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role-of-bim-in-facility-management
Building information modeling

Role of BIM in Facility Management

Facilities management plays an essential role in maintaining, supporting, and improving the services of a facility or building. A facility manager deals with some ever-existing facility management issues such as utility maintenance challenges, infrastructure concerns, energy efficiency, cost control, and maintenance of documents and financial records.  

The convergence of IT and BIM has eased the task of facility managers by handling several of these challenges. BIM’s holistic approach provides a centralized platform for information sharing and control. The detailed database of the structure and structural components guides maintaining operational efficiency with minimum cost.  

BIM helps the project team develop an effective energy conservation strategy. The centralized database of BIM supports them to measure and track the building’s performance throughout its life cycle.  

The safety of the building improves with optimized performance. With scan to BIM, even existing buildings get their 3D model and enhance their operational efficiency through retrofitting. 

How BIM Contributes to Facility Management  

Facility management (FM) deals in the functionality, sustainability, safety, and efficiency of a building and its built environment by coordinating people, place, process, and technology. The facility management process commences after a building’s construction and continues throughout its lifecycle.  

The process looks into space optimization, business administration, asset management, energy management and maintenance, contract management, renovation, refurbishment, etc. FM aims to achieve the final strategic objective of an organization. 

FM deals with physical assets such as HVAC systems, plumbing, wiring, elevators, etc. It also focuses on custodial service, lease accounting, security, and ground keeping. 

Contribution of BIM 

BIM is contributing towards superior FM of a building. It is also impacting the short-term and long-term value of a facility.  

BIM model presents 3D visualization of the physical and functional characteristics of a build. The single coherent system enables the construction professionals to work collaboratively. Traditionally, it was challenging for facility managers to get the updated data from a single link. Individual contractors used their data and model that led to redundancies and incompatibility.  

BIM helps facility managers locate components easily, give access to real-time data, check the maintainability of the equipment and several building systems such as heating and cooling, water pipes, electrical circuits, drainage systems, etc. BIM creates an automatic digital asset; when the model gets linked to facility management software, it becomes easy to locate the fault and arrange repairs.  

Research shows that more than 70 percent of a building’s cost gets incurred by the operation and maintenance of a building. USA has suffered a loss of US$15.8 billion in 2002; for giving less consideration to operations and maintenance actions during the design and construction phase. It shows a lack of integration and interoperability between CAD, engineering, and software systems.  

BIM has overcome the shortcoming with its high interoperability and cloud-based data center. And BIM-enabled energy management framework and simulated testing help save energy and cost even post-occupancy. 

Areas in Construction Industry BIM Helps in Shaping the Facility Management  

 

The construction industry uses BIM technology thoroughly in the design and construction stages of the projects. However, its uptake at the operations and facility management phase is moderate.  

BIM acts as a repository of information that helps facility managers conveniently manage the facility by providing accurate and precise digital information about the functional characteristics of the facility and lifecycle-related information. BIM’s Level of Development (LOD) and Level of Accuracy (LOA) gives detailed and accurate data of the building elements used by the facility management team. BIM shapes facility management by enhancing its effectiveness and efficiency. 

Asset Management 

BIM’s 3D model details the layout of the asset, floor plan, floor dimensions, and the space requirement. A basic understanding of the space utilization of the building helps the facility managers to plan, track, analyze, and control the building’s space in a better way.  

An optimized space utilization can further reduce the wastage of space, real-estate expenses. And also maximize the building’s performance. 

Energy Analysis and Efficiency 

With the rising demand for sustainable and energy-efficient buildings, the construction industry using various energy simulation tools with BIM to design and operate energy-efficient buildings.  

Various organizations are using BIM with FM information systems to determine the intended energy performance of a building and compare the results with actual energy consumption and other information collected from FM systems such as electricity consumption, water consumption, etc. It helps to determine the spaces with fault, infirmity in the facility energy management system, and the need for maintenance. 

BIM also helps in choosing the best alternative that lowers the energy cost. And continuously track the energy performance of a building through its life.  

