ZweigWhite CE News Structural Engineer Rebuilding America's Infrastructure  
AEC Technology Strategies 2012 Conference

BIM, GIS, FM and what to do with all of that data

According to the International Facility Managers Association, 75% of a building’s lifecycle budget is in ownership and management, that's one of the reasons why the AGC BIM Forum tackled the challenges facing today's architects, engineers and construction companies in taking BIM and GIS data and using it for facilties management.

"Ours is the only trillion dollar industry in the history of the world where clients demand inefficient processes," said Chuck Mies, Autodesk's BIM Business Development Manager in his opening presentation. "Handover generally leads to information loss."

Elimating the loss of data from project completion to handover was an ongoing theme. Birgitta Wilson, formerly of the Sandia National Laboratory encouraged building owners to "think of assets as people, why shouldn’t assets get a social security number? You can add them as parameters to your models, then. If we have discreet stakeholders we must know what vehicle will carry information from one stakeholder to another throughout that process. "

Many of the presenters spoke about how data was transferred from BIM model to facilitlies management system in their presentations about projects ranging from major airport expansions, to university planning studies and BIM and Navigation hardware and software manufacturer Trimble's new Westminster, Colo., headquarters.

BIM contracts and documents that specify what data is to be handed over and in what form to facilities managers were discussed, including AIA E202 BIM Protocol, AGC ConsensusDOCS 301: BIM addendum and Penn State University's Planning Guide for Facilities Owners and BIM Project Execution Guide.

The University of Washington and Sellen Construction showed how they shared FM information on the $41.8 million, 65,000-sf Foster School of Business (Phase II) by using an Omniclass classification system to standardize all categories of building elements. All GIS, BIM, and CAD data were added in during construction, plugged into spreadsheet along with information from subcontractors. This information included nameplates, commissioning information, and warranties from all equipment in the field for validation.

The high-level discussions of cataloging project and product information eventually led to a debate about whose responsibility it is to input such information into systems such as the Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) for facilities management..

The architect? The engineer? The general contractor?

"Import is difficult," said Laura Handler, virtual design and construction manager at Tocci Buildng Corp. "There are problems with COBie."

All of this discussion of the difficulty of importing information and whose responsibility is data entry reminded me of another talk I'd recently attended by James Benham of SmartBIDnet where he proposed that for BIM and construction to reach its next stage, transferring information via spreadsheets into databases had to go away as a construction site planning process. Is it time to demand richer, more accessible information for eventual facilities management use on our projects? Is the technology even there to do away with good old Microsoft Excel?

"We have to got to move people off of using spreadsheets as data storage and for reporting," Benham said at the AGC IT conference in Chicago earlier this year. "We need them to demand integration, participate in standards and try cloud integrated software."














The University of Washington spun a new web to use COBie for all of its new facilties information.

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