How can BIM benefit facilities management?

Monday, November 6, 2006

BIM is certainly changing the way buildings are designed and constructed, but is it changing how they're operated and maintained? There is a lot of interest in the industry around using building information for FM (facilities management), but how does this really work? Do the benefits of BIM extend to FM?
Yes they do. This month's article focuses on methods for facility managers and FM applications to take advantage of the consistent, coordinated building information that comes from a BIM.

Interoperability, FM and BIM
In 2004, NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) undertook a study to estimate the efficiency losses in the U.S. capital facilities industry (commercial, institutional buildings and industrial facilities). The study reported that the annual cost (in 2002) associated with inadequate interoperability among computer-aided design, engineering and software systems was $15.8 billion.

The study reported that owners and operators shoulder almost two-thirds of that cost as a result of ongoing facility operation and maintenance. These statistics are borne out in the day-to-day activities of facility managers, including manually updating occupancy reports, calculating area for space charge-backs by counting ceiling tiles, digging through stacks of building documentation to find the maintenance manual for water heater and searching in vain for an as-built floor plan, only to find they never received it in the first place.

But the lack of interoperability highlighted in the NIST study is only part of the problem. Is the data trapped in those computer systems studied worth sharing? We tend to overlook the issue of data quality, glossing over the unfortunate truth that the data produced by conventional design software is often unreliable and thus not worth the effort required to share it. In contrast, the hallmark of BIM is coordinated, consistent, computable information about a building project -- information that's worth sharing and reusing.

Facility managers use DWF technology to move the coordinated, consistent, reliable space and room data being delivered from the Autodesk Revit building information model into Autodesk FMDesktop.

Therefore, owners and operators can mitigate their portion of the cost associated with the lack of interoperability cited above by using the high-quality building information from a BIM design process during the longer, more expensive maintenance and operation phase of the building's lifecycle. To that end, Autodesk has used DWF technology to link Autodesk Revit and Autodesk FMDesktop, Autodesk's suite of applications for organizing and reporting facility-related information. For more on DWF and BIM, see last month's column.

DWF-Based Space Management
DWF is a technology platform developed by Autodesk to distribute and communicate design information, without losing critical data and without the recipient needing to know -- or even have -- the native design software. In that framework, Autodesk FMDesktop reads DWFs published from Revit and automatically interprets space and room data, without the FMDesktop user needing Revit software.

Contrast this approach with the typical CAFM (computer-aided facilities management) process. The facility manager scans paper floor plans (or sometimes imports electronic CAD files) for use within the CAFM application. The electronic floor plans are then used as backdrops to create polylines (closed loops composed of line and arc segments) that define an area and identify room numbers to name that area. The time it takes to manually "polyline" a typical commercial building can stretch from days to weeks -- a typical 75,000 sq. ft., three-story office building might take four to five days to "polyline". This chore has spawned an entire cottage industry of "polylining" services. By using DWFs to move building data from Revit to FMDesktop, Autodesk has made this reliance on labor-intensive, manual creation of polylines obsolete.

Traditionally, architects have had difficult choices to make when their clients asked for help getting design data into their CAFM systems. They could say "No," use high rates to dissuade the client, or agree to do tedious manual entry or complicated database transfers at low margin for the sake of a client relationship. But now, architects using Revit Building can simply publish their BIM to DWF and e-mail the file to their clients who use FMDesktop. The client imports the DWF file into FMDesktop, which reads the room boundaries, room areas, room numbers and descriptions from the DWF; compares them to the existing database; warns the client about new and removed rooms; and then updates the CAFM model. There's no need for polyline services or database transfers.

In addition, DWF files can be generated from a variety of design systems using Autodesk's free DWF Writer. For non-Revit applications, there may be some manual data cleansing required by the facility manager, depending on the quality of the data coming from the design tool and the fidelity of its data transfer to DWF. But the end result is that owners and operators who use FMDesktop can consolidate data from multiple sources -- taking advantage of data coming from different architects and contractors who've worked on different properties, or renovated spaces using different authoring tools.

Facility managers can then use the simple tools in FMDesktop to generate their own color-diagram room reports and their own floor plans with room numbers, areas, occupant names and the like without calling the architect -- unless it's time to move a wall. And, if that time comes, DWF also facilitates the return of updated information back to the architect's Revit BIM. For example, the facility manager can redline the DWF to highlight modified room numbers or room types, and e-mail the DWF back to the architect.

