the base building model during design and construction should be defined including the standards and applications for:

  • 3D models
  • 2D drawings (e.g. schematic drawings)
  • Process to be adopted for upgrade projects
  • Information for use during the project and that transferred to the building information management system.
  • Records to be handed over at project completion.

Tenancy Specific Information Plan

It is important that the digital information management process captures changes in the model to services schematics, extensions of base building systems into tenancy areas, and capacity utilisation of base building infrastructure such as condenser water and power systems.

Clear guidelines for the Tenant’s interaction with the Building Information Model should be established to address:

  • Project location data and site specific set-out requirements
  • Model Authorised Uses
  • Naming and hierarchy conventions
  • Software versions
  • Project specific facilities management and handover requirements

This process will help ensure owners and managers retain the value of a fully integrated Building Information Model in their building information management system.

Building Information Models can play a very useful role in building information management systems, enabling key spatial, systems and asset information to support efficient operation and maintenance and future improvements.

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