Smart buildings make smart decisions with the help of intelligent building technology. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is one of the most prevalent technologies businesses can deploy for support.
To better understand BIM, we will focus on what BIM is, its role in smart buildings, its many benefits, and how it works.
What BIM is and who it applies to
BIM is a process-driven technology used to map and quantify the physical aspects of a building. It was introduced to solve the gap between computer-aided drawing (CAD) and analysis systems. BIM uses computers to create virtual 3D modeling and integrates project-related relevant information.
The building technology brings every subsystem together in context and profiles dynamic insights about how they affect facility function. For example: If you change X aspect of a specific subsystem, how does it affect systems Y and Z, and the building as a whole?
Everyone uses BIM, from architects and contractors to maintenance technicians and facilities managers. Why? Because BIM is part of everything from building design, to construction, to facilities maintenance. The core objective is simple: quantify as much of a building as possible and use that data to inform better decision-making.
BIM’s role in smart buildings
BIM 3D viewing software turns an ordinary structure into a smart building – a building that uses automated processes to control its operations. As machine learning folds into BIM software, computers can tell us more about our buildings than we could ever learn by looking at schematics and blueprints. It’s easier to understand the impact BIM can make through basic examples:
The architect draws plans for a six-foot doorway, but the developer later changes it to an eight-foot doorway. They change the CAD drawing, which updates the materials list, which changes the costs.
XYZ Company decides to remodel. They mockup the changes in a BIM plan, which intelligently reroutes the plumbing, mechanical, and electrical to fit the changes of the new space design.
Support tickets synced to specific cost centers within BIM show the total cost of ownership for the building’s mechanical systems over the past 12 months, which allows facility managers to budget for the upcoming year.
These are just a few of BIM’s many uses. BIM offers nearly infinite possibilities in how it helps professionals plan, design, construct, and manage facilities.
How does BIM benefit facilities managers?
Specifically, BIM’s role in facilities management is to provide quantifiable insights. How much money is X costing you within the framework of facilities maintenance? What is the service record for Y this year? If you upgrade to Z, what will the ramifications be to peripheral systems?
The 3D visualization of a physical building – and the baseline model for a BIM record –is referred to as a digital twin. Digital twins allow facilities managers to identify different elements of a building, isolate them for their information, and understand the needs of that specific element and its relationship to peripheral systems.
- Here are some of the ways, in more detail, that BIM benefits facilities managers on a day-to-day basis:
- Generates cost savings in facilities upkeep, maintenance, and improvements
- Improves project efficiency and expedites delivery time for results
- Reduces safety risks and clashes, which lowers passive change orders
- Offers greater predictability for facilities maintenance and upkeep
- Improves the visibility and oversight of facilities managers in everyday upkeep
- Provides a system of record and visibility for vital systems within the building
- Integrates with facilities management software and systems to automate processes
What is the difference between BIM and CAD
Most people confuse BIM and AutoCAD since the fundamental basis for BIM is a comprehensive CAD model (2D or 3D). While CAD design programs are often used in conjunction with BIM software, the important distinction between the two is the intuitive capabilities of BIM. BIM uses CAD mockups as a medium for bringing broad-scope information about a building together. Or in simpler terms, BIM makes CAD drawings smarter and more dynamic by pairing information to the building’s many systems.
BIM works by applying intelligent insights to the tangible aspects of a building. While a CAD design may show you the layout of a space you intend to remodel, BIM tells you which walls are load-bearing, how to reroute the electrical, and what materials you’ll need to plumb HVAC ducts into the space. CAD is static; BIM is dynamic. More important, BIM insights influence changes made to CAD designs.
BIM is the future of workplaces
In an age where buildings are getting smarter, professionals need to get smarter about how they manage them. BIM informs the best possible approach by providing complete context for buildings and the many systems that govern them. BIM’s intelligent insights offer the epitome of information-driven decision-making.
There’s no doubt that the concept of BIM is complex and sophisticated and can be challenging to grasp for those new to it. But BIM is getting easier to comprehend and more accessible thanks to its role in designing and managing smart buildings. As infrastructure becomes more complex and connected, BIM – and its 3D viewing software – becomes more essential. It’s a system every facilities manager – as well as architect, contractor, and maintenance technician – needs to understand moving forward. The intelligent building technology allows them to tap into insights that help achieve a new standard of success.