Thursday 9 March 2017

The Real Value of BIM Data for FM

As per my last blog, getting out of the office is getting harder and harder these days but, on the days that I manage it, I'm always convinced I should do it more!  Today I attended a BIFM sponsored breakfast event hosted and delivered by Chris Senior of @infiniteBIM.  Although Chris, as he is quick to point out, is not from an FM background, he clearly has a handle on what makes for good FM data.  More importantly, through experience of delivering actual projects (yes, you heard me right) he understands what is less helpful.

This is not a sales pitch for @infiniteBIM but, it really is heartening to see, at last, some real debate and news about getting FM into the BIM conversation.  Clearly, it is easier to engage with FM from 'the other side' if you are working in an environment that has it's own service provider that is sold on the value of BIM.  It is less clear cut when we are discussing new builds where the client is less informed and may or may not have their FM operation in place.

Our experience, validated by organisations such as Infinite BIM, is that FM (as a discipline) is generally engaged far too late in the process.  When FM is involved, the process is improved for all involved.  There is education on all sides and the puzzle that is BIM becomes slightly clearer to all.  Where we have the opportunity to redress this balance we should make the most of learning the lessons (however disjointed at present) and utilising the learning on future projects.

As anyone who knows the real story will agree, we still do not have a single example of a delivered BIM project that has benefitted from the Operate & Maintain (FM) phase engagement throughout.  What we are now seeing are some of the early adopters showing evidence of the potential benefit gained by joining the party late.  Better late than never.

If you are thinking of a new BIM project or, have embarked on one and haven't broken ground, please consider involving an FM 'intelligent client function'.  You may be surprised at the results.

When speaking to Architects and design houses, we often hear the phrase "Start with the end in mind".  The time is right now to put your money where your mouth is and actually engage with FM.  The BIM guidance and documentation all points to early engagement yet it still happens all to rarely.

And to the FM community, let's stop avoiding the subject and get on board the BIM train.  BIM has the potential to change how we care for our built environment in a fundamental way.  Stand up and take one step forward.

A fantastic event that gave me much food for thought.


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