Renovation and Retrofitting 

BIM technology can create an as-built model of the buildings with the help of laser scanning or using the original and retrofit design plans. The as-built model provides the details of every element of the existing building. Awareness of the current condition of the building helps facility managers to monitor and benchmark systems. It also helps them make better-informed decisions and suggest various retrofit opportunities suitable for the project. Using BIM for renovation and retrofitting improves operational efficiency and cost savings.  

Streamlining the Maintenance Process 

After the designing and construction phase, the developed 3D BIM model gets transferred to the facility management team. The digital model contains detailed information about the asset, MEP components, building structures like the roof, wall, floors, etc. It also has details of building equipment like warranty, service period, and maintenance manuals of the HVAC system, plumbing units, and electrical sockets. Such detailed information of the building components helps facility managers to streamline the maintenance process by developing a program with the help of detailed information. Facilities repair, replacement, and maintenance activities can get planned with BIM information. 

Lifecycle Management 

BIM models get embedded with the comprehensive design data, the life expectancy of the building element, and the additional replacement cost. The lifecycle data of the building element helps the facility managers, contractors, and owners to estimate the replacement time of the building element and the cost of replacement. 

Therefore, the facility managers can make a well-informed decision, analyze and invest in materials that have a lasting effect with one-time payback over the lifecycle of the building. 

Emergency Management 

The 3D BIM model and information system give access to critical information that helps improve the efficiency of the emergency response and minimizes safety risks associated with it.  

The static BIM model gives information about the floor plan and equipment schematics. When the BIM model gets coupled with the building automation system, it helps identify and locate emergency equipment in the building or; any other harmful locations. It gives real-time information to police, fire, and public safety officials and improves the effectiveness of the emergency response. 

Capital Planning 

BIM technology can help to make a strategic capital investment decision. It develops a healthy Facility condition Index and identifies the probable failure of strategic assets. Building maintenance can be planned and managed in a more standardized manner. It leads to more accurate capital planning. 

Benefits of Using BIM for Facility Management 

Facility management has a significant position in the real estate industry for managing its ROI. FM indirectly affects the revenue or sales of a business. But it directly impacts the net profit. FM can leverage BIM to manage its operations effectively and relish several benefits. 

Detailed Information with BIM’s LOD  

BIM’s Level of Development (LOD) documents the data effectively and precisely and is classified into LOD 100, 200, 300, 400, 450, and LOD 500. LOD 500 contains details of the elements and is geometrically accurate such as purchase documentation, commissioning data, record cost, maintenance requirements, and other information. These details are crucial in facility maintenance and management. 

LOA for Accurate Documentation 

The US Institute of Building documentation LOA specification guide has structured LOA into five levels from LOA10 to LOA 50. And these five LOA levels can get applied to building elements and the entire project. When applied to the BIM model and LOD, it gives more accurate data. Accuracy in data helps facility managers to reduce risks and improve operational efficiency.  

Energy Conservation with BIM and LEED 

LEED framework support creating healthy, efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. The incorporation of LEED with the BIM model; helps in developing a sustainable building. And also help facility managers to measure the impact of building elements on the lifecycle of sustainable buildings.  

Smooth Information Flow with COBie and OCCS  

The information retrieved from Construction-Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) and OmniClass Construction Classification System (OCCS) helps smooth and transparent information flow. It supports facility managers in better decision-making and maintenance. 

Cost Optimization 

Optimized and effective use of the space, energy conservation, asset management, timely decision making, etc., with BIM, optimizes the facility management process and saves cost at several stages.  

Improved Customer Satisfaction 

Customer satisfaction relies on the physical facilities, equipment used in providing the service, safety, comfort, accessibility, and reliability. BIM improves facility services and boosts customer satisfaction.  

 BIM Application in Facility Management Process 

BIM application in the facility management process may vary with each project and depends on the stage of the journey of a project. However, a general BIM FM process includes the following three phases.  

