There is a lot of good news these days for office automation in the FM industry, the least of which isn’t the advent of comprehensive CAFM systems. The most ground breaking development, however, has been the integration of Building Information Modeling (BIM) into these CAFM systems, which has opened up new and exciting avenues for information transfer from the AEC industry to facility management outfits.
Why Integrate BIM into CAFM?
The greatest challenge for facility managers today is the rising need for better quality and standardization of operational data. This is critical to their ability to cope with the constantly changing nature of modern day FM. Plus, there are increasing volumes of pressure from owners and other important stakeholders for more reliable facilities information – again, crucial for better overall organizational planning.
Although a wide array of data systems already exist in the asset and facilities management industry – including CAFM – their application is highly varied on account of the diversity of requirements on the ground. The limited graphic capabilities of the erstwhile data‐centric applications have focussed mainly on space management, for instance. Consequently, digital models sourced from design or construction phase documents often require a lot of painstaking synchronization and re-designing before they can be of any use to FM teams, especially when building configurations and other related data attributes have seen alteration.
Integration with BIM has helped plug these holes, and has made CAFM a much more robust and efficient FM automation platform.
The Benefits of Integration
Today, building data can be transferred using this integrated platform via technology interfaces, as well as by human computation. Most CAFM systems these days are web-based, thus creating a single data store that enables facility managers to schedule maintenance activities and analyze the collated data with much more convenience. The lack of seamlessness in FM data systems and building design information has been completely eliminated by BIM integration.
BIM integration has also espoused a consolidated view of all functional and operational aspects within the FM industry, projecting a holistic view of the AEC and FM business. It has enabled:
- Planning and budgeting for construction projects
- Building data
- Property and lease management
- Portfolio management
- GIS integration
- Operational knowledge on asset tracking, maintenance, occupancy, etc
- Fleet management
- Facility moving management
- Preparedness in emergency situations
An integrated CAFM system offers a much higher standard of functionality for FM teams by acting as a unified digital repository of each component within the facility.