Autodesk FMDesktop reads DWFs published by Autodesk Revit and automatically interprets space and room data -- eliminating the need for manual creation of polylines.

Acceptance of BIM for FM
With the increasing use of BIM for design, the owner and operator's use of that building information for facilities management is becoming more commonplace and more anticipated. Consider these examples:

Government agencies such as the U.S. GSA now require the delivery of spatial program information from BIMs for major projects that are receiving design funding in Fiscal Year 2007 and beyond.
To facilitate lifecycle building process integration and sharing digital datasets, the National Institute of Building Sciences formed a committee in early 2006 to create a National Building Information Model Standard to provide a common model for describing facility information.
The AIA is considering how to modify their contract documents to codify the transfer of a BIM, putting in place an agreement structure whereby the BIM and the intellectual property it represents can flow naturally from the architect to the owner and operator. The facilities manager can then get better data to manage a building from the most appropriate source of that data -- the architect who designed the building.
Benefits of BIM for FM
The benefits of using BIM during building design have been well publicized and are fueling its adoption rate amongst architects worldwide -- transforming their drawing-based processes to model-based processes. The benefits of using information from a building model for facilities management are likewise compelling and continue to fuel the discussion surrounding building lifecycle management and nudging facilities management towards model-based processes.

Last month's article was all about the advantages of digitally sharing the right building information with the right target audience. In the context of a building's total lifecycle, facility managers make up the bulk of that target audience, and they're now beginning to take advantage of the reliable building information being created by BIM solutions.

By linking Autodesk Revit and Autodesk FMDesktop, facility managers can immediately realize several significant benefits. Using room data from the Revit design model eliminates costs associated with the manual creation of polylines. DWF technology minimizes the frustration of cobbling together disparate building data from multiple design sources. But most importantly, facility managers can rest easy -- confident in their use of the coordinated, consistent, reliable data being delivered from the BIM.

Monday, April 16, 2012

iSTAR® the world’s first automatic rapid 360º camera launches in Texas

Camera design and manufacturing company, NCTech, is today launching the world’s first fully automatic instant 360º panoramic camera at SPAR International 2012 in Texas. Eagerly anticipated, the iSTAR® is widely predicted to displace current technology globally across multiple sectors including police, military, engineering, media and heritage.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Trimble Introduces New Positioning Solution for Tunnel Construction

PARIS, April 16, 2012 Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB) today introduced three new solutions for heavy civil construction professionals, the Trimble® Connected Office, the Trimble Connected Controller and the Trimble Connected Machine.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Laser Technologies: Taking the Guesswork Out of Pipeline Condition Assessment

Every year, wastewater managers must make decisions about which portions of their collection system should be maintained, rehabilitated or replaced. With the EPA and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) both projecting hundreds of billions of dollars of investment shortfalls facing our aging wastewater infrastructure, it is more important than ever that our wastewater managers are able to spend these limited funds most wisely to reduce risks and maintain service levels at a low cost.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Laser scanner from Faro Technologies measures up to 976,000 points/s

FARO Introduces Next Generation Focus3D Laser Scanner

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Do you have permission to scan that building?

ORLANDO, Fla. – If any presentation here at the FARO 3D Documentation Conference truly got attendees thinking it was Tuesday’s talk by Tom Kurke and Michael Weinberg: “It will be awesome if they don’t screw it up: Bringing IP issues in digital documentation into focus.”

Monday, July 27, 2009

Autodesk 2010 Certification Now Available for Design Professionals

Certified Associate and Certified Professional exams now available for newest versions of AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Revit Architecture, and AutoCAD Civil 3D Software

Friday, June 15, 2007



Thursday, February 15, 2007

3D Laser Mapping Supports Kumba Iron Ore Extraction

Nottingham, UK - 3D Laser Mapping, the UK based specialists in laser measurement technology and software, is helping Kumba Iron Ore to improve the safety of iron ore extraction in South Africa. 3D Laser Mapping has supplied and installed a Riegl LMS Z420i laser scanner, the first scanner of its type in South Africa, which is being used to monitor slope deformation in order to reduce the levels of risk to personnel and equipment that occur as a result of potential slope failure. The system uses the latest laser technology to capture highly accurate slope measurements that are then analysed to identify areas of movement and therefore potential failure.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Certifying As-built or Record Drawings

Architects should use caution when giving record drawings to clients and when creating “as-built” drawings. Examples of provisional language that might be used to mitigate the risk involved with “as- built” drawings are included.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Measuring Floor Area for Commercial Leases