Stage 1: Planning 

The planning stage involves the identification of the facility management objectives and analyzing the current feasibility. The following tasks are part of the planning stage: 

  • Evaluating the existing systems, processes, and infrastructure 
  • Collating information on the current system 
  • Building a team 
  • Identifying the facility management requirements 
  • Documenting and structuring the categories of assets and activities  

Stage 2: Design 

The planning stage starts with evaluating the current FM system. And the development of a team that can track & collect the appropriate data throughout the process. 

  • Identification of the current FM process, system, and people 

The team needs to identify the current FM system, processes, and people. The key personnel of the FM, their skill sets, and acquired knowledge should get identified and listed. For collating the data, the team can conduct surveys and collect reviews. 

  • Define the properties, assets, and categories to get tracked   

Once the data is collected and analyzed, we need to identify the opportunities or strengths of the current FM system. 

Properties, assets, and the categories where BIM has to get implemented needs to be identified and tracked.     

  • Creation of standards and plan to meet the objective 

In the design stage, evaluate the right approach or platform to use BIM. The platform should be able to meet the defined goal or needs. Create the standards and deliverables. So that industry partners understand how the BIM data has to be delivered. And if required, develop the translation tool.  

Stage 3: Operations 

  • Enforcement of Plan 

Develop the platform to use BIM. Collect the data, both BIM and non-BIM, and integrate the data. Train the facilities staff as training plays an essential role in the entire process for both, i.e., those collecting the data and using the data.  

  • Analyze and Revise 

Analyze the entire process to learn and repeat the stages for an optimal result. After executing the planned activities, document the instructions and processes so that maintenance of the system would be process-driven in the future. 

Hassle-free Facility Management with Professional Help  

OneStop AEC (OSA) is a leading architectural, project management, and BIM services provider delivering projects in the AEC space for years. Facility management plays a crucial role in optimizing the performance and cost of a project. OSA’s FM experts bring the best tools, techniques, and solutions to analyze, maintain, and improve facility management performance.  

At OSA, our project management consultants can also help in end-to-end project management solutions using emerging techniques and technologies. Get in touch with our consultants for accurate, customized, and innovative FM solutions. 

Post-pandemic Construction Challenges
Architecture & Building

Post-pandemic Construction Challenges & Opportunities in the US

The emergence of the pandemic has dived the construction industry into its hardship with falling revenue and increasing project delivery challenges. Several construction projects got delayed and canceled, supply-chain disrupted, and workforce shortage and liquidity deficit encountered across the globe due to the pandemic. Global agencies estimated the construction industry to contract by 7.3 percent in Western Europe and 1.7 percent in North America in 2020.  

Suspension of production and distribution of construction supply materials, limited transportation, and travel bans increased the cost of construction raw materials. And the construction enterprises suffered low profitability due to delays in project delivery dates.   

Slowly, as things are coming to normal, construction companies are adopting the COVID rules and guidelines, with emerging technology and aid of relief packages by the US government to resume the work.  

But there are several other challenges like staffing, material cost rise, supply chain issues, and derailed procurement calendar due to long time work suspension encountered by the contractors and businesses. However, all these challenges can be handled by outsourcing the project management consulting activities by a professional service provider. 

How the Pandemic Has Impacted the Construction Industry  

How the Pandemic Has Impacted the Construction Industry  

COVID has significantly affected the construction industry, and it can get observed across several countries. The sudden rise in COVID cases forced the government in several countries to impose immediate lockdown put a temporary halt on the ongoing projects.  

In the EU, construction production has diminished by 1.6% in February 2021 compared with January 2020. Civil engineering has dropped by 3.4 percent whereas, the construction of buildings dipped by 1.9 percent.  

The Australian construction industry that is dependent overseas on building materials and equipment has to face supply chain disruptions. Suppliers from different parts of the world stopped or slowed down the manufacturing production to prevent the spread. Restrictions on the movement of people led the Australian contractors to suffer from a lack of materials like aluminum, glazing, plumbing fixtures, carpet, tiling, lifts, and mechanical & electrical parts. 

California and its most COVID-affected regions halted the construction project except healthcare, low-income, and senior housing. Strict guidelines for social distancing, increased sanitation efforts, additional sanitation stations, COVID-19 signage, and employee screening; were laid down for the construction industries.  

