BIM’s role in facility design and management

Building information modeling (BIM) has become a major factor in building a successful facility and company because it cuts down on wasted time and costs.

By Anna Liza Montenegro December 29, 2022
Courtesy: Katie Spain, CFE Media

With modernization comes innovation, and in recent years, building information modeling (BIM) has become a major factor in building a successful facility and company. Using BIM is like seeing a facility’s future, but in this case, the future is still in the hands of working professionals. Not only does it make the construction and architecture process more efficient, but it also provides accurate information that can benefit the entire lifecycle of a building. In other words, deciding to use BIM software means deciding to optimize design work, upkeep, and other operational tasks.

What is BIM?

BIM is a revolutionary and collaborative way of designing a model of an infrastructure project using digitalization and computer software.

BIM software allows professionals to build 3D models of architectural, construction, plant, and civil projects. The main goal of using BIM software is to streamline the workflow process so projects can be completed faster and with cost management and other benefits in mind.

Implementing BIM is a careful procedure that requires a plan of action. Likewise, BIM software is a proven method of streamlining the following stages:

  1. Evaluation and assessment
  2. Project pre-planning and transition
  3. Evaluation of plan and design
  4. Operations and maintenance

Six reasons why BIM is becoming more popular

Modeling technology has become imperative for managing project information throughout its entire lifestyle, especially in the design and construction fields. Let’s explore some of the major benefits of using BIM software.

1. Collaboration

BIM software gives everyone the same access to crucial tools and information and provides co-authoring, project management, and model coordination tools. One of the main perks of using BIM is how it brings various team members together, no matter where they are in the world, to see a clear picture of the modeling process. The result is a more unified team and reduced errors and inefficiencies.

2. Eliminating construction facility rework

Rework accounts for 30% of work performed by construction companies. Construction companies can extend jobs for several reasons, from unskilled workers to poor communication to a lack of management. During this extended period, workers must either fix errors or account for lost time while finishing projects properly, which causes a drastic rise in cost.

Of course, there will always be some rework in the construction industry, but BIM streamlines most processes and boosts work efficiency. Since BIM allows companies to envision and build a facility model before constructing it in “real life,” it provides a level of predictability as to how the construction phase will go, which helps to cut down on rework operations.

3. Improving cost savings and accuracy

Using BIM for waste reduction in the delivery and operational stages can help organizations save money. Virtually building the facility also means fixing and tweaking the model as often as possible before achieving the ideal result, allowing for even more cost accuracy. 

4. Building lifecycle management

Using BIM software data gives professionals insight into the life expectancy of a company. This gives a better understanding of what materials and systems to invest in and if those costs will have a better payback in the future.

For example, using durable materials to construct a facility may be more costly at the moment. Still, BIM data can show professionals how this will improve the life expectancy and value of the company. This also reduces lifecycle costs and forecasts capital improvement costs.

5. Safety and security

While building the virtual version of a facility, enabling and optimizing public safety is a top priority. For instance, virtual modeling can predict crowd behaviors during specific emergency scenarios, such as fires. 

6. Sustainable building goals

Climate change has never been a more pressing issue than it is now, but luckily, architects and contractors may be able to curb the problem with BIM.

During the design phase, architects can make sound decisions about sustainability with the guidance of BIM software. Paying attention to water, energy, location, transportation, and indoor environmental quality will help a building earn modern environmental accolades and certifications.

BIM and facilities management

One of the primary reasons BIM usage has been skyrocketing in recent years is how it benefits facility managers.

Virtual modeling makes the life of a facility manager (FM) easier and more rewarding, as they now have access to the design stage of the facility they oversee. Without their impact on the building outcome, an FM would miss out on enhancing their role. For that alone, there are countless reasons for an FM to leverage BIM usage.

Furthermore, watching a virtual model come to fruition is the cornerstone of a successful operation. Sometimes questions don’t come to mind right away, and when they do, assessing the virtual stage of development answers those questions before it’s too late.

BIM is also useful at all stages of facility upkeep and operation and is not just a basic blueprint. It provides accurate information on how vital systems will operate and what changes related to upkeep, improvements, and repairs may arise. These are all areas of concern for the FM.

With the aid of BIM, FMs can also scrutinize project efficiency and enjoy sharper visibility and oversight of facilities. This means FMs are more equipped to communicate their needs to contractors and all members of the various teams within the facility.

BIM and facility management’s future

When it comes to learning about a particular building, BIM is limitless. But what about the future?

Buildings are becoming smarter, the supplies and equipment within them are becoming smarter, and the people who work in these facilities are becoming an integral part of smart operations. And as time passes, smart workplaces will continue to grow thanks to BIM implementation and updates to BIM software.

Info will only become more relevant, and the data points BIM produces will become more specific and allow for even more fine-tuning. Soon, BIM will be able to replicate a facility’s minute details and may even produce models of people who work in them.

– Downtown Ecommerce Partners (DEP) is a CFE Media and Technology content partner.

Author Bio: Anna Liza Montenegro is a trained architect and an accomplished marketing professional in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, she possesses both strategic and execution of marketing initiatives, go-to-market plans, and execute product launches. At Microsol Resources, she develops the marketing strategy, brand management, digital marketing, and other demand generation activities for Microsol’s strategic partnerships with Autodesk, McNeel Rhino, Bluebeam, Enscape, Chaos Group V-Ray, Panzura, Ideate Software, FenestraPro, and other partners. When not marketing, she loves spending time with her kids, traveling, and summers in Maine.