What clients and asset managers need to know about BIM

The world has changed for asset managers

The world has changed for asset managers.

They’re now expected to maintain the digital asset as well as the physical asset when that responsibility is written into contracts, the liabilities can be substantial.

If the digital record wasn’t correct at handover, the FM needs to alert the client to any discrepancies, because in many cases it isn’t possible to make corrections in any cost-effective way.

To some extent this is caused by misunderstanding about what a BIM model is.

It’s a data model that should include all the information about a building, including where things are and how they relate to each other. There’s a perception that design and construction teams create and work on a single BIM model, and everything gets produced from that coordinated 3D model.

It’s often called “one version of the truth”. But in practise that’s not the case.

Just as the physical asset is created by different specialists providing their packages and assembling them into a single coordinated or Federated building or a room, the same specialists now must provide a digital version of what they’ve installed and those individual files need to be Federated into a single coordinated digital representation of the physical building.

Each designer or specialist supplier creates their own individual BIM models, and somebody coordinates or federates dozens of individual models.

There are some great tools that support the BIM managers in getting that right from a geometric perspective, but it’s much more difficult to check that the right data has been delivered in the right format.

The BIM community has an international standard called IFC to manage data, and the subset for handover to asset management is called COBie.

In practice, the handover information on most BIM projects comprises a Federated 3D model, a COBie spreadsheet which may not have the right data and that makes it difficult to connect to the assets in the 3D model. The O&M manual should include the specifications and the product data of what was installed. But it’s typically divorced from the model, and the COBie data.

Activeplan’s Asset Information Model resolves this and forms a starting point for a true Digital Twin.