The advantages of BIM for facility management

Facility management aided by BIM can reduce expenses, save time and conserve energy

By Anna Liza Montenegro December 21, 2021
Courtesy: Brett Sayles

In 2021, various facility managers have been recommending Autodesk Revit as the go-to tool for their profession. And indeed, the benefits of Revit are plentiful. But then again, any building information modeling (BIM) design software will be highly rated among the modern facility management experts, considering just how cost-effective and easy to use it can be.

Of course, to the uninitiated, the term BIM might be somewhat new. What exactly is it? And more importantly, why is it so important to facility management?

As the times progress, technology is growing and expanding rapidly. And, any piece of software that can make work easier and more manageable is welcome. The same can be said of BIM. Therefore, this article will focus on all of the benefits that BIM software has in the field of facility management.

BIM in a nutshell

In simple terms, BIM is a collaborative process of designing, constructing, running and maintaining buildings. But, the key to BIM is its simplicity. Most systems in the past had to use several different sets of tools and documents for building maintenance. BIM, however, narrows it down to a single system of computer models, all of them coherent and up-to-date.

There are several key reasons behind BIM’s popularity. First and foremost, it promotes collaboration between different parties. Business partners can share information quickly, add their input and discuss potential changes in real time. Furthermore, BIM offers a full-time 3D simulated experience. People can see rehearsals and simulations of every single stage of the building process. That way, users can be ready for any potential issues that might arise and reduce any damages or setbacks to a minimum.

Now, what exactly does BIM have that can help facility managers?

Streamlined maintenance with BIM

Facility managers usually face an entire list of problems when it comes to building maintenance. Sometimes, it’s down to poor planning; other times, it’s the unplanned expenses. Of course, most of these issues stem from not knowing a building in and out. And poor management can lead to negative, often even dangerous consequences.

Naturally, each facility manager has their own building maintenance program. However, human errors occur and having a decent simulation can significantly

help to reduce the number of said errors. That’s where BIM comes in.

As a building owner or facility manager, someone can include product and asset data into their BIM’s maintenance program. That way, they can develop maintenance that is far more effective and preventative than usual. This data is then safely stored in one of many BIM models. By streamlining maintenance, people can reduce the cost and time it normally takes to populate a maintenance program accurately.

Improved space management

All facility managers worth their salt will explain just how important it is to have proper space management. Companies need to understand how best to use the space in their building. Even a slight miscalculation can lead to massive expenses and a waste of resources.

With BIM, people can analyze all available building models and receive valuable data about their facility’s space. By doing this analysis, the BIM can help cut down on real estate costs, as well as vacancies. With these models, companies can precisely see how to use a specific space and have it work for them rather than against them.

Economical retrofits and renovations

Sometimes, a facility needs a bit of an upgrade. More often than not, it will involve a level of renovation and retrofitting. However, even these projects require a lot of research. And even with the strictest of planning, any number of things can go wrong. Furthermore, the costs could be huge.

That’s where BIM shines. With this type of software, a real-time model can be used and gather all relevant data about the facility. Such data will include:

  • Details about any retrofit project.
  • Possible costs of retrofitting.
  • The necessity of facility renovation.
  • How complex the renovation ought to be.
  • Relevant information about the current conditions of the facility.

Using the BIM model data, companies can calculate the potential costs, time and effort needed for renovation and retrofitting. More importantly, they can figure out how to reduce any of those elements and still end up with a satisfying result. Most importantly, people will know in advance of any potential issues that can end up ballooning their renovation budget unnecessarily.

Energy efficiency

Modern architecture and building management both place heavy emphasis on green practices. So, when it comes to managing a facility, energy expenditure will need to be taken into account.

By using BIM software, a manager can analyze every single parameter regarding energy consumption. That way, they will have enough data to implement energy-saving practices and reduce both the operating costs and the environmental impact. And indeed, the green, energy-saving aspects of BIM are one of its bestselling points, in a sense. Not only do companies reduce any costs to their business, but they also protect the environment in the process. By combining the energy consumption data with the retrofitting and renovation simulations, people will have an excellent roadmap to improving their facility’s management.

Enhancing life cycle management

A facility is, in a sense, like a living organism. So, when investing in it or improving upon it, people need to think long term. In other words, consider making some pricy investments that will pay for themselves over the years. But more importantly, these investments should keep the facility running for a long time.

BIM’s simulations and models offer companies the ability to consider which of these investments they should go ahead with. A BIM will cover every single aspect of a potential investment, handling an enormous amount of data about the facility.

BIM and facility management

The great thing about BIM software is that it’s effective for both short- and long-term strategies. With such a useful tool at their disposal, facility managers can improve nearly every single aspect of a building and, more importantly, do so by reducing expenses, saving time and conserving energy.

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.