In the US, COVID brought several challenges to the construction workforce, contractors, architects, engineers, businesses, and other project stakeholders.   

Challenges for Construction Workers

As the pandemic resulted in workload reduction in the construction industry, furloughs and layoffs started happening on a larger scale.  In the US, the projected engineers observed a decline of 50 percent to 60 percent workload; as compared to previous years. Contractors and sub-contractors started facing cash flow challenges, forcing furloughs and layoffs across the industry.  

The layoff impacted the craft workers, project engineers, estimators, administrative employees, and others. The construction workforce layoff also raised the fear of their transition to other industries. Uncertainty of the pandemic also raised mental health issues among the workforce. 

Independent Architects and Contractors

Many independent architects in California had to close their offices and work remotely after the lockdown announcement. They faced new communication challenges due to remote working. The cancellation of several projects has hit the architects badly. 

Contractors have to face several challenges from the labor shortage, materials delay & shortage, to worker’s health and safety and cash flow challenges. They also dealt with the delay in inspections and permitting. All these factors added to the slow-down of ongoing projects. Contractors had to look for new ways of working to ensure productivity and product delivery to their clients. 

Construction Firms 

Construction Firms

In the pandemic situation, financial stability and liquidity problem has become the priority of major construction firms. Many firms suffered a sharp drop in the market valuations due to disruptions by the pandemic, and it affected SMEs the most. 

Another challenge for construction firms was the safety concern of their employees. Research in Los Angeles concluded that construction workers reported the highest number of COVID positive cases as to workers of other industries. 

In several parts of California, construction firms imposed basic policies adhering to the CDC guidelines. For example, Hanover company had to close all their projects which were less than ten percent housing.   

In Los Angeles and other orange countries, they continued their projects with new job safety protocols and procedures. 

Stakeholders 

Several hurdles and challenges encountered by the project stakeholders have compelled them to be substantial collaborate to deliver the project. Contractors have to partner with clients and other stakeholders more frequently for risk analysis, discuss contract restructuring, the well-being of the workforce, adoption of new technology, safety, manage supply-chain issues, cash-flow, etc.   

Real Estate Companies and Realtors 

COVID-19 impacted the US residential real estate industry the most by dropping home sales. New York City has a decline of 58 percent in pending home sales in April 2020 compared to last year. And metro areas of the US; observed an average decrease of 33 percent due to economic uncertainty, health concern, and stay-at-home orders. It led fewer buyers and sellers to list their properties or allow visitors to look at the property. 

Post-pandemic Situation in the AEC Industry

Post-pandemic Situation in the AEC Industry  

The construction industry has taken several efforts and measures to handle the pandemic-related challenges. Such as the Bechtel group in the US has taken numerous preventive steps to bring back the labor to the worksite. Remote working is the new norm, where new projects are allowed to get designed from remote locations. Contractors are using online channels to monitor the employees.  

To maintain the immediate crisis, construction firms are reviewing capital, capital cost budget, raising funds, and considering stimulus package from the government. US government announced a second COVID relief fund of trillion 1.9$, a fraction of which has also got allocated for the construction industry.  

The AEC and the real estate industry are fighting to revive as the pandemic is inducing and increasing several disruptions and challenges. 

Shortage of Labor 

In the year 2020, several projects were canceled and paused, causing a reduction in construction revenue and demand for labor. Several lost their jobs because of layoffs and furloughs, and many skilled workers had left the workforce.   

According to the 2020 construction outlook survey by Associated general contractors of America, around 81 percent of the construction firms agreed that they are dealing with challenges in finding a qualified and skilled workforce to fill their salaried and hourly craft positions. And 71 percent of them believe labor shortage to be the biggest hurdle in 2021. 

Supply Chain Disruptions 

Lockdown resulted in supply chain disruptions in almost every industry, like material shortage and delivery delays. The construction industry faced a jump in construction materials prices between 2020 and 2021.  

