Implications of BIM Adoption for the Facilities Management Industry

The latest statistics for the AEC industry suggests that the use of BIM has brought about a paradigm shift in the way buildings are being designed and constructed. Numerous architecture, engineering, and construction firms have adopted BIM as the centerpiece of their operational procedures, and in the process, gained new insights into the finer details of design and construction. Not to mention, the tangible bottom line benefits BIM brings to the table.

The use of Building Information Modeling starts at the conceptual stage of a facility. It is then used through all the stages of design and construction seamlessly. It has made the job of strategic decision making much smoother and more scientific, both at the conception and the execution stages. What’s more, BIM has the real potential to take it a step further, and play a crucial role in the maintenance and upkeep of a facility through its entire life cycle, till its eventual demolition. These developments entail important implications for the facilities management industry.

The pertinent questions to ask for firms with interests in facilities management are:

  • How are facilities being managed and operated traditionally?
  • Can the use of BIM benefit the operations of companies involved in facilities management?
  • How to leverage the powers of this ground breaking technology for the FM industry?

Cost Benefits of BIM for the FM Industry

According to a 2002 report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the expenses incurred due to inadequate data interoperability in the FM industry stood at $15.8 billion. The report mentions that over 65% of this cost is borne by the proprietors of facilities themselves. Interestingly, almost 85% of this overhead, i.e. about $9 billion, is to be incurred during the maintenance and upkeep phase of the facility’s life cycle, says the report.

The 2012 SmartMarket survey by McGraw-Hill Construction reveals that facility management companies which have opted to deploy BIM in their operations, have experienced significant reduction in their overall spending. All respondents that used BIM, said they experienced:

  • Better revenues
  • Increased accuracy of documentation
  • Lowered maintenance work
  • Shorter project durations

Says Stephen Jones, senior director with the company, and research director for the report, “Though it may seem counterintuitive to increase spending during a recession, the research indicates that the industry is continuing to invest in a more efficient and productive future by embracing technologies and processes of BIM.”

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