Drivers for BIM adoption: an architect’s perspective
Building Information Modelling isn’t a fad and is a process to be added to the skill set of asset and facilities management professionals.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process. It is not a tool or solution. It is a holistic approach to the design, construction and management of the facilities used in the built environment.
As an international design practice, HASSELL is at the forefront of BIM implementation. Aside from the traditional design stages, from delivery of the conceptual design through to the built handover, at a fundamental level we create the three-dimensional geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, quantities and properties of building components. These primary 3D geometries and relationships enable these ‘objects’ to have intelligent data attached. Core to BIM is the translation of this raw data to intelligent and usable information.
Annual surveys in the construction industry show that architects and designers are leading the adoption of BIM design and delivery. HASSELL projects are typically delivered within the BIM framework and, where specifically requested by the primary stakeholder, can be provided to BIM Level 2 compliance. This corresponds to the UK Government mandated policy that requires all publicly procured buildings delivered to this level of compliance by 2016. HASSELL’s investment in BIM from an early stage is significant and this is already bringing benefits to all project stakeholders, our global work practice, our collaborating consultants and, most importantly, to our clients.
Unfortunately, the road to BIM is not yet sufficiently developed for the life cycle of a building. Construction sector analysis shows that CAPEX (capital expenditure – design and construction) accounts for 20 percent of the total cost, with the remaining 80 percent of costs assigned to OPEX (operation and maintenance). While the construction team is able to leverage BIM to improve design coordination and program, reduce risk and reduce cost, the major benefits to the client are yet to be realised. This will be possible when BIM is fully integrated for intelligent operation and maintenance of the built asset for its complete life cycle – from concept to demolition and all refurbishment and reappropriation between.
Early engagement from facilities management at the design stage can enable upfront integration of intelligent and parametric data to be assigned to project components and systems. The main cost benefit here is the mobilisation of the facilities management within the building to provide comprehensive and accurate asset history, information and life cycle costs. You can readily transform the maintenance strategy using data analysis and bring in factors such as the life cycle replacement dataset, the manufacturers’ literature information, the design information, and operational information that could be incorporated into the building model.
End users would have all the information they need to operate the building in one central database without having to maintain separate asset management systems.
Building operators will already have good‐quality asset management processes and data collection in place. BIM can assist in making those processes and data collection more efficient; however, it is not a cure for existing bad practice.
Datasets must be defined in order to develop digital plans of work. Datasets are absolutely key for the interoperability of different tools, as they enable software from different manufacturers to talk to one another.
Ultimately the integration of asset and facilities management (A&FM) into the process of ‘Design, Develop and Deliver’, requires ‘buy-in’ from the primary stakeholder, the client, who in many instances may not be fully aware that integration is an option. The question needs to be asked.
Our experience in a number of projects has demonstrated that raising the issues of asset and facilities management with the client during the early planning stages can alert the primary stakeholder to the benefits available through early implementation. The integration of A&FM into BIM is clearly more cost-effective than a retrofitted solution.
A key selling point for BIM is its long-term value. When technology can improve maintenance and operations over the life cycle of a facility, streamline access to critical information, enhance the identification and diagnosis of faults, and improve overall performance, it makes sense to integrate within a project at the earliest opportunity.
We live in the information age and the need for real-time, accurate operational and historical data is just as important for FM as it is for any other profession entrusted with the operation and maintenance of high-value plant, equipment and assets. Fortunately for us, the advent of collaborative software and cloud computing means the many systems within a facility can be fully integrated to ‘talk’ to one another as never before.
When HASSELL designed the $120 million Tonsley education, research and industry hub for Flinders University in Adelaide, we integrated BIM for the design, development and delivery stages of the project with the asset and facilities management system chosen by the client. This has delivered significant benefits for the client, particularly in the areas of improving building performance, reducing repairs and maintenance costs. Not only are all operations and maintenance manuals immediately accessible, the system has the capacity to locate each of the items in the 3D digital model. Preventative maintenance schedules are now far easier to manage and maintain.
The six-storey building is home to more than 150 staff and 1500 students in a centre that promotes collaboration between students and business, and between business and researchers in engineering, medical devices and nanoscale technologies. As such, the facility itself needs to ‘walk the walk’ by using the latest, most integrated technologies and its BIM is doing just that.
The project brief for another HASSELL project, the new Perth Stadium articulated the deliverables as BIM with FM data captured. The stadium, which is under construction, will provide standard seating for 60,000 sports fans and utilise an impressive array of technology to help keep them entertained – including two giant 240-square metre screens, set to be among the biggest in Australia, and 1000 smaller screens. The structure will have the capacity to provide 10,000 extra seats as required and will have 70 food and beverage options.
Similarly in Sydney, deliverables for the 60 Martin Place development consisted of a BIM with A&FM integrated. HASSELL won an international design competition for this landmark project at one of the most significant development sites in the civic and business heart of the city. The building will provide just over 40,000 square metres of lettable area and will accommodate up to three anchor tenants at one of the most prestigious business addresses in Sydney. The BIM for 60 Martin Place will reflect those high standards, providing the most cost-efficient, measurable and technologically advanced system currently available. In this instance, the primary stakeholder’s commitment to process and outcome is explicit; it requires project delivery in BIM integrated with FM. The BIM is also required to provide a framework for sustainability targets to be tracked and reached, and finally provide the base virtual building model and data set for integrated asset and facilities management to be implemented.
There is much to clarify and many obstacles to overcome on the issue of BIM, but it is not going to go away. It is not a fad – it is a process to be added to the skill set of the asset and facilities management professions’ true value and cannot be delivered unless the entire supply chain works as a collaborative team and integrated entity, including the most important contributor – the client.
Craig Howell Jones is group BIM manager at international design practice HASSELL.
Photo Credit: HASSELL