Measuring Floor Area for Commercial Leases

Monday, January 15, 2007

3D Laser Mapping Launches Telecom Mapping System

3D Laser Mapping has launched a mobile mapping system designed to capture asbuilt 3D measurements of overhead telecom networks. The vehicle-mounted WireFinder system uses laser technology and specially designed software to measure the position of telecom network assets, such as poles and wires.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bentley OnSite Connects Worlds of Civil Engineering Design and Construction Speeds Project Construction, Decreases Project Risk and Costly Rework

EXTON, PA., January 4 /CNW/ - Bentley Systems, Incorporated today announced Bentley OnSite, breakthrough software that connects the worlds of civil engineering design and construction. This new offering automates and streamlines tasks for stakeout, inspection, and measurement in the field, facilitating project management and helping ensure unprecedented levels of accuracy during construction.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

GiveMePower Launches PowerCAD SiteMaster Turn-On-and-Go

CALGARY, Alberta, December 13, 2006 - GiveMePower Corporation (OTCBB: GMPW), today launched two new ultra-mobile computing solutions for building surveying and inspection, construction area estimating and reporting, and facilities asset and information management - featuring hardware from mobility market leaders Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) and Tablet Kiosk.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

3D Laser Mapping Launches StreetMapper 2

3D Laser Mapping has launched StreetMapper 2, a new modular vehicle-mounted system for rapid 3D mapping on and off road. The portable system uses lasers to 3D map assets and the landscape to millimeter accuracy at speeds of up to 70 km an hour.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Autodesk Supports Visual Studio, .NET Framework, MS SQL

SAN RAFAEL, California, November 8, 2005 - Autodesk, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK) today announced support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, the .NET Framework 2.0 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005. Autodesk and Microsoft work together across many technology areas. Autodesk's data management products, built using SQL Server, enable teams to gain greater insight and maximize efficiency by always having instant access to design information. The Microsoft products combined with AutoCAD-based products from Autodesk provide an optimal platform for application developers to realize their ideas in designing and creating a wide range of software applications, from shipbuilding to facilities management, plant design to urban planning, architecture to emergency response.

Monday, November 6, 2006

How can BIM benefit facilities management?

BIM is certainly changing the way buildings are designed and constructed, but is it changing how they're operated and maintained? There is a lot of interest in the industry around using building information for FM (facilities management), but how does this really work? Do the benefits of BIM extend to FM?

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Prime Edge Asbuilt Services proposes a new method for building field data verifications

San Francisco, California. — November 2, 2006 — Prime Edge Asbuilt Services today announced that it is underway to develop a full set of business applications for use by of professionals within construction, property management and design industries. Software applications include estimating software interface is called PrimeCue. EdgeCue is a CAD based software package and PlanCue is a facility plan management interface. Beta versions of these packages have been used by the company for the last two years and the updated version of the products will allow users to take advantage of a patent pending method for building data collection for estimating, drafting and management purposes, making it easier than ever to prepare asbuilt floor plans, estimate amount of work to be performed or provide a detailed information with regard to the occupied space for facility planning purposes. In an effort to make this technology available to the industry professionals Prime Edge had launched AsbuiltEdge Technologies which will be responsible for the software and business development associated with the system.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Building for Boomers

Preparing for the changes of aging, including declining mobility, is also a concern. A 2005 study conducted by Vista Market Intelligence of Lake Oswego found that 89 percent of boomers would like to have the master bedroom on the main floor of their home; 79 percent said they would prefer to own a single-story home.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Management of Potential Change Orders with As-builts

Every project is unique and requires an immense amount of skills and expertise to be completed successfully and on time. It is almost given that at some point or throughout the project you will be hiring an Architect and a General Building Contractor to design and build what you have in mind. This article is written with homeowner in mind as a guideline for a very interesting and education experience of remodeling your house which waits ahead of you. First thing that you as a homeowner should understand is the fact that construction project you are about to begin is complex.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Autodesk Releases FMDesktop 7.0 Product Suite

SAN RAFAEL, California, October 10, 2006 - Autodesk, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK)today announced the launch of the Autodesk FMDesktop Product Suite, a powerful, easy-to-use software solution for facilities management. Developed by and for experienced facility managers, the Autodesk FMDesktop 7.0 suite of products, including Facility Manager, Facility Link, Facility Web and Facility Request, helps deliver the power of digital facility management through intuitive and easy-to-use features. The scalable computer-aided facility management (CAFM) suite of products was built on Autodesk's DWF platform, and, by incorporating the latest DWF viewing technologies, provides facilities managers with a simple, accurate method to create, manage and share building operating data throughout the enterprise. This is the first full version of FMDesktop launched by Autodesk, who acquired the application in January 2006 as part of the acquisition of Applied Spatial Technologies.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Ranal Launches CAMeLEAN/PM Project Management Suite

