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Extending the use of BIM beyond the construction phase

Building information modeling, or BIM is the digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. It is a sophisticated technology that enables teams to design and manage projects, as well as operate across disciplines. BIM

BIM dominates the way owners, architects, engineers, and contractor teams work together, but few institutions take advantage of the modeling capabilities beyond the construction phase. The modeling technology is not widely used for either operations and maintenance (O&M) or facilities management (FM) purposes, as shown below:


If used effectively, a technology like BIM would free up resources otherwise committed to operations, maintenance, and management of facilities so these institutions could focus on their core missions (e.g., educating young minds or keeping people healthy).

Market Drivers

Two market conditions motivate institutions and facility owners to consider using BIM beyond the construction phase:

  1. The expense of maintaining high performing buildings over their lifecycle

  2. The ability to respond quickly to immediate repairs, emergencies, and disasters.

O&M Costs

Maintaining buildings over their lifespan is an expensive proposition. Many elements of the building and its infrastructure contribute to this, including energy costs and equipment repair and replacement.

Energy. Energy is one of the largest operating expenses for buildings, and the average commercial building in the United States wastes about 30% of the energy it uses. According to the Institute for Building Efficiency, properly maintaining a heating, ventilating, and air conditions (HVAC) system can reduce HVAC energy costs anywhere from 5% to 40%.

Repair and Replacement. All equipment requires maintenance. It can be difficult for building owners to quantify or predict the costs associated with maintenance, repair, or replacement, which includes time to identify the problem, outage time, the effect on operations or building occupants.

Emergency Response

Even small issues can result in significant problems for institutions that operate complex facilities or a large number of buildings in a campus-style setting. Utility outages, for example, can close a building, displace building users, and cause sizable financial damages. In addition, such events can damage the reputation of institution if the issue is not resolved quickly.

BIM for O&M and FM

For progressive institutions and owners, the solution is to incorporate BIM into the organization for operations, maintenance, and management of their buildings and facilities over time. This allows owners to take control of the building’s full lifecycle.

When considering a BIM solution for operations and maintenance, be sure to consider technical compatibility, integration with existing systems, and a workable training plan.

  1. Technical compatibility. Look for a provider who works with a system that meets industry standards, as well as your institution’s existing standards.

  2. Ability to integrate. Look for a provider who can help you integrate BIM into your existing operations, maintenance, and management systems and processes.

  3. Training. Look for a provider who understands how to use BIM for operations, maintenance, and management and can help you create a workable training plan to bring your entire team up to speed.


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