The price of Iron and Steel increased to 15.6 percent from January 2020 to January 2021. And softwood lumber became 75 percent more expensive in 2021 compared to 2020. It impacted the residential construction sector, where lumber gets used for house framing. As per the National Association of home builders, now a single-family home is 16,000$ more expensive. 

Occupational Safety and Health 

Construction work is inherently collaborative and requires several trades to work alongside. They need to share workspaces and facilities. And to maintain social distancing and other safety guidelines is not so feasible at the site. Therefore, the spread of the virus in construction places is a big concern. Other challenges were scarcity of masks, breathing difficulty while performing strenuous tasks with a face mask, etc. 

Reduction in Efficiency and Productivity Rates 

Productivity took a backseat in construction, as the safety of the workforce became the priority of employers.  Safety measures like social distancing reduced the number of workers at the site.  Shortage of PPE kits, quarantining requirements, fear of infection also reduced the number of workers affecting productivity. 

Cash flow challenges led to payment delays and material shortages. And delay also caused productivity losses.   

Increase in Disputes, Litigation, and Claims 

The challenges like delays, temporary suspension of work, material shortage, additional cost due to rise in prices of materials, and cost overruns increased the chances of disputes, litigations, and claims in the industry.  Likelihood of disputes between contractors and owners related to project delivery and between contractor & sub-contractor, contractor & supplier, owner & tenant, increased. 

How Things Are Shaping up in the US Post Pandemic and Opportunities 

How Things Are Shaping up in the US Post Pandemic and Opportunities

To cope-up with pandemic challenges, construction and Real-estate firms are bringing several changes in their working norm. A tech-savvy culture can improve communication, increase accuracy, reduce downtime and keep the workers safe.  

Many construction firms started using video-conferencing and cloud file-sharing technology to promote work from home culture. Labor shortage issues are getting managed using the right construction software with an automated drone surveying workflow.  

Real estate agencies are increasingly adopting digital technologies to mitigate the pandemic impact. Lockdown has raised the demand for a virtual walkthrough of properties to get an insight. Buyers and investors want to see the plan before investing in a property that is just in its planning phase. Therefore, digital modeled portfolios have got introduced by real-estate firms to showcase their project plan. Product visualization technology like a digital furniture portfolio can boost the industry by reducing the cash-flow challenges.   

Opportunities for Architects and Engineers 

In addition to the various challenges, the pandemic has also brought few opportunities for architects and engineers. Since the lockdown period got extended, people started confronting the inadequacies of their domestic spaces to keep themselves away from infections.  

Architects and engineers are coming up with new and innovative solutions and designs to meet these challenges. 

Spacious Home Design 

Restrictions to the go-out of the home are increasing the demand for spacious home design. The interest in the design model with space for entertainment and activities is rising.   

Home with Private Green Space 

To remain close to a natural home with private green space is gaining popularity in pandemic due to restrictions in open green spaces and parks. Better landscape design with natural elements 

Covid-19 has threatened the idea of tall buildings, with elevator cores to increase density and urban life filled with social energy to live happily. Pandemic has shifted the focus towards a health-oriented approach such as landscape design with natural elements. It helps to improve the air quality and offers a natural defense against the disease. 

Sustainable and Go Green Architecture 

Sustainable buildings provide stringent and open ventilation, reduce the negative impact on the environment, reduces carbon emission, and are energy efficient. Sustainable and go green is increasing in demand as people are trying to connect to nature.  

Buildings with Touchless Technology 

Touchless doorways or doorless entrances in larger units are preferred to stop surface contamination. Voice-activated elevators, hands-free switches, restrooms with automated doors, and touchless automatic toilet values are high in demand.  

Innovative Design Ideas and Project Management Consulting Will Win the Market  

OneStop AEC (OSA) is a leading architectural, designing, and project management consulting service, provider. We are working with clients from different sectors across the globe. The team of OSA is continuously providing innovative solutions to several complex challenges for years to their clients.  Our Architects and engineers are constantly monitoring the market change due to Pandemic. They are coming up with creative and sustainable design solutions for their clients to minimize the risk of infection and protect human health. 

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