BANGALORE, India, October 9, 2006 – Ranal Software Solutions – one of the leading PLM products and service providers, and part of the Ranal Group – has launched CAMeLEAN®/PM, in India. CAMeLEAN®/PM is a complete project management suite that guides organizations through the entire project management lifecycle.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Your As-Builts Are Your Blueprint for Success

Most contractors know that next to the finished product, the as-builts documentation is essential part of a construction project. As-builts are the final blueprint drawings which reflect changes made in the field during the construction of a new structure or an addition to an existing. As-built drawings consist of a full set of construction documents and detail built structure in every detail. Electrical and Mechanical drawings are especially important part of the documentation due to the much higher cost associated with field changes. Most commercial property owners and property managers keep a set of current as-builts handy at all times to access essential information on daily basis. In fact, some entities consider as-built documentation such important part of the construction process, they require drawings to be completed prior to issuing final occupancy.

Monday, August 21, 2006 and Prime Edge As-Built Services to Combine Forces to Create a New Field in Stock Photography

UNION CITY, California, August 21, 2006 —, an emerging stock photography web site, which have been serving photographing community since 2004 had agreed to work on the development of new stock photography interface with Prime Edge Asbuilt Services, a professional service in SF Bay Area serving a network of Architects, Homeowners and General Contractors.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Autodesk Completes Acquisition of Constructware

SAN RAFAEL, California,April 3, 2006 - Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), today announced it has completed the acquisition of Constructware, a privately held company based in Alpharetta, Georgia that provides on-demand communication and collaboration solutions that streamline design, construction and facility management. The acquisition, announced on February 7, 2006, closed for cash consideration of US $46 million (see press release). This acquisition enables Autodesk to rapidly expand its Autodesk Buzzsaw collaborative project management solution with Constructware software’s industry leading cost, bid and risk management capabilities. The acquisition allows Autodesk to more completely meet the needs of its customers as they realize their ideas through the use of on-demand collaborative project management solutions.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Autodesk Updates Building Solutions Complete Portfolio

Autodesk Revit Building 9, Revit Structure 3, ADT 2007, Autodesk Building Systems 2007, Autodesk VIZ 2007 launched.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

As-builts – Problems & Proposed Solutions

As-builts – Problems & Proposed Solutions

Friday, May 28, 2004

How big is a square foot? It all depends on your audience

Measuring square footage is not always an exact science. There are a number of rentable square footage measurement standards commonly used in the commercial real estate market. Each method, if used on the same space, would result in a different rentable square foot number.

Friday, January 31, 1997

New BOMA standards clarify lease space

The American National Standard for measuring floor area in office buildings is changing. The new version (officially labeled ANSI/BOMA Z65.1-1996) is an improved method designed to meet the current and future needs of the many industry professionals concerned with the measurement of office buildings.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

BIM and Laser Scanning for As-built and Adaptive Reuse Projects: The Opportunity for Surveyors

In his inaugural speech the new President made many references to using our natural resources more wisely, to reducing our carbon and water footprints, and investing in smart electric grids and other similar new energy-efficient technologies. Energy conservation and sustainability are top priorities and efforts are underway in many states to reinforce that--many offering fast tracked permitting to those projects that are "green". While many in the surveying community may view this as a nice gesture and work for others to do, make no mistake, while nothing is recession proof this opens up many doors of opportunity for surveyors, ones that are profitable and very much in demand.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Leica Geosystems Announces the Release of Leica CloudWorx 1.0 for SmartPlant 3D

Leica Geosystems announces the immediate availability of Leica CloudWorx™ 1.0 for SmartPlant 3D. This powerful and easy-to-learn point cloud solution is designed for Intergraph SmartPlant 3D users who want to take full advantage of accurate, laser scan as-built data directly in SmartPlant 3D. Leica CloudWorx™ 1.0 for SmartPlant 3D is the latest addition to the Leica CloudWorx suite of products that enable professionals to use rich, as-built point cloud data directly in their native desktop design and visualization platform. SmartPlant 3D is Intergraph's next generation plant design platform.