At the end of this month, BIM World Munich will open its doors and there will certainly be a lot of talking around and about BIM during this period. Wherever you look or whoever you listen to, BIM will be the future and a life without BIM is simply unimaginable.
As a leading CAFM solutions supplier, we are facing our customers’ requests for an integration of BIM models and their data into the CAFM/FM system on a daily basis. Whereas the idea to integrate data that have been created during the planning phase into operations later on is quite tempting in the first place, the realization in practical operations, however, often turns out seems to be nearly impossible.
The reasons for this statement are multiple and are due to the most variable general conditions. Starting from the fact that designers have only limited insight into future building operations, over the entire BIM method being still fairly unknown territory for those involved up to the large variety of models , i.e. one for each trade. In addition to that, a considerable amount of very relevant information to future FM operations are simply unknown during the planning process.
Independent from all organizational issues and obstacles, the actual models and there respective data quality constitute serious problems in many cases; particularly if they shall be transferred into the operational phase later on. Quite frequently, we do encounter unprecise object structures and hierarchies, such that the affiliation of objects to objects is detectable only with additional significant effort. Also the attempt to generate from the 3D models a 2D plan being indispensable for space management activities, is often bound to fail, as polygons are just not available. Furthermore, many details that are very important during the planning phase, will be totally irrelevant for future building operations and just blow up the existing models.
This “data scrap” must subsequently be cleaned-up in the course of FM with a considerable amount of time and effort to slim down the models. Hence, the attempts to standardize the models and the information contained therein, or to define them via approved profiles will miserably fail in the every-day practical business. During 20 years of intense and successful CAFM project work, we have never ever encountered a “standardized enterprise” having “standardized processes” to which such a “market standard” could fit.
Nevertheless, BIM can unquestionably provide an immeasurable added value to the FM business and create the data basis for a future CAFM system. However, these valuable potentials can only be realized in case a BIM2FM project is initiated with the adequate approach. Indispensable preconditions need to be defined and landmark decisions must be taken at a very early stage. Setting preconditions is not sufficient yet, the quality of both data and models have to be subject of permanent quality control aiming at their usability in operational processes.
To realize all these objectives, you really need the proper know-how, the right technical preconditions and a lot of CAFM process expertise. In the past, we have already brought the chestnuts out of the fire for many customers during their BIM projects. We could prevent them from having as the one-and-only BIM project result that the FM operations department is going to bear the costs. During these fire-fighting actions, we have developed a considerable amount of very useful tools, tips and tricks that we would love to share with you.
In case you have a BIM Project in front of you right now, and you feel a certain uncertainty about what kind of, and above all, which data should be transferred to FM later, please contact us as early as possible.